I love figs. They are so versatile and seem to add a certain sophistication to any dinner party. Wonderful served with a strong, punchy cheese board or with salty prosciutto on crostini. There are so many pairings to experiment with. My favourite though has to be fig with almond, in a frangipane tart. Delicate flavours on their own but together create a rich, satisfying combination to impress the most discerning guest!
-Start by lining an 11inch loose bottomed tart tin with sweet shortcrust pastry, put in the freezer for 30 minutes before baking blind for 10-12 minutes at 180 C.
-Beat 250g butter with 250g caster sugar until light and creamy. Fold in 50g plain flour, 280g ground almonds, 2 lightly beaten eggs, the seeds from 1 vanilla pod, a good glug of Poire Williams or Grappa. Allow to firm up in the fridge for 30 mins.
-Score 4-5 good sized ripe figs, remove the stalks and 'push' them open. Spoon the frangipane into the slightly cooled pastry case and lightly push the figs into the frangipane mix. Drizzle a little mild clear honey over each fig. Sprinkle with some roughly chopped almonds, a few picked thyme leaves, and the zest of half an orange.
-Bake at 170 C for 30-40 minutes. the tart should develop a golden perimeter but retain a slight 'wobble' in the centre. Allow to cool for 30 minutes or so and serve with some mascapone or just as it is!