Sunday, July 27, 2014

Fig and Blue Cheese Tart with Honey, Balsamic and Rosemary

I love figs.  Newtons were one of my favorite cookies as a child.....still are.  That cakey exterior with the sweet crunchy filling.  Yum.  But I never associated that cookie with fresh fruit until my first trip to Italy.  We had hired a driver for the time we were in Florence and on about the third day he invited us to his home to taste his wine.  As I got out of the car there was a tree with huge pieces of fruit weighing down the branches.  I had never seen a fig tree before.  I plopped one in my mouth and was smitten.  

So when they start presenting themselves at the summer markets I buy them until they're no longer available.  We mostly eat them raw....sliced on our cheese tray which is frequently our summer dinner outside on the porch with a bottle of Rose'.  We'll wrap them in prosciutto with a hint of stilton stuffed inside or maybe just plain with a bit of honey drizzled on top. 

So when I stumbled across this recipe on Food52 I knew we'd like it.  I added pine nuts for some texture and if I'd had any prosciutto in the house I would have added it to the mix also.

This would be a great for a girls night in (or for your next mahjong party, mama).  I served this with a simple salad of mixed greens with my favorite vinaigrette.  Delicious.

My next house (wherever that may be) will definitely have a fig tree!

Here's the recipe:

Fig and Blue Cheese Tart with Honey, Balsamic and Rosemary

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 to 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed but still cool
1 pound figs
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon thick balsamic vinegar
1 to 2 tablespoon honey, depending on the sweetness of the figs (the darker and more flavorful the better)
1/3 cup firm blue cheese (I used Wisconsin, but go more intense if you like)

Preheat oven to 375°F.

With a mortar and pestle, bash a few sprigs of rosemary with olive oil. Set aside.

Using a bit of flour, roll out your dough until it’s about 1/4-inch thick. Since it’s a free form tart, any shape is fine. Make a pretty little border by folding over a 1/2-inch on each side (the tart gets a little drippy so it’s nice to have a dam).

Stem, halve, and arrange the figs cut-side up on the dough in any pattern (just make sure they’re tightly nestled). Using a pastry brush, generously paint the cut-side of each fig half with the rosemary oil. Sprinkle each fig with salt.

Drizzle balsamic and the honey all over, making sure each fig gets a little splash. Crumble cheese all over. Drape the bashed and oily rosemary stems anywhere you like on the tart.

Bake until crispy, brown, and bubbling (about 25 minutes). If the figs don’t get enough color, cover the edges of dough with tin foil and place tart under the broiler until desired color is reached. Cool for a few minutes. Eat.

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