Sunday, December 04, 2022

State of the tart: figs, goat cheese and honey

| November 8, 2016 2:00 AM

I purchased a package of figs not long ago. I figured some would be eaten out of hand, but then I was wondering what I might do with them. This coincided with me wanting to try out some goat cheese. Admittedly, I’m not a big fan of goat cheese, but figured putting it into a baked dish would make it more palatable.

Anyway, fresh figs are available from early summer into fall. They have a teardrop shape, soft skin, and a fleshy inside with a lot of small, crunchy seeds. Figs normally grow in Mediterranean climates, though my uncle had a fig tree growing in his house in Ephrata a few years ago.

Look for fruits that are heavy for their size and are soft and yielding to gentle pressure. A ripe one can be plump, but often better ones are a bit shrunken and wrinkled, possibly showing cracks in the skin. Look for a distinct bend at the stem. Avoid fruits that are very firm or overly squishy or that show signs of milky sap at the stem. Look carefully for signs of mold, the biggest enemy of ripe figs.

I suppose you could use dried figs in this recipe, rehydrating them in water for a bit. I’d cut back on the honey if doing so.


Unbleached all-purpose flour, for dusting

1 sheet (half of a 17.3-ounce package) frozen puff pastry, thawed overnight in the refrigerator

4 ounces fresh goat cheese, softened

1/4 cup honey

8 ripe, fresh figs, stemmed and quartered lengthwise

1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Lightly dust a sheet of parchment with flour. Unfold the pastry, place on top of the parchment, and lightly dust with flour. Roll out the pastry to a 10-inch square. Prick all over with a fork at 1/2-inch intervals. Make a 3/4-inch border on all sides by pressing the edge of a ruler into the pastry to mark it. Fold the pastry over at the markings to make a double-thick rim. Transfer the pastry on the parchment to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the center is golden-brown and puffed, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the goat cheese and 2 tablespoons of the honey in a bowl. Spread the cheese mixture inside the border of the puff pastry. Arrange the figs on the cheese. Sprinkle with the rosemary and 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Bake until the rim of the pastry is golden-brown, about 7 minutes. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of honey and cool for about 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

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