Once again I have a feeling summer just flew by. (Somebody please finally give it a speeding ticket… the rainy season never seems to be so eager to leave us!) I’m going to miss the sun of course, but even more I’ll miss the blue skies. Pretty soon the pretty blue will be replaced by dark grey that’ll stay hanging over our heads for months.
One of the things that help to carry me through the end of the summer blues are fresh figs. We have two fig seasons around here; the second is just starting and runs till the end of September. There is positively nothing better than the taste of a fresh fig. Sure, we have the dried ones available all year long, and they’re wonderful added to cereal or sweet breads, but fresh figs are something else. They’re soft, plump, and bursting with sweetness. I eat them as they are, often unwashed straight from the bag coming from the market. Mr. Photographer loves them stuffed with brie, drizzled with a little honey, and grilled. I rarely get to bake with them, because we always gobble them up, but this time I hid a couple away so I could play with them later.
And as usual, I couldn’t decide what to make – so many wonderful recipes and only about 2 pounds of figs 🙂 But in the end, I chose this savory tart, because I already knew figs go together phenomenally with cheese, and I suspected the caramelized onions and pine nuts would make the already great combination even better. And boy, was I right! Thanks to the store-bought puff pastry the tart comes together in a snap (one of these days I’ll try it with homemade puff pastry!) and looks beautiful. Methinks the same toppings would be great on a not-your-typical-tomato-based pizza, too.
A great little appetizer that lets the figs to take the place in a spotlight, just as they deserve!
Fig Tart with Caramelized Onions, Rosemary, and Blue Cheese
(adapted from http://www.cooking.newyorktimes.com)
- 2 tablespoons each unsalted butter and olive oil
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup half and half or whole milk
- 1 egg
- 340 g (¾ lb.) puff pastry
- 340 g (¾ lb.) fresh figs, halved
- 2 oz. (55 g) blue cheese, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 1 sprig rosemary, + more for garnish
- honey for drizzling (optional)
- Make the caramelized onions: Melt the butter/olive oil in a pan. Add sliced onions, chopped rosemary, and sugar, and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes, until the onions are caramelized and nice golden brown. Stir in balsamic vinegar and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 375 °F (190°C). Line a big baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Whisk milk and egg together. Add caramelized onions to the egg mixture and toss.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry into 11 x 9 inch (27 x 22 cm) rectangle. Transfer the puff pastry onto the lined pan.
- Assembling the tart: Remove the onions from the egg mixture (let the excess egg drip back into the bowl), and spread them evenly on the tart, leaving about 1 inch (2.5 cm) border. Place the figs, cut side up, on the onions, and scatter cheese and pine nuts over. Make a lip on the edges of the tart and brush it with the egg – milk mixture.
- Bake until the tart is puffed and golden brown, about 25 minutes. Scatter rosemary all over the tart, drizzle it with honey if desired, and serve. (The tart can be served hot straight from the oven or at a room temperature.)