Roasted Fig Tartlets
Prized since ancient times, figs marry well with countless flavors, including the cinnamon- and vanilla-infused port syrup in these tartlets. Spoon the fruit atop a tangy creme fraiche filling and you'll instantly understand why the Romans were so enthralled.
- Yield: Makes 8
Source: Martha Stewart Living, August 2007
For the Dough
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons ice water
For the Filling
- 6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 6 ounces (3/4 cup) creme fraiche
- 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
For the Roasted Figs
- 1 cup ruby port
- 3 star anise
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 2 strips orange zest (3 inches long and 1 inch wide), plus zest curls for garnish
- 1/4 cup granuated sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 vanilla beans, halved lengthwise
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh Black Mission figs (about 24), halved lengthwise
Make the dough: Pulse flour, granulated sugar, salt, and egg yolk in a food processor until combined. Add butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. With machine running, gradually add ice water, and process until dough comes together. Divide in half, and shape into disks. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate 30 minutes (or up to 3 days).
Make the filling: Beat cream cheese with a mixer until fluffy. Beat in creme fraiche and confectioners' sugar until smooth. (Filling can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 day; bring to room temperature before using.)
Roast the figs: Preheat oven to 350. Combine port, anise, cinnamon, peppercorns, zest, granulated sugar, and honey in a roasting pan. Use the tip of a paring knife to scrape vanilla seeds into port mixture, then add pods. Add figs, and turn to coat. Roast, basting once, until figs are soft and liquid is syrupy, about 45 minutes. Let cool. (Figs and syrup can be refrigerated up to one week.)
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick. Using a 4-inch fluted tartlet pan turned upside down as a guide, cut out 8 rounds. Fit dough into tartlet pans. Prick bottoms with a fork. Place shells on a rimmed baking sheet, and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Bake tartlet shells until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer molds to a wire rack. Let cool completely.
Spoon 2 tablespoons filling into each shell. Top with figs, and drizzle with syrup. Garnish with orange zest. (Tartlets can be refrigerated for up to one hour.) Remove molds and serve immediately.