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Fig Tart with Amaretti Crust

In this recipe, crushed amaretti cookies bring their almond essence as well as a crispness to a simple press-in tart dough, and aniseed adds hints of licorice. The filling showcases plump, honeyed figs flavored with orange liqueur and fragrant orange zest.

Ingredients:

  • 4 dried figs, preferably sulfite free, chopped
  • 3 Tbs. Grand Marnier
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
  • 3/4 cup whole amaretti cookies
  • 1 tsp. aniseed
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 7 Tbs. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 to 5 Tbs. ice water
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
  • 1/2 lb. fresh black Mission figs (about 8 figs), cut lengthwise into quarters

Directions:

Put the dried figs in a small bowl. Pour the Grand Marnier over the figs and let stand for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

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

In a food processor, combine the 1 1/4 cups flour, the amaretti cookies, aniseed and salt and process until the amaretti are finely ground. Add the butter and pulse until the butter pieces are no larger than small peas. Drizzle 4 Tbs. of the ice water over the flour mixture and pulse to combine. Squeeze a small piece of dough; if it doesn’t hold together, add 1 Tbs. more ice water and pulse to combine.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead a few times, just until it comes together, then pat into a disk. Dip your fingertips in flour and press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch square fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Use the bottom of a metal measuring cup dipped in flour to smooth and even out the dough. Press off any excess dough from around the edges of the pan. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork and bake until just beginning to color, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F.

In a blender, combine the dried figs and Grand Marnier, the cream, the 1/3cup sugar and the orange zest and blend until the dried figs are broken into tiny bits. Put the fresh figs in a bowl, sprinkle with the 1 Tbs. sugar and toss to coat. Arrange the fresh figs, cut sides up, in the tart shell. Place the tart on a rimmed baking sheet and pour the cream mixture over the top.

Bake the tart until the filling jiggles very slightly, about 30 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Remove the tart from the pan, slice and serve. Serves 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Desserts, by Raquel Pelzel (Oxmoor House, 2008).