I recently got my hands on a giant box of fresh figs. I have never cooked with them before, I really have only seen them in jams and cookies, however I always loved their subtle sweetness. I am also smitten with how pretty these fruits are. Green skin with slight splashes of pink hide a rose interior. I’ve never worked with these fruits fresh, and to be honest, they are pretty boring looking once dried or cooked. These turned brown when baked, which lost all the pretty coloration. However they did become chewy, which gives a good texture to this dessert.
Since I didn’t have much experience with figs, I went to Pinterest to try to get an idea on what I could do and I found that tarts and galettes were the most popular choice. I have also never made a galette before, so I thought, well here’s a way to knock out two culinary experiences with one stone. The crust comes from the Smitten Kitchen, and I added an almond filling to make the galette a bit more substantial than just a fruit filling.
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- A stick butter, cut into centimeter sized cubes
- 1 cup ice cold water, only 1/4 cup will actually be used
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 3/4 cup ground almonds
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- 1 tablespoon dark rum
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
- 4-5 fresh figs, sliced
First, drop a couple ice cubes into the water. Set aside. Then in a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and salt.
Drop in the butter. Using a fork, start pressing the butter into the flour. Make quick, pushing movements. The goal here is to not make a dough by stirring, you are in a way, massaging the butter into the flour to make a sandy mixture. Move as quick as you can to ensure the butter doesn’t have a chance to warm and soften. Stop when you see pea sized bits of butter left, like in the picture. It doesn’t have to be even. In fact, you want it to be lumpy- those lumps of butter will create the flakey layers in your crust.
At this point, measure out 1/4 cup of the ice water and start mixing it into the mixture. Make sure any ice cube pieces are not included when you pour. Again, this will not be a stirring motion. You want to try to press the flour clumps into the water. Keep pressing until you get a uniform dough.
When the dough starts to pull together, use your hands to knead the ball a couple times to ensure it is fully combined. Then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
Mix together all the ingredients for the filling, except the figs, until combined. Set aside.
Once the dough is fully cooled, cut it into four pieces. Leave three of these pieces wrapped in the plastic, and return them to the fridge. You want to make the galettes one at a time, and having the coldest dough possible will make your life easier. I promise you. Take the quarter of the dough and push its corners with your hands until you attain a make-shift circular shape. Flour your work surface and your rolling pin, then start rolling the dough until it is about 1/4 an inch thick.
Take your almond filling and spread it in the center. Then spread your figs. You can move the figs in any shape you want, you can spiral them in a circle for example. However I wanted the almond filling to show, so I went in a line.
Fold and pleat the sides together and transfer the galette to a baking sheet lined with foil. Repeat the process for the last three pieces of crust dough.
Bake at 375 °F for 50 minutes to an hour until the crust is golden brown. The goal is for the bottom of the galettes to be opaque and cooked through. If the almond mixture browns too fast, cover the baking sheet with foil.
The smell of these baking in my kitchen was unimaginable. Something about a simple butter crust turns unbelievably nutty in the oven. These could be made the more traditional route with sliced pear, the pear almond tart is one of the most common French pastries I’ve ever seen. However, there’s nothing funner than cooking with a new ingredient. I embrace the fact that I am a baking nerd. Let me know what you guys try out with this recipe!