Golden, Glazed Gorgeous Fig, Walnut & Honey Tart on Grana Padano Pastry
One of my finest memories of food is a fig that tasted of honey. I ate it bathed in sunshine on a hillside overlooking Capri. Warm and juicy, it is a taste that you can almost recreate with this recipe. Yes, to a dessert that features cheese in it so the tart is not too sweet, with Grana Padano added both in the pastry and in the filling, so little slices could become a cheese course with aged Grana Padano crumbled on top. These tarts can be made up to a day in advance and warmed through or served at kitchen temperature.
Serves 4 Preparation time: 1 hour plus pastry resting time; Cooking time: 30-40 minutes; Difficulty: Moderate
1. Pre-heat your oven to 200ºc / Fan 180ºc / Gas 6 / Rack Position Upper Middle Shelf.
2. Start with the pastry. Put the flour and butter into a large bowl. Add the icing sugar, Grana Padano, egg yolk and olive oil. Mix together with a wooden spoon until it is all well combined. If it's a bit dry, add some or all of the water.
3. Put the pastry onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead just enough so that it combines (the pastry will be very soft at this stage). Put the pastry onto a large piece of clingfilm on a plate and flatten it with your hands into a 24cm circle. Dust with a little flour. Cover the pastry in the clingfilm. Put it in the fridge to cool for 1 hour.
4. While the pastry cools, make the walnut cream. Blend the walnuts in your food processor. Add the Grana Padano, butter, icing sugar and the egg yolk. Blend until smooth and light. About 1 minute. Set aside.
5. To make the glaze, put the honey into a shallow pan. Add the walnuts, lemon juice, lemon zest and butter to the pan. Bring to the boil then boil rapidly until you have a glaze thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Take the pan off the heat.
6. Line a baking tray with a resusable non-stick sheet. Roll the pastry into a 28cm circle between two layers of floured clingfilm. Remove the top layer of clingfilm and wrap the pastry around your rolling pin with the clingfilm covered side closest to the pin. Lay the pastry side down on the baking tray. Discard the clingfilm.
7. Brush any excess flour off the pastry. Spread the walnut cream over the centre, leaving a border of about 5cm.
8. Stir the pinenuts into the glaze. Dot the halved figs over the top of the walnut cream at regular intervals. Put the walnuts in-between them. Tuck the pastry around the outsides to make a border. Spoon the pinenuts and glaze all over the pastry. Brush the pastry with the glaze. Take your time with this and make sure the pastry is entirely covered and there aren't any pinenuts on the tray or they will burn. Bake in your pre-heated oven for 30-35 minutes until golden.
9. Check every 5 minutes or so and scoop off any pinenuts that are around the side so that they don't burn.
10. Once cooked, leave to sit on the tray for 5 minutes or so, to let the pastry and filling firm up a little, then slide the tart carefully onto a cooling rack with the aid of a large spatula and a second pair of hands if they are available. Serve with crème fraiche, or ice cream, or both.