FIG TARTS

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Nothing says ‘hello September’ to me like FIGS! Big fat juicy figs falling off the tree, tempting all with their sweetness.

How is it that nearly three generations of Americans thought figs were some dried up fruit, from a far-off land, squished inside of two pieces of dough, and called a cookie? Yuk!

While there are many ways in which I like to enjoy figs: cooked with meats to both sweeten and tenderize, pureed and made into ice cream, or on any charcutlerie board along with sheep or goat milk cheeses, my most favorite way to enjoy them is in a tart. Yes! A tart! A tart with a nutty crust, a delicately perfumed custard, and freshly sliced figs that have been soaking in rum, while the tart cooks and cools.

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Ingredients

Makes 1 medium pie or 2 four-inch pies

Crust (Your own favorite, or store-bought works too)

  • Walnuts – 1 cup crushed
  • Butter – 2 tablespoons
  • Flour – 1 cup – any flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of cardamom

Custard

  • Whole milk – 1 cup
  • Eggs – 2
  • Sugar 2 tablespoons
  • Cardamom – 1 teaspoon, (preferably freshly crushed)

Figs and Rum

  • Fresh Figs – enough to slice and cover the top of your tart (app. 6)
  • Rum – 2 tablespoons

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Preparation

Preheat oven to 325

Place figs and rum in a bowl to marinate.

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Mix pie crust. If soft, because of the oil from the nuts, simply press out onto a piece of parchment paper into as close a size as your pan/pans, and place in the freezer while preparing the custard. When ready to use, it will lay and form easily into your baking pan. If not planning to use within 30 minutes, simply store it in the fridge until ready.

Place ½ cup of the milk, cardamom, and the sugar in a saucepan and bring to a low simmer, taking care not to boil, only to dissolve the sugar and release the essence from the spice. Remove, strain, and cool. Add remaining milk and eggs. Whisk. Pour into prepared tart shells. Bake until top of the custard is firm. Cool slightly.

Arrange figs across the top. A dollop of mascarpone or whipped cream is a treat but not necessary.

ENJOY!