Monday, October 4, 2010

Figs: Part One ~ Fig, Mascarpone, and Goat Cheese Tartlets ~

The first fig dish I attempted was something I sort of made up. A little over a year ago when I first got into baking, I had tried making Claire Clark’s Gooseberry mascarpone tart from her book Indulge: 100 Perfect Desserts. It tasted great, but I had to use grapes since gooseberries were so expensive, and I poured too much of the cheese mixture into the tart before baking so it overflowed. Needless to say, it wasn’t a pretty dessert but it did taste good, and I certainly learned from it.

I thought making that tart but with fresh figs would be delicious. There were a lot of frangipane tart recipes using figs, but I’m not the biggest fan of that almond mixture, so I decided to experiment. As I was shopping for mascarpone cheese, I spotted some goat milk cream cheese and had to go for it. I’m not the biggest proponent of goat cheese but thought the tartness, offset a bit by the mascarpone cheese, would make for a creamy companion to the sweetness of the figs.

Let me tell you, I ended up right on that one! I also substituted lemons for the oranges in the original recipe, to decrease the sweetness of the dish. I blind baked the tart shells, was careful not to overfill it with the cheese mixture, and baked it until the filling was a bit set. Then I took them out and lined up the figs. One thing I learned from the grape/gooseberry experience was that the cheese mixture inflates and covers the fruit. I wanted the figs to stay visible so I thought this might work but it’s not like I had read it in a recipe so couldn’t be sure. It turned out how I wanted, although I can’t say for certain that had I not done that that I wouldn’t have achieved the same outcome. No matter, I can do another trial next time.

I should have made the tart shells a little thicker, and I still ended up overfilling some of them, but all in all they turned out pretty well. And it tasted just like I thought it would. Pat on the back for me. Win.

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