So I’m going to slightly change the format of this blog. From now on I will write about a baking topic of interest. Don’t worry you will still get sound advice, get your questions answered and great recipes, now they will just come with a little more clarity and detail (hopefully).
That being said, this week we are talking Figs. Last week a friend stopped by the shop with a bag of beautiful fresh figs. I love figs, and I love fig season in Maryland. They may grow in your yard or you have a co-worker or neighbor that has a fig tree. If you don’t know anyone who grows them then check your local farmers market for them. I love the Bowie Farmers Market on Sunday mornings. Yes, I know that was a shameless plug.
Have you had a fresh fig before? If not then don’t be afraid to try one. They don’t taste anything like those fig cookies we all had as kids. Figs are actually a very mild fruit. The have floral notes and a soft sweetness. The texture of the flesh is the same as a fresh peach. And when you bite into one the smell is intoxicating. When choosing ripe figs look for full supple fruit with a little bit of weight to them. The flesh should give when slightly squeezed. The bottom of the fruit should be slightly split, this is an indication of ripeness. Wash your figs in cold water and make sure to slice them just to make sure that you are the only one enjoying that fig.
I want to share with you a few ways that I eat fresh figs. Now with these recipes, actually with most recipes that I give you, think of them as suggestions. Feel free to make changes and modifications to them. Nothing is written in stone.
My favorite way to eat figs is the simplest way. I just slice them and sprinkle them with a little pinch of sea salt and enjoy! The salt amps up the flavor of the fig and pairs beautifully with the figs sweetness.
Below you will find a recipe for a Fig sorbet and a simple but elegant Fig Tart.
Fresh Fig Sorbet
A few house keeping things first. 1. The color of this sorbet when finished is strange, but the flavor is sooo good you won’t care. 2. This is a large recipe because I like to take half of the puree and use it as a sauce, in cocktails (I’m thinking rum), or with sparkling water to make a light italian soda. 3. I like to add fresh mint to my recipe. You do NOT have to add the mint, try rosemary, or even dill.
16 Med Figs or 4 cups of Figs cut into quarters
1 1/2 cups of water
1/2 cup of sugar--Sub honey or agave if you like, but remember honey taste sweeter so reduce the amount.
2 Tbs Lemon Juice-- or juice of 1 lemon
6-8 mint leaves finely sliced
Pinch of salt
Boil everything together for about 5-8 minutes, making sure that the sugar has dissolved. Blend until smooth, if using rosemary remove the stem first. Cool mixture for about an hour. Then freeze in your ice cream maker.
This light refreshing sorbet is a great way to end a summer meal.
Fig & Honey Tart
This tart is an easy but elegant dessert. You can bake the crust and make the filing in advance and then put the dessert together right before serving. The most difficult part is the crust. If you don’t feel like making a crust then buy one! Lots of stores now sell pre-made tart shells or you can buy frozen pie dough and use that. If you want to make you dough (Yay! Go Team Pastry), then check out the pie dough recipe I made a few blogs ago.
The crust of this tart has to be made and baked in advance. This process is called blind baking. Roll out your dough and get it into your pan. The dock the dough on the bottom. Docking is simply when you poke the dough with a fork, prior to baking it. This helps let the steam out of the dough which will keep the bottom flat. Put a piece of foil or parchment in the pan and fill with pie weights or some sort of dried beans. Bake until the dough is mostly done. Remove the beans and bake until dough is finished.
The filing for this tart is a super simple Mascarpone Creme. You will need:
8 ounce of Mascarpone cheese
6 ounces of Heavy cream
2 1/2 Tbs Honey
1 Tbs Vanilla
Put everything in your mixing bowl and using your whisk attachment whip cream until fluffy. Keep in cooler until you are ready to build the tarts. I know you are thinking, “Can I add a little bleu cheese to this? How will that taste??” It will taste amazing!! Feel free to add a little blue! Why not? Figs, honey and blue cheese, talk about yum!!
Putting it all together:
Fill your crust with the Mascarpone creme. Then cut your figs into thin slices. Arrange the figs on the tart in a circular pattern slightly overlapping each slice. Brush the figs with a honey glaze. The glaze is 2 parts honey and 1 part warm water combined.
See quick, simple, elegant!
Have a sweet day!