Nut and fig tart with brandy
Nötpaj med cognacsfikon
Brandied figs and nuts, blended with a little chocolate, make a superb filling for a tart. The tart is so good it can be served cold with nothing more than a small dollop of lightly whipped cream.
Nut and brandied figs can be enjoyed at any time of year, but is perhaps at its best as a Christmassy dessert or for a New Year celebration.
The recipe has been adapted from Mat Magasinet (The Food Magazine), one of my favourite Swedish magazines. The main change I have made to the original recipe is to marinate the figs in brandy for a short time, which I think gives them a little bit more flavour, but you can simply pour the brandy over the figs just before baking if you prefer. John Duxbury
• You can use any mixture of nuts that you like. I prefer equal amounts of hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds and Brazils, but you choose.
• This tart keeps very well so it can be baked a day in advance if that is more convenient.
|350 g||(12 oz)||mixed nuts, shelled weight|
|190 g||(¾ cup)||caster (superfine) sugar|
|100 g||(3½ oz)||dark chocolate, roughly chopped|
|200 g||(7 oz)||egg whites, from about 6 large eggs|
|160 g||(1¼ cups)||plain (all-purpose) flour|
|3 tbsp||caster (superfine) sugar|
|100 g||(7 tbsp)||butter, cut into small cubes|
1. Remove the stalks from the figs, halve, place in a bowl and pour the brandy over them. Leave the figs to marinate in the brandy for an hour or so, stirring occasionally to ensure they all get their share of the brandy!
2. To make the pastry, put the flour and 3 tablespoons of caster sugar in a food processor and give a quick whizz to mix.
3. Add the cubes of butter and whizz for 10-15 seconds until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
4. Add the egg yolk and whizz for 20—30 seconds until the mixture forms a ball. (If the dough is too crumbly, add half a teaspoon of cold water.) Transfer the dough to a fridge for 20 minutes or so to rest.
5. Roll the pastry out and use it to line a 24 cm (9") loose bottomed flan tin (pan). Don't worry if it breaks, just use your fingers to spread the pastry over the base and up the sides of the tin (pan), using up all the pastry. Return the pastry to the fridge to chill for another 20 minutes or so.
6. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F, gas 6, fan 180°C).
7. Add half the nuts and the chocolate to a food processor and whizz until finely ground and then transfer to a bowl.
8. Coarsely chop the remaining nuts and add to the bowl with the rest of the nuts. (Brittle nuts, for example walnuts, are best crushed by hand.)
9. Add the egg whites to the nut and chocolate filling and and mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture into the pastry case.
10. Add the fig halves to the tart, cut side up. Drizzle any remaining brandy marinade over the figs and then bake for 30 minutes.
11. Serve the tart warm or cold with whipped cream.
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