11/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon. salt
1 teaspoon sugar
8 tablespoons chilled butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 3 tablespoons ice water
12 to 16 ripe figs
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor and then add the butter and pulse until the mixture forms very fine crumbs. You can also do this in a bowl, cutting in the butter with a pastry cutter or fork. With the machine running, add the vanilla and 2 tablespoons of the ice water (adding more if needed) and process until the dough comes together. Remove dough from food processor bowl and shape it into a disk. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for about 15 minutes. Roll the dough into an 11-inch circle and put it in a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Gently press the dough evenly into the tart pan. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to look perfect. Prick the bottom of the tart shell with a fork in 8 or 10 places, and then put the pan in the freezer for 20 minutes while you heat the oven to 425°F. Put the chilled tart shell on a baking sheet, line the shell with foil, and fill with beans or pie weights. Bake until it’s lightly colored, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the tart and reduce the oven temperature to 400°F; remove the weights and foil.
To make the filling
Cut off the stems of the figs (leave the skins on) and slice the figs in half ( if they’re large, you may choose to quarter them).
Arrange the figs, cut side up, on the tart shell. Whisk the egg yolk, sour cream, brown sugar, and vanilla until combined.
Carefully spoon the custard around but not over the figs.
Bake the tart on the baking sheet in the 400°F oven until the custard is lightly colored and set, about 30 minutes. Serve slightly warm.
French Apple Tart
We went apple picking in Spartanburg County South Carolina last week. This is a great recipe for using the apples we picked. This tart is very simple to make and is simply delicious. Use your favorite apple. I made a couple of these tarts for a bake sale one year and there were bidding wars for the tarts. Although it doesn’t need much, a dollop of whipped cream is a nice topping.
French Apple Tart
1 recipe pastry dough, recipe follows
6 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, halved and sliced 1/8-inch thick
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 stick cold butter, sliced thin
1/2 cup apricot jam, heated and strained
Vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream, as an accompaniment
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
On a lightly floured surface roll out dough into a 13-inch round and fit it into a 10-inch tart tin with a removable fluted rim, trimming the excess. Arrange the apples decoratively on the pastry shell, overlapping them. Sprinkle the sugar on top of the apples, top with butter slices and bake in the middle of the oven for 45 minutes or until the crust is cooked through and the apples are golden. Brush with the heated apricot jam while the tart is still hot. Serve each portion with a small scoop of ice cream or a small spoonful of whipped cream.
1 stick cold unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water
Cut butter into 1/2-inch cubes.
To blend by hand: Blend together flour, butter, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender until most of mixture resembles coarse meal (roughly pea-size lumps). Drizzle 2 tablespoons ice water evenly over and gently stir with a fork until incorporated.
To blend in a food processor: Pulse together flour, butter, and salt in a food processor until most of mixture resembles coarse meal (roughly pea-size lumps). Add 2 tablespoons ice water and pulse 2 or 3 times, or just until incorporated.
Test mixture: Gently squeeze a small handful: it should hold together without crumbling apart. If it doesn’t, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring or pulsing 2 or 3 times after each addition until incorporated (keep testing). If you overwork mixture or add too much water, pastry will be tough.
Form dough: Turn out onto a work surface and divide into 4 portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather dough together and form it, rotating it on work surface, into a disk. Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour.
Yield: 1 (9-inch) pie crust or a 10 to 11-inch tart crust
Dough can be chilled up to 1 day.
Recipe source: Gourmet Magazine