Oh, Ottolenghi. We’re singing the praises of this UK chef and restauranteur once again–because he make it so easy. This gorgeous tart is one of those recipes we know our readers will use right away. It will either provide the perfect solution for a harried hostess with a holiday party tonight or give a group of friends a little Instagram-fueled inspiration for this week’s girl’s night in.
We love featuring Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbooks. Every time he throws the world a few new pages, we do our best to get you a few insights on his latest recipes. His incredible cookbook, Jerusalem, still makes the perfect gift for foodie friends with wanderlust, and this barley and mushroom dish from his first, namesake cookbook is season-less and delicious.
Enjoy this recipe from Ottolenghi’s Plenty More, the follow up to his instant classic, Plenty, that had us all at hello with that pomegranate and eggplant-festooned cover!
The last time I had to make this fig and goat cheese tart was in front of two television cameras and amid the most dreadful of hay fever attacks. It was part of my Mediterranean Feast program and I was in a bakery in Tel Aviv. I soldiered on and managed to shoot the whole scene, with regular face- and nose-wiping intervals and not-so-charming snivels that were later masterfully edited out. More important, the pie looked and tasted fantastic. And if I could make it in that state, anyone can.
If you don’t have a stand mixer with a dough hook, or don’t want to make the yeasted pastry, it can be replaced with a commercial all-butter puff pastry sheet of similar dimensions.
Fig and Goat Cheese Tart
5 oz soft goat cheese
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
½ tsp grated orange zest
1 Tbsp chopped thyme leaves, plus extra leaves to garnish
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup ground almonds
12 ripe figs, cut in half lengthwise (about 1 1/3 lb)
1 Tbsp superfine sugar
1½ Tbsp lemon juice
For the yeasted pastry:
2 cups plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
¼ cup superfine sugar
1 tsp fast-acting yeast
grated zest of ½ lemon
2 eggs, beaten
5½ Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into ¾-inch cubes
sunflower oil, for brushing
First make the pastry. Place the flour, superfine sugar, yeast and lemon zest in a stand mixer and, using the dough hook attachment, stir everything together on low speed for 1 minute. Add the eggs and ¼ cup water and work for a few seconds on a low speed before increasing to medium and kneading for 3 minutes, until the dough comes together. Add ⅛ teaspoon salt and the butter, a few cubes at a time, until it all melts into the dough. Continue kneading on medium speed for about 10 minutes, until the dough is completely smooth, elastic, and shiny. You will need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times during and throw a small amount of flour on the sides of the bowl to prevent the dough from sticking. Place the dough in a large bowl brushed with sunflower oil, cover with plastic wrap, and leave in the fridge for at least half a day, preferably overnight. It will increase in volume but only by about one-fourth.
Place the goat cheese in a bowl with 4 teaspoons of the confectioners’ sugar, the orange zest, thyme, and three-quarters of the beaten eggs. Whisk until smooth and then stir in the almonds. Mix until you get a smooth consistency.
Lightly flour a clean work surface and roll out the pastry into an 11-inch square, ¼-inch thick. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the pastry around the rolling pin to help you transfer it to the baking sheet. Spread the goat cheese mixture on top, leaving a border of about ⅔ inch. Brush the remaining egg over the border.
Stand the figs on top of the mixture, placing them cut side up and slightly overlapping, as they will shrink when cooking. Sprinkle the superfine sugar over the figs, cover the tart with aluminum foil, and set aside in a warm place for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
Remove the foil and place the tart in the oven. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the figs are caramelized and the base of the pastry is golden brown.
Whisk the remaining confectioners’ sugar with the lemon juice. You want a thick, yet spreadable icing, so add a bit of juice or confectioners’ sugar as needed. Remove the tart from the oven and use a spoon to drizzle the icing over the figs. Sprinkle with the thyme leaves and eat warm or at room temperature.