Fig & walnut tart with tamarind & maple syrup ice cream

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Preparation info

  • This will make

    1

    tart, large enough
    • Difficulty

      Easy

Appears in

Fusion: A Culinary Journey

Fusion

By Peter Gordon

Published 2010

  • About

The combination of figs and walnuts always makes me think of Turkey, as it produces some of the finest of both ingredients. On one of my first visits to Turkey we headed to a town called Gümüslük at the tip of the Bodrum Peninsula. Gümüslük is a fishing village which has been frequented by artists for years, but these days it has become something of a tourist mecca, which is always a shame but inevitable. However, the fish restaurants that line the small foreshore serve some of the best fish in the region and at one of these restaurants they also served a wonderful dessert of grilled walnuts and halva. It was literally sesame halva crumbled over walnut halves, sprinkled with a little sugar and water and then grilled. The walnuts were superb and the whole dish was inspiring. Back in Istanbul we bought the sweetest juiciest figs ever, and ate them with a walnut paste and kaymak - a rich buffalo-milk-type clotted cream - and my favourite ever dairy product.

Ingredients

  • 120 g butter, softened to room temperature
  • 120 g unrefined caster sugar, plus 1 tsp extra
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • pinch of salt
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) vanilla extract
  • 170 g lightly toasted walnut halves
  • 1 lined 24-26-cm fluted, loose-bottomed tart shell, not blind baked
  • 6 figs (they must be really ripe)

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl using a wooden spoon, or blitz them together in a food processor. Beat in the eggs, one at a time - the mixture may look like it has curdled, but don’t worry, it’ll come together. Sieve the flour, ginger and salt and stir this in. Mix in the vanilla. Reserve 12 walnut halves, finely chop the remainder and mix these in, then tip the filling into the uncooked tart shell and press it flat. Cut the figs in half lengthways and press them into the mixture then tuck the reserved walnut halves, which you’ve broken into two, in as well. Sprinkle the reserved sugar over the fig cavities.

Place the tart on a baking tray and bake in the lower centre of the oven for 50 minutes. The tart is ready when the rim of the pastry has turned the colour in the photograph. If for some reason your tart filling or fruit looks like it’s burning, then place a sheet of foil, the same size as the tart, on top.

Take from the oven and leave to cool on a cake rack before removing from the tin.

To Serve

Cut a wedge of tart and sit it on a plate with a scoop of ice cream on top. The tart can be eaten warm or at room temperature.

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