I’ll be including plenty of gorgeous Italian recipes in classes this fall, and one of them is inspired by the air in this high spot of Tuscany, part of the Apuan alps, which smells like dessert. Walking along the lanes, climbing the trails, even cycling to the beach with cars whizzing by, the amber aroma of figs envelops in wafts that make me dream.

Lorenzo fig

I enlisted a helper, Lorenzo de Leo, to harvest figs along one of our trails. Fat, oozy with their honey and their sticky milk, we made short order of grabbing a few pounds, eating our fill along the way. When we got home, I turned them into this crostata which did them justice and then some.

IMG_1540

Crostata is a typical Italian dessert, simple and rustic, filled with the true flavor of the ingredients, like so many Italian dishes. There is no fuss or bother, just a simple pastry filled with gorgeous fruit.  You can get more recipes for crostata in my book, Italian Farmhouse.

Try to get your hands on some figs – they are nature’s honeyball and generally in season through September in the northern hemisphere  – and make this crostata.

You can use any seasonal fruit to make crostata, but right now and for the next month, I encourage you to use figs.

 

FIG CROSTATA

For the Pastry – Pasta Frolla
1-1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
7 tablespoons (105g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
½ cup vanilla sugar
Pinch of fine sea salt
Zest of 1 lemon, minced

For the Figs:
1-1/2 pounds (750g) green or black figs, hard stems trimmed
2 tablespoons vanilla sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons honey

  1. To make the pastry, place the flour on a work surface, make a well, and add the butter, the egg yolks, the sugar, the salt, and the lemon zest. Using your finger tips, mix these ingredients until they are thoroughly combined, then incorporate the flour by bringing it into the center with your fingers and gently mixing it with the wet ingredients. When you have crumbly but cohesive dough, form it into a round and let it sit, covered, at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F (200C).
  1. Divide the pastry into two-thirds and one-third. Refrigerate the smaller piece while you roll out the larger piece on a well-floured surface into a round that measures about 10-inches (21.5cm). If the dough is too soft to roll out, you may press it into a 9-1/2 inch, removable bottom tart pan, pressing it halfway up the sides.figs in pastry
  2. Cut 4 of the largest figs into rounds that are slighter thinner than ¼ of an inch and lay these in an even layer on the pastry. Sprinkle them with the 2 tablespoons of sugar. Quarter the remaining figs and arrange them in an attractive pattern atop the rounds of fig.hiding under pastry
  3. Roll out the smaller piece of pastry on a well-floured surface into about an 8-inch round, and cut the pastry into 14 strips of equal width. Working carefully because the pastry is tender, lay 7 strips atop the figs in one direction, leaving space between them, then 7 strips in the other direction, to create a criss-cross pattern. Don’t be concerned if you have to do some “mending” when the strips break, which they probably will. The mends will bake out.
  4. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of honey over the tart, transfer the pan to a baking sheet and bake in the center of the oven until the pastry is golden and baked through, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, drizzle with 1 to 2 tablespoons of honey and let cool.

Serves 8

 

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14 Responses to Fig Crostata

  1. Lindsay says:

    Susan this looks delicious! Would your classic tender tart pastry work with figs, also?

    • Susan says:

      Lindsay – it would work with pate sucree, but the pastry here is better for this kind of tart. It is delicious!

  2. Zahra Lee says:

    Hi. Do you use the egg whites also, or just the yolks for the dough? Thanks!

    • Susan says:

      Zahra,

      You use just the egg yolks, which makes it very tender. You can always try with an egg white if you like. It may be less friable.

  3. Robert says:

    FYI, your butter Tbsp to grams conversion is off …

  4. Johnny says:

    Looks fabulous! I am about to get baking, but I’m a bit puzzled by the butter quantity. If 8 tablespoons is equivalent to 113g how can 7 tablespoons equal 210g? Thanks!

    • Susan says:

      Johnny – you are quite right. The recipe is in error, grams-wise. I’ll fix it up – 7 tablespoons = 105g. Sorry for the error. My mistake.

  5. Celine says:

    My crust was very dry… Any suggestions?

    • Susan says:

      Celine – was it dry as you were mixing it up? What type of flour did you use? I need a bit more information and then I’ll try to figure out why your crust was dry!

  6. jo lynne lockley says:

    A few points. 1) why are the eggs separated? Are just the yolks in the pastry? It doesn’t appear to be the case.
    2) Why not process flour and butter in food processor first? 3) one assumes for those who do not reside in Dr Oetker country that vanilla paste or extract will suffice for vanilla sugar.

    • Susan says:

      Hello – you only use the egg yolks in the pastry; I’m sorry that’s not clear – I’ll see what I can do to clarify. As for vanilla sugar, just make your own. Put a vanilla bean in a bag/pot of sugar, let it sit for one week and VOILA! Good luck and happy baking.

  7. Alexis says:

    Susan
    I made this yesterday using peaches and cherries and it was incredible! The pastry was perfect of course!
    Thank you so much!

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