Well, how has your summer been, friends? Mine has felt like a whirlwind! I mean, didn’t school just end?? Didn’t I just plant my garden with hopes of plenty of delicious tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant?? Where did the time go?? I had plans of sharing some great recipes with you throughout July and August, but….. things got a little overwhelming around here…..just life in general, I guess.
When I finally sat down to work on a post, the software that my camera uses to import pictures to my computer, wouldn’t work. I tried several times, as well as uninstalling, re-installing, etc. It just would not cooperate! So…..I figured out another way to get my pics onto my laptop, edit them, and get them stored, ready to retrieve for the blog. Problem solved!! But, no!! When I tried to work on a post, the post editor let me type in a title and insert an initial picture, but that was it! No other typing would show up on the screen! I couldn’t even get my cursor to flash in the post section! Was this really happening? I was already feeling bad that it had been so long since I’d posted anything and now, just when I thought it was safe to jump back into my world of blogging….. another glitch! (If you’ve read my very first post, you know that I’m a far cry from a computer wiz……never taken any courses…….just kind of learn, by trial and error, as I go along. I’ve gleaned some knowledge from my kids and the hubby, when they feel they have the time to spare to teach a lowly computer rookie. My daughter and son-in-law have also jumped in to help at times. Besides that, I’m pretty much on my own.)
Well, after a little researching on Google, it seemed that the problem might be with the web browser I was using, so…………I changed to the recommended one (actually, my hubby changed it for me) and now, things seem to be working fine…..so far. ( Note to self: Not a good idea to ask husband for help with computer problems while he is in the middle of watching Fox News.)
O.k. …..now that I’ve explained the reasons for my absence and vented some of my frustrations, let’s get to the recipe for today, shall we? If you’ve read this post, you know how I feel about figs. They’re sweet and delicious, whether fresh or dried, and I love finding new recipes using them. This tart uses fig preserves, as well as pine nuts, which are also common in Italian cooking/baking. They are actually the edible seeds of pines and there are about 20 species that can be harvested for us to eat! Pine nuts are called “pinoli” in Italian or “pignoli” in the U.S. The word we use here, in the states, is actually an Italian word used more commonly to describe a fussy and very meticulous person. Hmmmm……I knew I liked that word.
Fig and Pine Nut Tart
1/2 cup butter, at room temp.
1/2 cup plus 2 tblsp. powdered sugar
3 egg yolks
1 cup plus 2 tblsp. ground almonds
1 egg white
1 cup plus 2 tblsp. pine nuts
1 prepared pie crust for a 9″ tart pan (in Italy, this would be made with a heavier crust, called pasta frolla)
OR 1/2 the recipe for pasta frolla, that follows
1/2 cup fig preserves or jam
Whipped cream, for serving (opt.)
(makes 2 rounds for 8, 9, or 10″ tart pan)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tblsp. sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 tblsp. butter, in tiny squares, kept cold
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2-3 tblsp. cold white wine
The first thing you’ll want to do is prepare the crust. Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse 2-3 times. Then sprinkle the butter pieces over the flour and pulse 5 times, until it looks like coarse meal. Combine the egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and 2 tblsp. of the wine in a small bowl. Then, with the processor running, pour the mixture into the feed tube. Stop as soon as the dough gathers on top of the blade. If it seems too dry, add the remaining wine. Do not let the pastry form a ball or it will become tough. Knead it, by hand, slightly on a lightly floured surface, just to bring it together and to remove any stickiness. Cut it in half, wrap one half in plastic, and refrigerate. Pat the other half into a buttered 9″ tart pan, cover with plastic, and chill it for at least an hour.
Take the dough out of the fridge and, now, start working on the filling.
Place the pine nuts in a skillet over medium heat until they’re slightly golden, 3-4 minutes, stirring most of the time. Keep your eye on them; don’t walk away.
Cream the butter and sugar together until they look pale.
Beat in the yolks, one at a time, with the ground almonds, until everything is incorporated. Add the egg white and mix until thoroughly blended.
Fold the toasted pine nuts into the egg mixture, using a rubber spatula.
Carefully spread the fig preserves onto the bottom of the pastry.
Pour and evenly spread the nut mixture over the preserves. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let the tart cool for 10-15 minutes and then remove the side of the pan by pushing up from below. Leave the tart on the base of the pan. Cool and place on a serving plate. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with whipped cream, if you like. (Note: I actually enjoyed this tart chilled)
*recipe from A Cook’s Tour of Italy by Joe Famularo
For printable recipe, click here.