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Friday, April 10, 2009

Fig, berry and pistachio burnt-butter tart

Fig, berry and pistachio burnt-butter tart

Oh, fig season! It never seems to last long enough. Last year I bookmarked a recipe in Gourmet Traveller for this fig, berry and pistachio burnt-butter tart but didn't get around to making it before fig season ended. Well, I was determined to make it this year and finally had the opportunity to do so recently.

One of the important aspects of the recipe is the burnt butter. There was a nice tip in the magazine about listening to the butter as it cooks. As the butter becomes darker, the pitch of the bubbling becomes deeper, until it becomes almost silent. I was a bit dubious, but lo and behold, when the butter became dark nut brown it was almost completely quiet! Amazing.

The rest of the recipe was pretty easy - whisking eggwhites until firm and then folding in icing sugar, flour, ground pistachios, lemon rind and finally the burnt-butter.

Fig, berry and pistachio burnt-butter tart

Upon tasting the tart, I felt that it was just ho hum. Perhaps that was my fault though - I didn't have any raspberries, so I substituted with blueberries. The tartness and colour of raspberries would most likely have worked better. I also didn't feel that the figs had any presence in the tart, almost as if they could've been left out with no noticeable difference. Apart from those criticisms there wasn't anything really wrong with it - it just didn't live up to expectations after waiting a whole year to make it. Perhaps it could be improved with some tweaks, but I certainly don't have the patience - it will most likely go into the "will probably never make again” pile! (Perhaps someone out there has more patience than me?)

It did look pretty though!

Fig, berry and pistachio burnt-butter tart

Fig, raspberry and pistachio burnt-butter tart

From Gourmet Traveller magazine - February 2008

Serves 6-8

120 grams cold butter, coarsely chopped
1 vanilla bean, spilt and seeds scraped
3 eggwhites
225 grams pure icing sugar, sieved
70grams plain flour
60grams pistachio kernels, ground
plus whole kernels to garnish
1 & 1/2 tablespoons finely grated lemon rind
125 grams raspberries (I used blueberries)
6 figs, quartered
165grams caster sugar
80ml dessert wine
Thick cream to serve

Cook butter and vanilla bean and seeds over a medium-high heat until dark nut brown (around 5 minutes). Cool and remove vanilla bean.

Preheat oven to 160°C. Whisk eggwhites and a pinch of salt until firm peaks form. Fold in icing sugar, them flour, pistachio and rind.

Fold in burnt butter and spoon into a greased base-lined and floured 11.5cm x 35cm fluted loose-bottomed tart pan. Scatter a quarter of the raspberries over, top with overlapping figs and bake for 30 minutes or until golden and firm to the touch. Stand in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, combine caster sugar and 50ml of water over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and cook, brunching down sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush, for 4-5 minutes or until caramel in colour, remove from heat and add wine, swirling to combine (be careful as mixture will spit). Add the remaining raspberries and stir to combine, then cool.

To serve, drizzle raspberry-caramel over tart, scatter over pistachios and raspberries and serve warm or at room temperature with extra raspberry-caramel and thick cream.

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