Fig Tart (Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall)

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's fig recipes
Almonds and figs go wonderfully together in this tart. Serves eight.

For the crust
350g plain flour, sifted
A pinch of salt
175g unsalted butter, plus a little more for greasing the tin
100g icing sugar, sifted
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
Zest of a lemon

For the filling
200g unsalted butter, softened
200g caster or vanilla sugar, plus 2 tbsp extra
4 eggs, lightly beaten
250g ground almonds
50g plain flour
12-14 figs, top of the stems trimmed, cut lengthways into quarters or eighths, depending on size
Icing sugar, for dusting (optional)

To make the pastry, pulse together the flour, salt and butter in a food processor until they resemble coarse breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, then the egg yolks and lemon zest, and pulse until just combined and pulling away from the edge of the bowl – add a splash of iced water only if necessary. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least an hour.

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Lightly grease a deep, loose-bottomed, 28cm flan tin and coarsely grate in the pastry. Press the pastry evenly into the sides and base. Chill for 15 minutes. Line with greaseproof paper and baking beans or dried pulses, and blind bake for 20 minutes. Remove the paper and beans, and bake for five to 10 minutes longer, until the base is dried and slightly golden. Leave the shell to cool, and turn down the oven to 150C/300F/gas mark 3.

To make the filling, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a separate bowl, whisk together the almonds and flour. Beat the almond mixture into the butter mixture.

Spread the almond mix over the base of the cooled tart. Press in the figs in concentric circles, nestling their bottoms into the almond mixture so they point upwards. Sprinkle over remaining sugar. Bake for an hour to 75 minutes, until the centre is set and the tart is puffed up and golden. Dust with a little icing sugar, if you like, and serve warm or cold.

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