Fig, Cream Cheese and Mint Tart

A real stunner and a snappy one to prepare. Serve with a simple arugula or spinach salad.

Recipe courtesy of Lorraine Pascale
Show: Simply Baking Episode: So Easy
TOTAL TIME: 1 hr
Prep: 15 min
Inactive Prep: 15 min
Cook: 30 min
 
YIELD: 8 to 10 servings
LEVEL: Easy

ingredients

  • 1lb 2oz/500g homemade or store-bought short pastry
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 1 generous cup/9 1/2 fl oz/260ml whipping cream
  • 3/4 generous cup/5 1/2oz/165g cream cheese
  • 3 big squidges of honey
  • 1 tbsp Marsala (optional)
  • 12 to 16 figs, each cut into 6 pieces
  • Handful of green shelled pistachios, walnuts, or pecans, halved
  • 1 bunch of fresh mint, ripped or roughly torn
    • Special equipment: 8 by12 in (20 by30 cm) rectangular fluted pan
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      Directions

      Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

      Roll out the pastry on a floured counter to the thickness of a 1-cent piece and use it to carefully line the pan. Homemade pastry is short and so will be quite crumbly. Don't be alarmed by this, you can patch it together in the pan. Take a small ball of the pastry (the size of a nickel) and use it to gently ease the dough down into the pan. Press the handle of a wooden spoon against the pastry all round the edges to coax it into the fluted grooves. Trim off the excess around the top and run a thin knife around between the pastry and the edge of the pan to loosen. Put in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes, or until firm.

      Remove the tart from the refrigerator. Take a piece of parchment paper slightly larger than the pan and scrunch it up, then unscrunch it and line the pan with it. Fill it with pie weights or dried beans and "blind bake" in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pastry feels sandy to the touch. Remove the paper and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

      For the filling, put the cream in a bowl and whip until beginning to thicken, then fold it into the cream cheese and mix with the honey and Marsala, if using. Put the filling in the tart case, then arrange the figs on top and scatter over the nuts and mint. Serve with a sweet wine such as Asti.

      Figs and mint are delicious, so sprinkling some torn mint leaves over the tart works really well. This tart is best eaten on the day it is made.
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