A few many things prompted me to make this lovely "tartelette" seen in the picutures as well as a few others in the past couple of days. Last week I was given a good 10 pound basket filled to the rim with lovely figs from one of my clients' extremely prolific fig tree. "Yippee!" I scream as I love fresh figs. We started eating them fresh, the grilled with melting goat cheese, cut up in salad or with pork tenderloin. Then came the fig chutneys, fig jams, fig cakes and finaly these "Fig Almond Frangipane Tartelettes". It turns out that Sophie likes them too and B. will eat anything covered with sugar!
I was also trying to find a suitable local crop to make a dessert for Sugar High Friday hosted this month by Johanna of the Passionate Cook . It turns out that the earliest colonists from England and Barbadoes landing in South Carolina found a bounty of foods in their new land, including peaches, figs, muscadines, pumpkins, squash, game, fish, nuts, and corn. Fig trees are almost as widespread as pecan trees here (my pecans seems about ready to implode) and the tiny fruits they produce packs a punch of flavor and juice. When I think about it, I don’t recall ever buying a single fig that was not from Charleston since I moved here. The common figs we get may not be the most sought after variety but they work just great for everyday life.
I make this kind of tartlets (and sometimes bigger pie) often throughout the year using different seasonal fruits. I love it with pears,apples, peaches, and plums, but quite frankly I think any fruit tastes wonderful when paired with a fragrant almond frangipane cream.
Fig Almond Tartelettes, adapted from Bon Appetit, October 1998
Makes 3 4- inch tartelettes (enough for 6 or 3 big appetites)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons ice water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole almonds (about 2 ounces)
1/3 cup sugar1 large egg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
4 teaspoons rum or brandy
12 ounces ripe figs, cut into halves
1/4 cup apricot marmelade
Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine first 3 ingredients in processor. Using on/off turns, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Mix 2 tablespoons ice water and vanilla in small bowl. Pour water mixture over dough. Process until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Roll out on floured surface to 12-inch round. Cut 3 rounds about 5 inches big, fit into pie plate and trim excess dough. (or use shapes and molds you like) Using fork, pierce dough all over. Bake crust until pale golden, about 30 minutes (crust may shrink slightly). Cool on rack. Maintain oven temperature.
Finely grind almonds with sugar in processor. Add egg, butter and 2 teaspoons rum. Process until batter forms. Pour filling into crust. Arrange fig halves atop filling. Bake until figs are tender and filling is golden and set, about 25 minutes.
Melt jelly with remaining 2 teaspoons rum in heavy small saucepan over medium-low heat. Brush jelly mixture over figs. Cool tartelettes. Serve at room temperature.
Pour mes lecteurs francais: j’ai demande a mes parents de me rapporter de la feve tonka, mais je ne sais ou leur dire de s’en procurer. Ils sont du cote de Versailles-Rambouillet-Paris. Quelques suggestions seraient les bienvenues. Merci.