“Why don’t you like them?” my friend S. asked. “Les figues ? Well, I don’t know, they’re just not citrusy enough!”
It’s true that it’s what I am typically after in a fruit. I want juice. I want to taste food with a bite. I am looking for a burst of flavor in my mouth after the first piece. So even if I sincerely find figs pretty and elegant, especially once they are cut open and reveal their vibrant deep purple color, they simply lack what I am personally looking for when I eat a piece of fruit.
But I never like to say ‘”jamais” (never). And I try. This tart, for example, is an excellent compromise. It’s the case of me, moi, trying to appreciate what figs have to offer.
To start, I needed dessert for dinner — so there was that. Secondly, I really wanted to photograph figs when I caught sight of pretty ones at my store. Lastly, I simply wanted to give figs another chance. After all, I might change my opinion. I wanted to.
It must have been my lucky day. Or the figs’ lucky day.
It turns out that the tart was really tasty. And so simple and fresh. To give the dessert a boost of flavor, I spiced the tart up with ginger and vanilla and I baked it without a custard, to make sure that the flavor of figs would be the first to be revealed.
In fact, I obtained such a delicious outcome that I decided to use figs in some of my savory food too. And so yesterday, as I was preparing a black rice salad to have for lunch with my friend E., I decided to add fresh figs to the salad — and I’ll have to tell you about that later. And then, since we needed a dessert too, I baked a few vanilla-flavored mascarpone flans with figs nested inside.
And it worked. Both the desserts and salad, in fact, managed to reconcile me with figs. Comme quoi, il n’y a que les idiots qui ne changent pas d’avis. (It’s a French expression that translates as “Only idiots never change their mind“.
I meant to tell you another story too. It’s funny how things happen. It’s funny to see the connection the web opens. It’s, of course, also about food, or how to share information about what my food readings are. It’s about a new exciting project that I am lucky to be part of. Have you heard about Google Power Reader? ( Yes, I am talking about the big Google company.)
A few weeks ago, I received an email from a project manager at Google. I was surprised and felt quite honored when he asked if I wanted to be part of a project that Google was about to launch. In fact, what I never told you before is that Google had already contacted me a few months before then, to ask if I would mind that my blog becomes part of the list of blogs given by default to new users signing up to Google reader. “If I mind?” I thought. Vous devez plaisanter ! (You must be joking!) Who would mind such a thing? I had accepted, of course! So when someone on the team contacted me again, this time to ask if I was open to participate in the new Power Reader project they were about to launch, I said “yes!”
The project launched two days ago. It provides people, you, with a new way to discover good reading sources across a variety of topics, including news, fashion, health, food and technology. It allows users to create their own reading lists, if they want, and become power readers themselves using Google Reader. It’s simple! Have a look at my list, for example (of course, it’s just a small portion of the great blogs I read, there are many more that didn’t fit in!)
Here is the food section of the Power Reader Project.
Twenty seven people, including me, were asked to contribute to the project by providing their reading lists. They are across a variety of fields, including news, tech and web, food and health, and trends and fashion. Within the food section, I am lucky (and honored again!) to be part of a group of three other talented people who, really, do not need any introduction: Mark Bittman (Food Columnist and Blogger at the NY Times, author of Bitten Blogs, Faith Durand (Editor, author of The Kitchn) and Tara Parker-Pope (Health Columnist and Blogger at the NY Times, author of Well Blog).
Voilà ! It pretty much covers it, and you know everything.
But I am getting hungry again. So let’s go back to tart which is waiting, shall we?
For the crust:
- 2/3 cup quinoa flour (80 g)
- 1/2 cup white rice flour (70 g)
- 1/3 cup cornstarch (40 g)
- 2 tablespoons blond cane sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 6.5 tablespoons (90 g) butter, room temperature (not soft) and diced
- 1 small egg
- 1.5 teaspoons xantham gum (optional but helps the crust to be less crumbly, making it easier to roll)
For the garnish:
- 12 fresh figs, washed and cut in quarters
- 4 tablespoons blond cane sugar
- 4 tablespoons almond meal
- 1 vanilla bean, split open and seeds grated
- 1 inch ginger, peeled and finely grated
- In a bowl, combine the flours, xantham gum (if using) and sugar and salt. Add the butter and make crumbles with the tips of your fingers. Add the egg and work the dough until it just forms a ball. Add more white rice flour if necessary. Divide in 4 smaller balls and place in the fridge for 1 hour, covered.
- Roll the dough and garnish buttered molds (I use non-stick with removable bottoms). Make small holes in the dough with a fork and place the tartlets in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven at 400 F.
- In a smaller bowl, combine the almond meal, sugar, vanilla seeds and ginger. Divide 3/4 of the sugar mixture between the tartlets.
- Arrange the figs on top and top with the rest of the sugar. Add a few pieces of butter on the fruit and bake the tartlets for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool before unmolding and enjoying!
I really like the deep, rich tones in your photos lately. The fig tarts are truly a work of art. I have to admit, the first time I ate a fresh fig was last year. I’d always eaten them in things like cookies, bars and in that Greek Gods fig yogurt. Give the fig a chance, eh? Congrats on the Google spot! Here’s to your continued success. Can’t wait to see your cookbook.
Fantastic! I couldn´t believe when I read “Quinoa flour”. Once again I´m going to look for it. It´s so amazing you mixed all these flours! I love this recipe. Thanks!
I see figs all the time in food magazines and always wished I could taste them to see what I was missing out on they are so pretty. Thanks for letting me live vicariously though your experience with them. Congrats on being part of the Google reader project! You must be excited and I think it’s a good choice on their part.
A wonderful combination! Original. Those tartlets look so pretty!
they look wonderful and what an honor to be in the google reader food section amongst those bloggers! i just baked with figs today too. so excited the season started!
Figs are hands down my favorite fruit- so versatile with sweet or savory! These tartlets look and sound amazing!!
Is it sad that I’m excited to see my blog as one of your picks? Well I am, so thanks muchly Bea. You of course are one of mine.
Beautiful! I love that cake stand – the color is gorgeous 🙂
I too have been trying more & more to love the fig!
The tart is gorgeousa nd the colors on this post are so inspiring! Congrats on the wonderful honor!
Lovely…I love anything with Ginger. Infact I was headed over here to find some Clafoutis recipes with peaches…now that I’ve decided to conquer all things with delectable french names which have previously kept me in fear!
I never even thought about the juiciness – or lack there of – of figs as a fruit. I just adore the flavour of the fig, and this tart looks just perfect.
I can’t stop baking with and eating figs either! Made fig tart wit ginger crumble a few weeks ago and they disappeared in 5 minutes with our friends! I love the black rice salad with figs! So refreshing!
I love fig~
so yummy tartlets!
The tarts sound delicious, and look beautiful! I love the addition of ginger. I’m with you on the burst of juice coming from fruit, I know exactly what you mean. Poached fruit infuses otherwise non-juicy fruit into a medley, and I bet a poached figs with ginger would be good.
Nice phrase, “only idiots never change their mind”. Heheh!
Wonderful tarts, Bea! Really like them!
Actually, I realy love figs in all ways but rarely can buy them…
huuum en ce moment les figues on s’en régale, je viens justement de poster une recette de figues étoilée au roquefort pour changer du plateau fromage!
Les photos sont superbes, vivement que je trouve des figues
Bea – these look so lovely and I’m glad you’ve started having a good relationship with figs 🙂 Thank you for your inspiration as always. kxx
I had to laugh when you mentioned the driving ambition to eat figs was so you could photograph them! And beautifully done, as always. Although my favorite way to eat figs is straight off the tree on a warm day ( in my childhood I lived in the South), this lovely tart intrigues me. Merci!
I love figs. Unfortunately I cannot find them in our markets as often as I would like. I always find your site so inspiring and today was no different.The Fig Tartlets on the red glass cake stand, look absolutely beautiful. I can’t wait to find some figs and try this out.
Congratulations on being selected by Google! That is definitely an honor and I wish you much success with that venture.
I’ve never tried figs..because they are not available here. This makes me wanna try it.hmmnn..I wonder how..
lovely Bea.. your photos are awesome, and the tarts as well, of course. I’ve not tried figs but this you’ve just managed to convince me to try figs as well… thank you! .. and congrats on the Google stuff! I’m happy with the blessings that are coming your way.
It looks really so nice. I don’t think I would eat them… just take some pictures again and again and wait for my family to taste them 🙂
It’s really great what happens to you with google reader but for sure you deserve it 🙂
I can’t even speak right now!
have a nice day
Amazing photos. Really enjoy your blog.
Beautiful photos! I picked up some quinoa flour the other day but it was so expensive that I put it back! Can you suggest another gluten-free flour that might work?
I was looking for a fig tart recipe the other day! Thanks!
Nice recipes, and if you prefer juicier figs, look for Desert King figs, Peter’s Honey or Negronne (Violette du Bordeaux). These varieties are best for fresh eating and often too fragile for shipping, so check local farmers markets. The figs in your photos look like Kadota and Black Mission which dry well and ship well because they are less juicy (but equally delicious).
Even if you say you are not keen on figs, you know you can still make them look absolutely gorgeous in your photos. And I bet they tasted amazing, too (especially the tartelettes…mmm…)!
As a kid, figs used to be one of the very few fruits that I wasn’t fond of, for pretty much the same reasons as yours: I thought they tasted rather bland, lacked texture. But my taste has changed over the years and now I’m a complete convert. So keep trying, and share the results with us while you’re at it! 🙂
Aujourd’hui c’est “Blog day”: http://blogday.org
Et je voulais juste te dire que tu es dans les 5 blogs que j’ai mis en avant pour cette occasion 🙂
Merci pour toutes ces fauleuses recettes et c’est magnifiques photos !
I completely agree about figs lacking pezaz! They are beautiful but i have tried them fresh again and again and the flavour just doesn’t live up to their beauty. I will however, give them another chance and try and make these beautiful tarts! very nice pisc
Beautiful work. You’ve been bookmarked and added to my blogroll 🙂
I have a fig tree in my garden and share the figs with the birds, who usually get the first pickings! We have to wait until late January for the fruit to ripen and make your tart.
Small tip for you, Béatrice (or anyone else living in France): if you want to taste what a good fig tastes like, you need to try Orkos’ fresh figs (mail order http://www.orkos.com, call them, they deliver to France), you won’t come back to any other fig after that. The figs are ripe and boy do they have taste! No need to prepare them.
If you consider this post as unwanted publicity, just delete it, but I recommend you try them anyway (Béatrice : or email me if you want more info).
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You are turning me into a foodie! And of fresh, health recipes that are easy to make and I enjoy eating day after day. Can’t wait for the cookbook.
Beautiful work–but I was really wanting the recipe for the vanilla mascarpone flan with figs. I just found some beautiful figs at the market and nesting them into something creamy sounds just right to me. Could you post that recipe as well?
Splendide design, splendides photos et splendides recettes!
Respect et bravo!
Une sportive, fan de bon et de bio!
Superbes tartelettes ets superbes photos, comme toujours. Ces fonds de tarte me rappellent celles a la rhubarbe…
Quelle sorte de farine puis-je utiliser pour remplacer la farine de quinoa que je n’ai pas dans mon placard ? Merci.
The reason so many of you are disappointed by figs is that you’ve never eaten one fresh from the tree. I live in Greece where I have fig trees in my garden and figs grow wild all over the place, even out of the sand on one beach I love. I adore figs, but even here a store-bought fig just doesn’t taste right. Not even the ones at the farmers’ markets can tempt me. I’ve learned. You have to pick your own to really understand why they’re so special.
Love your site, your recipes, your humor, and the love/warmth that radiates from it.
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Just like Diana, I am lucky enough to have fig trees that I can ravage in my mother’s house in Provence. There is nothing like springing out of bed on a leisurely August morning and sprinting to the garden to find the freshly ripe figs drooping from the branches…and yes, it is a contest with the birds!!!In the rare occasions that I actually make it with the ‘harvest’ up to the kitchen (usually I revert to the state of nature – just pick fruit off the trees and eat it on the spot), I like to slice the fig into quarters and have it with fresh Greek yoghurt!
Your site is my new Mecca!
Those vanilla-flavored mascarpone flans with figs look even more mouth-watering than the tartlets. Figs are honey in the shape of a pear!!!
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beautiful photos! Last week I saw the first of figs of the season (if we can even say that) and they were 1.50/pc here in nyc! no smell, no juice…the usually disappointments. But last summer I rented a house in Israel with a beautiful fig tree hanging over the patio to welcome me every night with its sweet scent and fallen figs and there the juice was oozing out of each fruit. Dont give up on figs. just consider them a treat when your in the right region…
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