Mr. Autumn is here.
While my south Italian soul was already freezing, I spent an awesome and inspiring weekend in Istanbul.
I absolutely adored the creativity, the variety, the warmth and (why not) even the chaos of this fascinating metropolis between west and east.
And I discovered new tastes and recipes that I will soon share with you!
Anyhow apart from the temperatures here in Switzerland, I adore this season and the grapes, the pumpkins, the chestnuts, the figs….
A dessert hanging from a tree: how great is that?
There is nothing better of a freshly picked fig, right from the tree: soft, moist, creamy and sweet.
Well the store bought ones are not the same AT ALL !
Try to pick some ripe figs, let them travel for long hours, stay in a box for a few more days and then taste them . . .
Perfectly ripe figs are slightly cracked and should be eaten immediately.
Well some days ago I had an emergency.
A fig-craving attack.
A homesickness attack for the gorgeous figs of my father, in Italy, ripened by the last summery sun.
So I bought some.
But they were not cracked.
The stem was not moist.
Ergo: they were not ripe.
But hey! When I saw them in the store, for a moment I’ve flown back to Istanbul and its markets full of wonderful figs.
And indeed they do come from Turkey!
So I ignored my inner angelic voice saying: besides your unsustainable action, they’ll never taste like the ones of your dad!!!
But it was an emergency.
I bought them and I made this easy tart, perfect if you crave figs, but you don’t have one of those hypnotic magic trees in your garden.
FIG AND HAZELNUT TART WITH OLIVE OIL SHORTCRUST PASTRY
For a 25 cm ∅ tart pan
For the shortcrust pastry:
- 200 gr of flour (I used a fine whole wheat flour)
- 80 gr of brown sugar, finely powdered
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
- the grated zest of one lemon
- a good pinch of salt
- 50 gr of water
- 50 gr of olive oil (feel free to substitute it partially or totally with sunflower oil)
For the filling:
- 120 gr of toasted hazelnuts (or almonds)
- 80 gr of maple syrup
- 60 gr of melted coconut oil
- 50 gr of unsweetened apple sauce
- 2 tablespoons of corn starch
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla bean powder
- a pinch of salt
For the topping:
- about 10 fresh figs
- one spoon of brown sugar (you can omit it if your figs are fresh and sweet as they should be!)
1. Prepare the crust: mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl, included the grated lemon peel. In another bowl mix the water with the oil and add them to the powders. Knead quickly with the hands just until it comes together. Let it chill for at least 15 minutes in the fridge before using it.
2. Prepare the filling: place the hazelnuts in a food processor and pulse until they are finely grounded.
Now mix all the other ingredients for the filling with a spoon until well combined.
3. Preheat the oven at 180°C (350°F).
Roll out the pastry on a floured surface and line the tart pan.
Spoon the filling into the pastry case and spread it evenly.
4. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the edges of the pastry are dark golden (the pastry itself is already quite dark because of the brown sugar).
5. Meanwhile wash the figs, remove the stems and cut them in half. Line them up on a baking tray and sprinkle them with a tablespoon of sugar.
Once your tart is baked, remove it from the oven and turn on the grill at 230°C (440°F).
Roast the figs for about 7 to 10 minutes, until they just start to caramelize, then place them on the tart while it’s still hot, so that they slightly sink in the hazelnut cream.
6. Let it cool down for about 20 minutes in the pan, then transfer it on a wire rack to cool completely.