Buttery, flaky pâte brisée. Velvety smooth and decadent cream cheese + whipped cream filling. Three kinds of figs, tossed in brown sugar and caramelized to bubbly, syrupy perfection. A handful of crushed pistachios and a drizzle of honey to finish her off. Isn't she pretty?
Caramelized Fig Tart
whipped cream cheese filling + pistachios + honey
tart pan (Pictured Above: 4 1/2 x 14 inch rectangular tart tin. Pictured Below: 5" round.)
roasting pan or skillet
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup butter, cut into small cubes and chilled
2-4 tablespoons ice water
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2/3 cup powdered sugar, divided
6 oz. cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
dash of salt
Figs + things
12 figs, washed and patted dry (I used Tiger figs, Black Mission Figs, and Calimyrna figs.)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
Handful of pistachios, crushed
Honey - I used a tablespoon or so, but feel free to drizzle to your heart's content.
** Please Note: You can absolutely use your favorite pie/pastry crust recipe. I am a firm believer in "To Thine Own Pie Crust Be True." No need to try and make mine if you have a recipe or method you love. **
Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the chilled butter, and using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse meal (or "pea-sized" clumps). Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of ice water over the flour/butter mixture and continue to cut the dough until it just starts to hold together. (I use the "Pinch Test" - I pinch some of the dough together between my fingers and if it holds it's shape, you're good to go.) Using your hands, continue to work the dough together until it all holds together. Be careful not to overwork the dough.
Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Flatten a bit. Wrap, and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Once the dough has had a chance to rest in the fridge, take it out and let it warm up, just until it is soft and pliable. Roll out the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap (or wax paper) to about 1/8-inch thickness. Remove the top piece of plastic wrap, and carefully invert the dough over the tart tin. Remove the other piece of plastic wrap. Press dough into the tin, then roll your rolling pin over the top of the tin, neatly trimming off the excess dough and making it flush with the edges of the tin. Place the tart shell in the refrigerator to chill for 20-30 minutes.
Pre-heat oven to 425º.
Meanwhile, make the filling. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese until soft and smooth. Gradually add 1/3 cup of powdered sugar, vanilla, and dash of salt. Beat until creamy. In another bowl, beat the heavy whipping cream on high until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/3 cup of powdered sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture and fold to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and set in the fridge to chill.
Remove the tart tin from the fridge. Either prick the bottom of the shell with a fork or line with parchment and fill with pie weights. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15-18 minutes, or until the sides begin to brown. (If using pie weights, remove the tin from the oven and gently remove the pie weights. Return the tin to the oven.) Reduce the oven to 375º and continue to bake the crust until it's golden brown - approximately 5 more minutes. Let the tart shell cool completely.
Turn your broiler on high.
Give the figs a quick rinse under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Trim off the stems and cut the figs into quarters. Combine the sugar and brown sugar in a small bowl, until thoroughly incorporated. Toss the quartered figs in the sugar and place them skin side down in a single layer in a skillet or roasting pan. Lightly drizzle with a bit of honey. Place the figs under the broiler (approximately 6 inches away from the flame) for 3-4 minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved and begins to bubble up and brown. Remove from the broiler and let cool.
** Note: Most recipes I read only use a broiler for 30-60 seconds. I suppose my broiler is rather slow, though, because I almost always have to leave something under the flame for 3-4 minutes. So please, keep your eye on the figs - you want them to bubble up and caramelize, however long that takes. **
Once the tart shell is cool, remove the whipped cream cheese from the fridge and use to fill the tart shell. Decorate the top of the cream with the caramelized figs - don't worry if the sugary syrup from the bottom of the pan comes with them! It will taste great.
Garnish with chopped pistachios and a drizzle of honey. Chill the tart until ready to serve!
Tart shell and whipped cream cheese filling can be made the day ahead and kept in the fridge. The figs and assembly are best done the day of.