Fig trees grow like weeds in the Bay Area, so you may have your own harvest of fresh figs right now (provided you can get to them before the birds and squirrels do). Our local farmers will be busy harvesting mission, brown turkey, kadota, Sierra, tiger, and other fig varieties well into November, so here are a few ways to dress them up for a party.
Serve these figs with cheese, crackers, and Iced Ginger Tea.
1pound fresh figs, quartered
1 teaspoon dried licorice root
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
1 tablespoon honey
Bring the licorice root, vanilla powder, honey, and water to a boil. Remove from the stove and allow to steep for 10 minutes. Strain off the licorice. Toss the figs in the liquid and lift out with a slotted spoon. Let figs drain on a plate or sheet of parchment paper.
Keywords: fresh figs steeped in vanilla and licorice
Place sliced ginger and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add the tea bag. Allow to steep 5 minutes and then strain out the gingerroot and teabag. Add the juice of 1 lemon. Chill. Serve over ice sweetened as desired with sugar or honey.
Blackberries grow as happily as figs in the Bay Area, so here they are together in a rich shortbread tart.
Makes one 9-inch tart
For the tart dough:
1cup butter, softened
2 1/4cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3cups all-purpose flour
For the mascarpone filling:
2cups mascarpone cheese
1 tablespoon sugar
1 lemon, zest and juice
9 fresh figs, quartered, stems removed
1/2cup raspberry or fig jam
Slivered toasted almonds
Preheat oven to 375°F.
To make the tart dough: Cream together butter and sugar until smooth and slightly fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well. Add the flour and mix just until dough comes together. Knead lightly and form into a ball. Chill dough briefly while you mix up the filling.
To make the mascarpone filling: Combine the cheese and sugar in a medium bowl. Add the egg, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Mix until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
On a floured surface, roll out the tart dough to a circle that’s slightly larger than your 9-inch tart pan. Place the dough inside the pan and press into place on the sides and bottom. Trim away any excess dough. Prick all over with the tines of a fork. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. It is done when firm.
Remove baked tart crust from the oven and pour in the mascarpone filling mixture. Return tart to the oven for 8 minutes or until the filling is firm. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack.
Place the figs in a circular arrangement over the tart filling, starting at the outside and leaving room in the center for the blackberries. Once the fruit is on the tart, heat the jam until melted and lightly brush it over the fruit. Chill the tart until ready to serve.
Right before serving, garnish tart with mint leaves and a sprinkling of slivered almonds.
Keywords: Fresh Fig and Blackberry Tart, Fresh Fig Dessert, Tart