My little fig tree has been with me through hell and high water. Well three house moves and several very hot summers in a negligently small pot.N
ow it is enjoying its retirement on a south-facing brick wall and is finally getting the annual pruning it deserves. Consequently we have been rewarded with succulent, juicy, fragrant figs.
MLH says that almost any dish can be improved with the addition of double cream or goat’s cheese and figs are the natural ying to the cheese yang.
- 170g plain four
- pinch of salt
- 55g butter
- 25g lard
- 1 tbsp thyme leaves
- 50ml cold water
- 3 large red onions
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 5 fresh figs
- 23cm fluted flan tin
Sift the flour into a bowl with the salt. Cut the butter and lard into cubes and rub into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix in the thyme leaves. Add the water a little at a time while gently combining it with the “breadcrumbs” until a dough is formed and the bowl is clean. Do not add too much water – you may not need the whole 50ml. The dough should just hold together. Roll out and line the tin. Chill in the fridge for half an hour.
Heat the oven to 200C, gas mark 6. Finely slice the onions and sweat down in a frying pan on a gentle heat until they are very soft but not browned. Add the sugar and continue to cook until they are sticky and caramelised. This can take up to half an hour so be patient! Season with a little salt and remove from the heat.
Line the pastry with greaseproof paper and dried beans and bake blind for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and bake for a further five minutes until the pastry is just golden. Fill the pastry case with the onions. Slice the figs and arrange on top with the goat’s cheese. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes. Scatter with fresh thyme leaves and serve warm.
A lower MLH "Wow!" Factor rating, because he's convinced it's really a "quiche in disguise"... !