Friday 18 September 2015

Figs Frangipane dark tart

4 hours to prepare Serves 12

Easy Peasy.
(Not really)

I really haven’t had time enough to despair that figs disappeared so soon.
Now I can officially only sit back and lament that the good season had passed us too quickly, and remember the stunning recipe I was able to try with the fresh, organic figs that I received, as a gift, in a wonderful and sunny day of August.

I had always had a tart in mind – the Figs Frangipane dark tart from Ernst Knam book. His recipes are always astonishing, even if complex, they are simply perfect. I followed Ernst’s recipe step-by-step and was a wonder to accomplish such a challenging task…twice! (Of course, my husband and friends asked for seconds).
The house smelt of a French bakery as this tart baked...the smell of chocolate spread through the kitchen into the living room, carrying the charming aromas of the butter tart with it.
Warming, endearing, comforting...I can’t wait for the next summer to come!

Here are ingredients for a 12-serving recipe (24-cm diameter baking pan):

For the pastry

100 g flour 00
100 g dark cocoa powder
50 g sugar
60 g butter
2 g baking powder
2 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean

For the Frangipane cream

100 g peeled almonds
100 g sugar
100 g burro
50 g flour 00
50 g dark chocolate
1 egg

For the topping

10 figs
170 g fig jam
50 g gelatine sheets

  1. Sift the flour and the baking powder on a pastry board, then add the vanilla seeds and a pinch of salt
  2. Using your fingertips, gently work butter and sugar into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks to the mixture and gently work it together using your hands until you have a ball of dough
  3. Sprinkle a little flour over the dough, then wrap it in clingfilm and put it into the fridge to rest for at least 2 hours
  4. Start preparing the Frangipane cream by melting the dark chocolate in a bain-marie and let it cool down
  5. Place almonds in a blender. Blend until you obtain a uniform flour-like mixture
  6. Place the butter - softened and cut into cubes - in a bowl, add the sugar and mix with an electric beater until you get a light and fluffy mixture
  7. Whisk the egg and gradually add it to the mixture. Mix again
  8. With a wooden spoon, add the flour 00 - sifted - and the almond flour. Gradually add the melted chocolate, too, and mix until you obtain a homogeneous mixture. Cover the bowl with clingfilm to prevent the formation of a crust. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour
  9. Grease and dust the baking pan with cocoa powder, then cover bottom and sides with the pastry cut into a flattened disc-shape, about 3 mm thick. Put it into the fridge to rest for 1 hour
  10. Meanwhile, melt the fig jam over low heat in a saucepan and keep it aside
  11. When the 1-hour time has passed, preheat oven to 180°. Now we are ready to assemble our tart: spoon the frangipane cream into the pan until mid height, and smooth. Then brush the fig jam all over the surface. Finally, cut the figs in half and poke them into the cream with their concave side downwards
  12. Bake the tart at 180° for 45 minutes. (Do not open the oven for at least the first half of the baking time and perform the toothpick test at the end, to be sure baking is done).
    Leave the cake to cool a bit in the oven with the door open, then out of the oven
  13. Once the cake is fully cooled, start preparing the icing: pour 1/2 cup of water in a medium bowl and dunk the gelatine sheets in it. Let them soften about 2 minutes. Then, wring out the gelatine sheets and place them in a small saucepan with 2 tablespoons of water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Slowly stir until gelatine melts. Transfer the gelatine into a small bowl and let it become denser for about 2 minutes
  14. Finally, garnish the tart with some icing and wait for it to solidify..."simply", unbelievably superb!

Nutrition Facts are detailed in the table below. Data is provided per serving.

On Epiphany, the French cut the King Cake, a round cake made of Frangipane layers into slices to be distributed by a child known as the little king.
The cake is decorated with stars, a crown, flowers and a special bean hidden inside the cake. Whoever gets the piece of the Frangipane cake with the bean is crowned king for the following year. (Wikipedia)

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