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Fig Tart with Goat Cheese and Thyme

This recipe calls for black Mission figs, which have a thin, dark purple skin and reddish flesh that is exceptionally sweet. Because fresh figs are quite perishable, try to purchase them the day you plan to prepare the tart.

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into
     1-inch pieces
  • 1 to 2 Tbs. ice water

For the filling:

  • 10 oz. goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme
  • 1⁄8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 12 large black Mission figs, quartered lengthwise
  • Aged balsamic vinegar for serving
  • Honey for serving

Directions:

To make the pastry, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the flour and salt and beat on low speed for 15 seconds. Add the butter and continue beating until pea-size crumbs form, 30 to 45 seconds. Add the water 1/2 Tbs. at a time and continue beating, adding more water as needed, until the dough comes together.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press together to form a 5-inch disk. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 400°F.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness to fit a 9-inch square tart pan. Press the dough into the pan and trim the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang around the rim. Fold in the excess dough and press it into the sides so they are thicker than the bottom. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Line the pastry shell with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Place on a baking sheet and bake until the shell is set, about 20 minutes. Remove the weights and paper and continue baking until the shell is golden, about 5 minutes more. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

To make the filling, in a large bowl, whisk together the goat cheese, eggs, thyme, cayenne, salt and black pepper. Spread the cheese mixture in the tart shell. Arrange the figs on top, covering as much of the cheese as possible.

Bake until the tart is golden around the edges and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and honey.
Serves 9.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.