Fig-walnut tart is an Italian dessert featuring fresh figs in a tender pastry crust. But sweet, delicate figs are highly perishable and have a relatively short growing season. To re-create this sophisticated tart with more accessible ingredients, America’s Test Kitchen turned to dried fruit.
They rehydrated dried figs before baking so they wouldn’t end up tough and leathery; adding brandy and orange zest to the soaking liquid infused the figs with complementary flavors. Traditionally, halved or quartered figs are arranged in the crust before baking, but since they used dried figs, they opted to process them to a smooth puree before adding toasted chopped walnuts for crunchy texture. Processed figs can feel a bit heavy in a delicate tart shell, so they decided to add a bright and juicy element. Cherries and figs are a winning combination and for this tart, the cherries break up the texture of the filling and add a welcome freshness.
HOW TO MAKE A FIG, CHERRY & WALNUT TART
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
- Tart shell in a 9- to 9 ½-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and fluted sides about 1 to 1 1/8 inches high.
- Food processor
- Rolling Pin
- Parchment Paper
FOR THE PASTRY
- vanilla extract
- unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
FOR THE FIG-TART FILLING
- 6 ounces dried Turkish or Calimyrna figs, stemmed and quartered
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup brandy
- 1 Tbsp grated orange zest
- 12 oz frozen sweet cherries (thawed, drained & chopped)
- 1 cup walnuts (toasted and chopped)
- 1 sweet tart pastry (see recipe below)
- Whisk together yolk, cream, and vanilla in small bowl; set aside. Pulse to combine 1 1/4 cups flour, sugar, and salt in bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture; pulse to cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal, about fifteen 1-second pulses.
- With machine running, add egg mixture and process until dough just comes together, about 25 seconds.
- Turn dough onto sheet of plastic wrap and press into 6-inch disk.
- Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
- Unwrap dough; lightly flour large sheet of parchment paper and place dough in center.
- Lightly flour top of dough and cover with another sheet of parchment paper. Pound dough with rolling pin to warm up the dough. This may cause some cracking around the edges. That’s OK. Push the dough back together where it has cracked
- Roll the dough out evenly from the center out, pushing together any cracks as they may appear.
- Loosely roll dough around rolling pin and gently unroll it onto 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom, letting excess dough hang over edge. Ease dough into pan by gently lifting edge of dough with your hand while pressing into corners and fluted sides of pan with your other hand. Run rolling pin over top of pan to remove any excess dough.
- Wrap loosely in plastic, place on large plate, and freeze until fully chilled and firm, about 30 minutes. (Dough-lined tart pan can be frozen for up to 1 month.)
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.
- Line chilled tart shell with double layer of aluminum foil and fill with pie weights. Bake on foil-lined rimmed baking sheet until tart shell is golden and set, about 30 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Remove foil and weights and transfer sheet to wire rack.
- Combine figs, water, brandy, and orange zest in small saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat until figs are softened and beginning to break down, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer mixture to food processor and process until smooth, about 15 seconds.
- Transfer fig puree to large bowl and stir in chopped cherries and walnuts. Spread fig mixture evenly over bottom of tart shell.
- Bake tart on sheet until crust is golden brown and filling is set, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking.
- Let tart cool completely on sheet on wire rack, about 2 hours. Remove outer ring of tart pan, slide thin metal spatula between tart and tart pan bottom, and carefully slide tart onto serving platter or cutting board. Serve.