So it’s fig season, as I talked about in my last post. While the weather in February is not to my taste – hot and very humid – the month is a ripper for bountiful, beautiful fresh fruit. Apricots, yellow and white peaches, nectarines, blood plums, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, passionfruit and wonderful figs are ripe and plentiful.
Before I talk all things fruit, I need to acknowledge the awful weather conditions we are experiencing in NSW this summer, quite unprecedented. We have endured horrific bush fires and now floods. Absolutely devastating for the communities directly affected, but even here in Sydney we have had weeks of heat, sometimes extreme, and constant smoke haze. The recent floods last weekend (8 and 9 February) affected Sydney too. Torrential rain inundated Sydney. Living just 5 kms from the city, I narrowly avoided a flood in my house as the waters rose, filling my courtyard garden. All was well in the end.
So it is a credit to all those farmers who have managed to keep on producing our lovely summer fruit and veg through such times of trial, ensuring that we have been able to enjoy summer’s bounty. Thank you, we appreciate what you do to bring us your produce.
Here’s a big shout out to some places where I source my fruit:
Harris Farm Markets, which focuses on seasonality and has the best no waste approach to produce. They espouse the principle of “ugly fruit” – selling at a reduced price misshapen fruit and veg which is perfectly good to eat.
Of course there’s the wonderful Orange Grove Organic Markets, my local farmer’s market where everything is fresh and so delicious!
Having sung the praises of these two produce outlets, I should also mention that my local supermarket, Woolworths, has a pretty good range of seasonal fruit too.
Now to the recipe! This is SO easy! You can knock this together in under an hour. I call it a tart as it’s not quite a cake. You could bake it in a tart tin, but I prefer a small springform pan.
You could make this tart with figs, or stone fruit such as apricots or plums. Or bake it just with a swirl of chocolate hazelnut paste.
A note on chocolate hazelnut paste: this is a great addition to the tart, but it works perfectly well without it too.
I used an amazing product, acquired on my recent trip to Wellington, New Zealand – Fix and Fogg’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter. Utterly delicious and addictive!
Ferrero’s Nutella works really well too, and is pretty much available worldwide.
110g unsalted butter, softened
110g caster sugar
2 large free range eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
130g ground almonds
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons or to taste chocolate hazelnut paste
3-4 fresh figs
Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees C or 160 degrees C fan-forced. Grease an 18cm (7 inch) spring form pan, and line the base with a circle of baking paper.
Put the butter, caster sugar, eggs, ground almonds and vanilla into the bowl of a food processor, or you could use an electric mixer.
Blitz or mix the ingredients until you have a smooth paste with no lumps. Don’t over mix. Stir in the plain flour and baking powder.
Swirl a tablespoon of the chocolate hazelnut paste through the frangipane mixture. Halve the figs and place on top. Use as many or few of the available halves as you like – for some reason I liked 7!
Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Cool in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack. Dollop small teaspoonfuls of chocolate hazelnut paste into the cavities of the figs once the tart is completely cool.
Serve with cream or yoghurt and a little more chocolate hazelnut paste spooned over the top.