Tuesday, September 05, 2006

fallen pleasures

Fig/Raspberry tart, August 2006.

While I sit and listen to Ernest the puppy sneeze thirteen times in a row (yoghurt up the nose?) I am hearing TH sigh happily as she finishes her piece of fig raspberry tart. My first exposure to such a beast was in June 1992 when I flew to Berkeley after TH's mother died. While I never had the honor of meeting her, that day began a seven year relationship with her father that started with a meal at Chez Panisse and continued on with love of food, bassets, landscape history, France and geography and his daughter to bind us.

I had only heard of Chez Panisse before that day and that meal upstairs was very good. I can't remember what my main course was, but the dessert was a fig tart with raspberries and lavender honey ice cream was memorable. I have made it for the last fourteen and change years. The recipe is simple and elegant and brings back memories of a more innocent time with a start of a great relationship.

Fig tart with Raspberries (adapted from Chez Panisse Desserts, 1984.)

One lb puff pastry (thawed - I use delaurenti's and one lb is the right amount). Pepperidge farm will do as well. One sheet.
3/4 pint fresh figs (mission, but if you have kadota, why not mix it up?)
1 cup fresh raspberries
3 T raspberry eau de vie or cointreau
2 T sugar
one egg yolk mixed with 1 T milk for egg wash

Preheat oven to 375 deg. F

Rinse figs, cut off tops, cut into quarters, macerate in a mixture of eau de vie and sugar. Add raspberries.

Roll or fold out pastry, score the ends and sides and fold over so you have an edge. Place figs with cut sides up in rows (overlapping if you can) and sprinkle the raspberries on top. Wash the edges of the tart with egg wash.

Place in oven for 20-25 minutes or until puff pastry starts to brown and figs are softened but still hold their shape.

Serve with lavender honey ice cream, vanilla ice cream or on its own.


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