Tuesday, October 1, 2013

FIG TARTLETS WITH HERBS + HONEY


Figs are on my mind.

A quick glance out our kitchen door and you see a massive fruit tree, our very happy fig. No matter how we trim it back, hack at it, attempt to tame its exuberance, the tree just grows, thrives and reaches for the sun. Early fall is its time of glory.

Our resident squirrel fights me for every fig that ripens on our tree. (I admit... I do a little cheer whenever I win the battle.)  Needing so much fruit for these tarts, I didn't have enough backyard figs on hand. Thankfully, Monterey Market's plenty came to my rescue with these delicious black mission beauties.

Today's fig tartlets are not quite sweet and not quite savory, living in a delicious realm in between. The cream cheese and crunch of cornmeal in the crust tease out the earthy quality of the figs, and a drizzle of honey heightens the fruit's juicy, natural sweetness.

I'm always a fan of recipes that work any time of day and these tartlets are wonderful for breakfast, tea, an appetizer, or a not-too-sweet dessert.


INGREDIENTS makes 4 medium tartlets (I think each tartlet could feed two to four for dessert or tea, though I wolfed down an entire tartlet for breakfast one day. No problem.)
printable recipe

Note: Be sure to give your dough at least an hour to chill before assembling your tarts.

DOUGH: adapted from Annie Somerville's recipe, via Janet Fletcher's lovely piece in Sunset Magazine's August 2013 issue
  • 1/4 cup masa harina or corn meal
  • 1 cup all purpose flour {GF folks: as per usual, I use Pamela's Bread Mix}
  • generous pinch of sea salt
  • 4 tablespoon cold, unsalted butter cut into small pieces
  • 8 ounces cold cream cheese
TOPPINGS:
  • 24 figs small-medium figs (1 1/4 pound)
  • about 4 teaspoons honey
  • about 4 teaspoons creamy goat cheese
  • a dozen fresh thyme sprigs
In a food processor, mix together masa harina/corn meal, all purpose flour, and salt. Add the butter and blend until you have a coarse, crumbly texture. Finally, add the cream cheese in little chunks. Let the processor whir, until a ball of dough forms.

Lay four squares of plastic wrap on the counter next to your food processor. Divide the dough into 4 balls of the roughly the same size. Wrap each ball of dough in plastic and use the heel of your palm to flatten the dough into 4 round disks. Refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 3 days.

After your dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 375.

On a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out each ball of dough into a 7 inch round. Transfer prepared crusts onto one or two parchment-lined baking sheets, and roll edges of the dough up and over, making a small border.

Trim stem ends from figs and slice the fruit vertically into 1/8 inch rounds. Lay the fig slices in an overlapping circular pattern on top of the prepared dough. Drizzle a little honey over the figs. Crumble on a bit of goat cheese. Tuck in a few sprigs of thyme.



Pop the tartlets into the hot oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate the baking sheets to ensure an even baking. Bake another 15-20 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the figs are soft and oozing with jammy goodness.

Eat warm or at room temp.

Enjoy!



52 comments:

  1. Beautiful and very tempting! Herbs and honey are a great addition.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. I had this post open to read when you commented on my blog! Happy you found the connection - Kimberley speaks so highly of you, and she's the one who introduced me to your beautiful site, which I really love.

    I have a fig tree behind my apartment, but I hear it has not produced for a few years. I'd love to coax it back to life - there are few things better than figs! These tartlets look absolutely fantastic. I love cornmeal in the crust of my baked goods, and that sweet-and-savory in-between is a really lovely thing. I may have to snag a few last figs to recreate this in my kitchen!

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    1. Stacy, so great to connect with you through Kimberley!! And fun to see your own wonderful work on your blog.

      I too like cornmeal in crusts and I found the use of cream cheese to be totally fascinating! And yes let's enjoy figs while we can;)

      Have a good week,
      E



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  3. I saw that article in Sunset too and have been meaning to try cooking those tarts. Using the crust in a sweet/savory way looks very good. Thank you!

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    1. Katrina, yes... Janet's Sunset piece was full of tasty inspiration! And I'm a sucker for any good crust recipe. This one is a keeper.
      -E

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  4. Erin - GREAT minds think alike! We both did tarts with figs and honey as a component of the dessert - love it! I completely identify with you regarding the squirrels getting the figs before you can capture one. We have a large walnut tree in our backyard and never can get a walnut before those little critters take them all. Perhaps one day, but yet to see that day. Your tart looks and sounds absolutely amazing. I hope there are few weeks left of these divine delights! Hope you have an amazing week! BTW - When is the book coming out? So excited to see it. Lisa

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    1. Lisa! Isn't that funny. We've got fig tarts on the brain.
      So cool that you have a walnut tree! Have you ever netted it to keep out the critters? I've considered it with our fig, but haven't taken the plunge.
      Thanks for asking about my book... it comes out early fall next year. I'll keep you posted for sure.
      xoxo
      E

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  5. Erin, your backyard is beautiful! I'd love me some fig tree. We are just starting to work on our yard - want to do some raised bed gardening next year. I've been buying fresh figs every week and eating them as is - they are so good it never occurred to me to bake them but now you've peaked my curiosity! If I see them again this weekend I'll have to try this.

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    1. Jenn, have fun doing your planting! I always get excited about all the possibilities.
      I do love fresh figs too, but baking, roasting, grilling them does bring out the natural sugars in an amazing way.
      xoxo
      E

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  6. I just tasted my first fresh fig a few weeks ago. True story. It was organic and came from Vancouver. And it was good. But I'm guessing not as amazing as the ones in your backyard. Lucky girl! If I had them I'd make tarts like these too. Such loveliness!

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    1. Wow! Your first fresh fig! I hope it treated you right:)
      Renee it's been so fun seeing the shots of your little getaway... Dreamy.
      Xoxo

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  7. Being fig obsessed I'm delighted to find this recipe today! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Pamela, good to know there are other fig obsessives out there;)

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  8. So envious about your enormous fig tree. I'm just happy my husband's co-worker gifts me figs from his tree now and then. ;)

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    1. Carolyn, thanks to my squirrel, I don't get nearly as many figs as I would like. But every one I get tastes SO good!
      xoxo
      E

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  9. Oh, hooray! These tarts look just beautiful. I almost can't believe it's just about time to say goodbye to the figs--boo! :)

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  10. My figs are just hitting their stride so my fingers are crossed that a cold snap won't hit and spoil the whole crop:)
    Hope you're well, Eileen. Happy fall to you!
    xoxo
    E

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  11. This sounds gorgeous! Such a shame our climate in the UK rarely allows homegrown fig bounty like it appears you can get. I'd have to buy all mine and it'd be expensive. :-(
    Do you think I could freeze the dough at the chilling stage? That way I could spread the cost a bit... :-)

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    1. Zola I had no idea figs were so hard to find in the UK, but yes that makes sense with your climate.
      You could definitely freeze the dough to use as you please. And you may want to consider other toppings. The original recipe for this dough suggests topping with ratatoulle - which I'm sure would be delish!
      xo
      E

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  12. These look so incredibly delicious! Good figs are such a rarity in the UK but we do get some of the purple, slightly sturdier ones. I'll definitely be making this, it's wonderful.

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    1. Hey there! Welcome back from your honeymoon. I'm so glad you had a great time in Bali. Ahhhhh....
      xoxo
      E

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  13. Do they ever look delicious! And I love the photo of your fig tree.

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  14. Now I want to run right out and buy some figs. I have my own herbs in garden and some good local honey. YUM.

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    1. Angela, local honey and garden herbs... you are a lucky woman. I wish I could share some figs with you!
      xoxo
      E

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  15. I love, love, love, figs. My grandparents had a fig tree we just to climb and stuff ourselves with during the end of summer and into the fall. I believe it was a mission fig tree. They would pick them and dry them in the sun. So yummy. The rest we would eat or let the ones too high up to get fall for the chickens below...chickens love figs, it's like a chicken eating frenzy when they hear one drop. I wish I could try this dough but alas the darn corn which I love and gives that crispness to the tart. Hardly a fig to find around here right now...So instead I made a gluten free pear tart with ginger sauce. Yum. Simple...we ate the whole thing. Next....a gluten free FIG tartlet. Beautiful pictures.

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    1. Oli, your comment has given me the biggest smile this morning! I love hearing about your grandparents tree and I can see those figs drying in the sun.
      I didn't know that chickens like fig so much. Who can blame them, right?
      Your pear/ginger tart sounds delish. I do love this time of year!
      xoxo
      E

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  16. Its hard to get a good fig in Colorado! So envious! This looks delicious! Thanks for sharing

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    Replies
    1. But you have those gorgeous mountains! I always remember the beautiful changing leaves this time of year in Colorado.

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  17. Erin, what a pretty fig tree you got and I love the photo of it! I'm sure I have no problem guzzling down a whole tart by myself:) Oh, they look so yummy!
    Emi xoxo

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    1. Hey Emi, I had no problem at all:)

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  18. Squirrel fights, I know exactly how you feel, half of the tree is theirs, we reached a settlement, ha! Gorgeous fig tarts, Erin!! xx

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  19. Najwa, I feel like every day is a standoff around here....I'm happy to share but nothing bugs me more than when the cheeky little guy takes a nibble of a beautiful fig and moves on to the next, leaving me his leftovers;)
    xoxo
    E

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  20. Are you sure that's your backyard -- not a magazine tear-out? Wowza :) So beautiful! I think figs are also one of the prettiest fruits for pictures. These tarts look so great! I rarely see masa harina in crust recipes, I'm fascinated by it here. I usually keep some on hand for tortillas -- I would love to try it in a sweeter application such as this! Thanks so much for sharing. Yum!

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  21. Hey there, we do feel lucky to have such a fig tree... it is the most gloriously happy thing in our yard!
    Like you, I was fascinated by the masa harina in the recipe, and I really liked the cream cheese addition as well. And the crust can definitely go in a sweet or savory direction. The original recipe showed a ratatouille topping which I'm sure would be delish!
    xo
    E

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  23. Thyme is perfect with figs, beautiful photographs too!

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    1. Anna, I'm with you - I do love herbs and figs. Thyme, rosemary, bay... so delish!
      xo
      E

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  24. I'm forever battling the squirrels over my lemon trees. They're evil! The goat cheese and honey sound divine with the figs. These would be fabulous at any time of day!

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    1. Oh no, Lisa. I never knew that squirrels even liked citrus!!! I'd be so worked up if I caught the little bugger eating one of my Meyers!
      xoxo
      E

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  25. These are so gorgeous! And I love imagining you fighting (metaphorically) with the squirrels over figs. I guess it makes them all the more a treat.

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    1. Hey you, I'll try to bring along some figs when we have lunch next week...if I can win the "fight." xoxo E

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  26. That first photo is breathtakingly beautiful—and I can't say I blame those squirrels for snatching your figs! I love the texture of cornmeal in crusts, and although I've never paired it with fig it seems quite a natural combination. Such a lovely post, Erin.

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    1. Thanks Irina! I love that crunch of cornmeal in crusts too. Good stuff! xoxo

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  27. Oh a love these tartlets! Any thing with figs is totally my jam and you've created something so beautiful with them. Lovely!

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    1. Kathryn, I adore figs too! And lucky for us, we are having a warm fall and our best crop yet. Wish I could send some your way:)
      xoxo

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  28. this is so gorgeous, both the recipe and the photos!

    I'm so envious of your fig tree.

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    1. M, so good to hear from you. I hope all is well. xoxoE

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  29. Your backyard looks SO LUSH!! Mmmm, it's got me dreaming of swinging on a tree swing, weeding the garden, picking some fruit, sipping some iced tea..... all things I would love to do in my own backyard some day. You've given me a wonderful lunchtime interlude, thank you.

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  30. Figs are the most beautiful foods out there. So colorful and make the best displays. How lucky you are to have a fig tree! I grew up with a huge persimmon tree in the back yard. Messy but a fun treat every Fall. They make delicious cookies.

    xox,
    Christina

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  31. These sound beautiful! What a wonderful way to use figs and really show off their inherent deliciousness :)

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So good to hear from you... I appreciate each and every note you leave for me!

Thanks,
E

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