Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Roasted Fig and Mascarpone Tarts

Fig season is at hand! I've been wanting to buy figs for awhile now but the price tag (usually at least $5 for a basket) kept me at bay.
So imagine my delight when I found a basket of figs for just $2! They looked ripe...


As it turns out, I know nothing about figs. I bought a two-dollar pint basket of LIES.

How figs look on the outside isn't as important as how they feel - they should be heavy and squishy and almost bursting with figgy goodness. Although I will point out that the "NO SQUEEZING THE [Figs, Avocados, Tomatoes]" signs at the farmer's market can really make it impossible to get properly ripe produce.

Anyway! So, what do I do when I want to enhance the flavor of something? Roast it. And so, my sort-of-unripe fig tarts turned into Roasted Fig Tarts...and Huzzah, they actually turned out delicious! The sweet, jammy, roasted fig contrasted beautifully with the creamy mascarpone filling, which was given a little tang from a meyer lemon and some sour cream. My only other cheat? I used frozen puff pastry shells. SO KILL ME.

Roasted Fig and Mascarpone Tarts

First, I cut the little top stem off the figs, and quartered them.
The one on the far left is oozing latex! Yes, unripe figs gush with latex. Sry for poisoning you, Nate!

Then, I melted together about 2T unsalted butter and 1T honey...
What's that? You are jealous of my fine china? I GUESS I CAN'T BLAME YOU!
 I put the figs in a baking dish...

And brushed them with the honey butter mixture. I also drizzled over some homemade vanilla-plum infused brandy that I've had sitting in the cupboard forever.

I roasted the figs in a 425­° oven for about 25 minutes, or until they were soft and fragrant.



The honey/butter/brandy melted into a totally delicious glaze. I scooped the figs and the glaze into a bowl, then set them in the fridge to chill.

While the figs were cooking I prepared the puff pastry.

Follow the instructions on the box, gently remove the crispy pastry circle that pops up in the middle of each shell, and BAM, you have puff pastry tart shells. Now, usually I'm one of those annoying people who goes on and on about how it's really not that difficult to make dough from scratch. But when it's 84° in your kitchen, working with a butter pastry is really the last thing you want to be doing.

I set aside the tart shells and let them cool.

In the meantime, I made the fluffy filling. I just whisked together 8oz of mascarpone cheese, 1/4 cup sour cream, honey to taste, and I added 1/2 the juice of a meyer lemon for a little kick. 

 I put the filling into a sandwich bag, snipped off the corner, and piped the filling into the now-cooled pastry shells.

 Then, I topped the filling with an artfully smooshed leaning-tower-of-figs.

So, next time I will know what to look for (or feel for (surreptitiously) (is this starting to sound dirty?)) when I buy figs. But overall, I think this ~maiden voyage~ was a success! Saucy caramelized figs on a creamy bed of mascarpone, the shattering of crisp, flaky layers of buttery puff pastry punctuating each bite...YUM!

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