Figs are my current obsession. They make me happy when I gaze at them. Their sensuously rich, honey-like taste – which always makes me think of a hot summer day under the Mediterranean sun, pairs well with many flavors as well as on their own. I suspected a few people didn’t know what a fresh fig tastes like, and after my last fig post my suspicions were confirmed. How can something so seductively flavorful, something as old as the Bible, still be so unknown to so many?
I recently hosted a party for my Mom and her sisters for their annual silliness fest, where they eat and laugh until they can’t do it anymore. The day of the party just happened to be my Aunt Sharon’s birthday. So with my abundance of fresh figs generously donated by the California Fig Industry from the Figology Fest LA event, I thought what better way to celebrate than with a fresh fig tart.
When the gals all arrived I mentioned that I had a special fig dessert for them, the conversation stopped, until my dear Mom got it started again with a silly Ole and Lena joke. It turned out the joke was on me when I found out they thought they hated figs.
How could they look at these beautiful figs and think they wouldn’t fall in love?
My Aunt Sharon put on her best brave face and faced her fig fears.
She made a wish (pretty sure it was for chocolate cake) and blew out her “ish” birthday candle before timidly taking a bite.
Then, the rest of the gang followed suit. When all was said and done, there wasn’t a crumb left on any of the plates. Score.
Figs really don’t need to be baked. That is why fresh figs work so well in this gingerized tart. It is perfect for summer entertaining. Simply bake the crust, add the cream cheese filling and top with fresh figs. Sprinkle with sugar and caramelize. You’re finished with your gorgeous tart!
If you don’t have a kitchen torch, you can turn your oven on to BROIL and set the tart on the top rack. Leave the oven door open and remove the tart as soon as the sugar starts to caramelize, no more than a few minutes. Another (healthier) alternative is to eliminate the sugar and drizzle with honey.
Fig and Ginger Brûlée Tart
- 1 cup flour
- ⅓ cup toasted and cooled pistachios
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt omit if using salted pistachios
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ cup chilled butter cut into small ½" cubes I always use KerryGold Butter
- 1 egg yolk
- 8 ounces package cream cheese
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 2 Tablespoons crystalized ginger finely diced
- 1/4 cup chopped pistachios or as needed
- 3 Tablespoons of sugar or as needed
For Tart Crust:
Blend flour, pistachios, sugar, salt and ginger in a food processor until nuts are finely chopped.
Add butter and cut in using on/off pulsing. Add 2 tablespoons cold water and egg yolk. Blend together.
Gather dough into a ball and press into bottom and up sides of a 9" or 10" tart pan with removable bottom. Chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake tart crust for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Let cool on wire rack to room temperature before filling.
Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar, honey and crystalized ginger. Mix until combined. Spread cream cheese filling into cooled tart shell.
Arrange cut figs on top of cream cheese filling.
Cover with plastic wrap and keep chilled in the fridge until ready to serve.
Right before serving, sprinkle granulated sugar (as needed) over figs. Use a kitchen torch to brûlée the figs, creating a nice golden sugar crust.
Sprinkle crushed pistachios over tart. Serve immediately.
Hazelnuts are a great substitution for pistachios.
Even thought it was my Aunt’s birthday the sisters love any reason to have a White Elephant gift exchange. My mom hit it the jackpot – after all,
you never know when you will need Breast Suspenders while traveling incognito.
The day was a success, and each left with a warm place in her heart for figs. When you try this tart, you will too. Meanwhile, I am busy trying to convert one fig-hater at a time.
…and then, she paused for thought.
Other fig recipes to enjoy: