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RECIPE: FIG, GOAT’S CHEESE & BACON TART

Full of minerals and vitamins, figs are the ultimate late summer super food. Sweet with a fruity-floral flavour, figs have a particular affinity with the salty tang of goat’s cheese. For a simple appetiser, cut a cross into the top of a fig, push a nugget of goat’s cheese inside, drizzle with a fruity olive oil and bake until the cheese has a golden tinge.

For a more substantial dish, try this recipe for a fig, goats cheese and bacon tart. Homemade pastry is far superior to the pre-made stuff, but it takes practice. Sift 250g of plain flour into a large bowl and rub in 125g of diced cold butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add a pinch of salt, 1 beaten egg and 3 tablespoons of cold water. Knead the dough lightly (don’t overwork it), wrap it in cling film and refrigerate for 30 mins.

Lightly flour your work surface and roll the pastry in one direction. Rotate it 90 degrees and roll again. Repeat until you have an even 5mm thickness. Lay the pastry over a buttered tart tin, push into the sides and trim, leaving a 1cm excess. Don’t pinch it over the sides as it will shrink during cooking. Prick the base with a fork and refrigerate for 20 mins. Cover with greaseproof paper, fill with baking beans and bake at 180°C for 20 mins. Remove the beans and paper and bake for 5 mins. Then, brush the hot pastry with egg wash and bake for a further 2 mins, this forms a seal to keep the pastry crisp when you add the filling.

Fig, goat’s cheese and bacon tart

  • Prep Time 25
  • Cook Time 40
  • Serves 8

Ingredients

1 cooked pastry case (see above)
350ml double cream
150ml milk
5 eggs
aromatics (bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns and rosemary)
a generous pinch of salt
6 figs, sliced
6 rashers streaky bacon, cut into lardons and sautéed
250g goat’s cheese, grated
1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram
Pre-heat the oven to 170°C
Bring the cream, milk, salt and aromatics to a simmer and pass through a sieve
Scatter half the figs, marjoram, bacon and cheese into the pastry case
Pour in enough of the custard to almost fill the tart
Scatter over the remaining figs, marjoram, bacon and cheese
Carefully place in the oven. Top up with the custard and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the filling has set and the top has a lovely golden hue
Rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving

By Guy Awford

Guy Awford is chef-patron of insiderestaurant.co.uk, theguildfordarms.co.uk and handmadefood.com 

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