It’s officially Fall and we’re all back in the kitchen. After a New York City visit to make new food friends and attend some Wine and Food Festival events, I’m roasting the Brussels sprouts from ripe stalks in my garden. Jill is doing beautiful things with beets and apples and Shelby is making some local squash sparkle in this gratin. And, inspired by the west coast fig harvest, Denise has shared a tart we’ve all fallen for… What are you doing with figs this Fall? -Maggie
Late August brings anticipation of fig season to our home. I anticipate seeing the first basket of ripe figs make their market appearance, and I tend to seek them out anxiously the entire month. This summer, I finally found these little gems towards the end of August and was completely overjoyed with glee. I carefully hand-picked the plumpest ones I could find, and laid them carefully in a brown paper bag. All the way home, I thought about how I was going to pour a glass of wine, sit out back, and savor the succulent flavor of each sweet bite. Unfortunately, this first time was a bit of a disappointment; dry, seedy, and not very succulent. A bowl of figs and not one was worthy of being eaten.
Over the next couple weeks, I reluctantly purchased a few figs here and there. Once it started heating up around the Bay Area, the figs slowly started becoming plumper, moister and full of flavor. Figs started becoming a regular guest over at our kitchen island, and we were enjoying them daily. Most often we enjoyed them simply by nibbling on them as a snack or along side some cheese while making dinner.
If the figs lasted long enough to make it into a recipe, one of my favorites is this savory tart. Creamy blue cheese cradles the sugary figs; they are the perfect marriage and there really is no comparison. As the blue cheese bubbles while baking, the figs gently burst and their jammy sweetness oozes over the tart. This savory tart is lovely served as a starter for a special meal or on its own when served with a simple green salad.
Fig and Blue Cheese Tart
- 1 package of puff pastry or enough tart dough for 8” tart pan
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 4 ounces blue cheese
- 2 tablespoons half and half
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- Enough figs to cover the bottom of your tart pan, cut them in half
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
- Drizzle of olive oil
- Chestnut honey
- Heat oven to 375.
- Butter the bottom and sides of your tart pan with the melted butter. Roll out the dough into a large circle, about an inch bigger then your pan. Pat the dough into the pan and trim the extra dough that hangs over the sides.
- Combine the cheese, half and half and pepper in a bowl. Mash with a fork. Spread evenly over dough. Arrange the figs over the cheese mixture alternating cut side up and cut side down. Sprinkle with the fresh minced thyme and drizzle olive oil over the top.
- Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until crust is golden, and the figs are plump and the cheese is slightly bubbly. Remove from oven. Let cool for 10 – 15 minutes. Just before serving drizzle a small amount of honey over the top of the tart. Serve. Eat.
All photos styled and shot by Denise Woodward.
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