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It’s fresh fig season! Frangipane Fig Tart pairs luscious almond cream with ripe gorgeous figs to create this beautiful and delicious dessert.
I am an absolute sucker for frangipane and marzipan. When I am in Europe I always search for the beautiful marzipan offerings. Some women look for shoes – I shop marzipan. Shaped to resemble delicate fruits and vegetables – they are almost too pretty to eat. But somehow I always do! And don’t get me started on dark chocolate covered marzipan. Yummmmmmmmmmmm!
Frangipane uses the same flavors as marzipan but in a delicate custardy cream that just melts as soon as it hits your tongue. It is a wonderful filling for all kinds of fruit tarts and is especially delicious paired with apples, apricots and pears. Here I am pairing it with fresh ripe figs while they are in season.
Frangipane Fig Tart takes bits and pieces from other recipes I have made. After 5 plus decades of cooking and baking I have learned that everything is built on something that came before. So if you come across a tart dough that you like, use it again and again in different tarts. Maybe you will add a new flavoring like almond extract or a bit of whole wheat flour to make it fit the new filling.
Frangipane Fig Tart takes the frangipane recipe that I use in my Bakewell Tart. It gets the crust from the Perfect French Walnut Tart with the addition of pure almond extract. The use of Dalmatia Fig jam is a riff on the jam also used in the Bakewell Tart and Linzer Torte. Whenever I cook something new, I search for five or six different versions and take what I like from each. It’s not magic. Anyone can do it.
When you cut open a ripe fig, it has a beautiful natural design that makes the tart a work of art. While I am willing to sacrifice looks for taste on occasion, that is not a compromise I need to make here.
For a delicious vegan frangipane recipe:
For another delicious way to use the ripe figs now in season:
Yield: One 9-inch tart About 8 servings
For the tart shell
87 grams (2⁄3 cup) all-purpose flour
46 grams (1⁄3 cup) whole-wheat flour
40 grams (3 tablespoons) white sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter, cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
For the filling
175 g soft butter (About 13 Tablespoons)
175 g caster sugar (3/4 cups)
3 large eggs, at room temperature
175 g ground almonds (1.5 cups)
40 g all-purpose flour (1/3 cup)
1/4 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
1 tsp pure almond extract
10 to 12 fresh figs (You won’t use all of them but some will be nicer when cut open than others and some mistakes in cutting also happen….)
3 T Dalmatian Fig Jam (This is widely available in most large grocery stores and online)
Heat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the lower-middle position.
To make the tart shell, in a food processor, process until combined both flours, the sugar and salt, about 5 seconds. Scatter the butter over the mixture and pulse until it resembles coarse sand, 10 to 12 pulses. Add the egg yolk and vanilla, then process until the mixture is evenly moistened and cohesive, 20 to 30 seconds or until the dough just starts to come together. Do not wait for it to form a ball.
Crumble the dough into 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, evenly covering the surface. Using the bottom of a dry measuring cup, press into an even layer over the bottom and up the sides; the edge of the dough should be flush with the rim. Use a fork to prick (dock) all over the bottom, then freeze until the dough is firm, 15 to 30 minutes. You can also refrigerate the dough for at least one hour or up to overnight.
Bake the tart pastry for 30 to 35 minutes or until lightly browned and set. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack or heat resistant surface. While the pastry is still warm, spread 3 Tablespoons of the fig jam over the bottom of the pastry. Left-over jam is wonderful on toast and with cheese.
While the tart shell bakes, make the frangipane filling. The amount given is generous and you may have a little leftover. It will keep in the fridge for several days and can be used to make some small tarts or in a baked french toast or almond croissants.
Once the tart shell with the layer of fig jam has cooled slightly, carefully spoon dollops of the softened frangipane into the shell without disturbing the jam. Spread it into an even layer that comes just under the rim. You want to leave room for the weight of the figs.
Prepare the figs. There is no magic one way to cut the figs. Experiment a bit to make a pleasing pattern. The frangipane will puff up some in the oven and will then settle down as it cools. So be sure to leave some spaces uncovered with the fruit for the frangipane to puff up.
I always buy a few extra figs. Failures happen and some figs just look better when they are cut open than others.
Sprinkle the cut figs with a little Demerara or sanding sugar. Place in the 325 degree oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the frangipane is just set with a little jiggling in the center. I like to then turn off the oven but leave the tart in there for 8 to 10 more minutes. That really sets things without over-baking.
Allow the tart to cool completely on a wire rack before removing it from the ring.
[I don’t think it is necessary but if you want to give the tart a totally professional glistening finish, you can lightly and carefully brush the top with a warmed and strained apple or apricot jelly.]