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Fresh Fig Tart with Orange Flower Custard

Before the last of the season’s lush fresh figs disappear from the markets, I wanted to share one more “figgy” recipe with you.   This Fresh Fig Tart with Orange Flower Custard is one of my favorites.  The custard is  light and creamy, thanks to the addition of crème fraîche, and subtly laced with the heady, floral scent of orange flower water.   For the crust, I like to use a variation of Dorie’s Sweet Tart Dough [1], swapping out some of the regular flour with almond flour.  I love the flavor and slightly crumbly texture of this crust, and I think it pairs really well with the earthy flavors of the figs and orange flower water.  And, I also love that it can simply be pressed into the tart pan, eliminating the need for rolling.  That alone shaves off a couple of hours in prep time.   In fact, everything about this tart is simple and casual – with a side order of elegant.

As I mentioned, the custard filling for this tart is made with crème fraîche.  It’s not at all what I would consider a traditional custard.  Aside from the inclusion of the crème fraîche, this version only requires two egg yolks, as opposed to the several in most other recipes.  Not only that, but this custard base is simply whizzed up in a blender before being poured into the tart shell.  How easy is that?  There is no cooking, tempering or thickening involved, which means less chance for anything going wrong.   It also means a lighter, brighter filling that accentuates the flavor of the fresh figs, instead of overtaking it. 

Any variety of figs will work in this tart, but I decided to go with a combination of inky, black mission and muted chartreuse kadota figs.   I find that mission figs are juicy and meaty, while kadotas have a more delicate flavor and texture.  The contrast is nice.  They also look very pretty  lying side by side together in the tart.

While whipping up the dough for this tart takes very little time and effort, you can certainly use a store bought crust if you prefer.  But, unless you live in France, where you can buy fabulous, all butter, premade tart shells at le supermarché, I urge you to try your hand ant making this one.  It’s not only easy, but it just tastes better.

So, before your thoughts begin turning to apples and pumpkins and other Autumnal delights, treat yourself to this lovely fresh fig tart – while you still can.