Monday, 2 November 2009

Later with Jules: Fig and Almond Tart

 Honey Roasted Fig and Almond Tart

Charlotte says (in a forest accent): 'this is the best tarrrrt I ever 'ad' 

And she may well be right.  This delicious, sweet pie is a refreshing alternative to the traditional common all garden apple variety - and luckily for me, fresh figs were common as muck when I went to stay with the Lovely Lucy in France - she had hundreds in her garden.

So, for the following pie, I used fresh, slightly squished figs from the South of France (ooh er). And, to top it all I MADE MY OWN PASTRY.  Now, we're not ones to cheat in the Keston Kitchen, but ready made pastry has  always been an acceptable cheating (because our mums do it).  However, one of the perils of midnight baking is that you have a limited selection of late night shops, and the sad truth is, they just aren't geared up to cater for midnight bakers.  So, I found myself at 11.45 making my own goddamn shortcrust.

And what a discovery!  It's actually quite easy - and very tasty.  Perhaps not as pleasing on the eye as the smooth shop bought variety, but that all adds to the rustic look (I tell myself).

The tart was in honour of a girly evening at Charm's.  I precooked the tart and assembled the pastry and filling in the midnight hours, then simply popped it in the oven when I got to Charm's so it was nice and fresh after dinner.  And what a dinner it was.  Myself and the girls are really hoping Charm will make a guest appearance soon on the blog, as her homemade curry is unrivalled.

I hope you will enjoy this recipe - courtesy of Good Food Magazine (see our 'Food Heroes' section - Charl has a monthly subscription).  Let me know if you make it and what you think.

Figs are so sweet, delicious and juicy,
I am so glad I visited Lucy
Gathering fruit without a care
That I managed to get back on Ryan Air
Without paying any extra dough
Oh the wonderful fig, I love you so.


  • 500g pack shortcrust pastry at room temperature, thawed if frozen
  • 8 ripe figs , stalks trimmed
  • finely grated zest of one large juicy orange
  • 1 tbsp clear honey
  • 200g softened butter
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 200g packet ground almonds
  • 2 medium egg yolks


  1. Preheat the oven to fan 180C/ conventional 200C/gas 6. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface and use to line a shallow loose-bottomed 25cm flan tin (watch our video to see how to do this. Make sure the pastry comes above the rim - it may shrink in baking and the filling could spill. Chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the figs in half lengthways and sit them cut side up on a roasting tray. Mix the orange juice and honey in a bowl, pour over the figs and roast for 10-12 minutes until just soft. Drain off any juice into a saucepan and reserve.
  3. Prick the base of the chilled pastry case all over with a fork, then line with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Bake blind for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 5-10 minutes until the pastry is golden. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to fan 130C/conventional 150C/ gas 2. Leave the pastry case to cool slightly before filling.
  4. Cream butter and sugar in a food processor or with an electric beater until smooth and pale. Tip in the ground almonds and zest and whizz briefly to combine. Add egg yolks and 1 tbsp of the reserved fig juice and whizz again until smooth. Spread evenly over the pastry case.
  5. Gently press the figs cut side up into the almond mixture. Bake for 11⁄4 hours or until it's golden all over (don't worry if the centre still seems soft - a little gooeyness is good). Leave in the tin for 15 minutes, then remove sides and transfer on its base to a wire rack to cool.
  6. Before serving, take the tart off its base and transfer to a flat platter or board. If you have juice left from roasting the figs, bring it to the boil and simmer for 1-2 minutes until sticky and syrupy. Brush this over the figs and serve as soon as possible, while the syrup is still glossy on the figs (it will start to seep through into the filling if you leave it too long).


This was indeed a melt-in-the-mouth home-baked-pastry-of-the-finest-kind extravaganza. Possibly one of my favouite all time dessert experiences, Jules, I salute you, you midnight baking legend.

Tasty blog girls. What a lovely house of tarts..... Jake bakes late, coming to a kitchen near you soon. X

I just wish we had some figs this year.

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