We’re in the midst of fig season here in France and I’m loving it. Without a doubt they’re one of my favourite fruits and as we’re relative newbies here only in our second fig season they still feel rather decedent and exotic. Sadly we’re the only people I know of without a single fig tree in the garden so I have to rely on friends and a couple of our holiday home neighbours’ trees to feed my indulgence. I really must get around to planting our own trees next spring.
Last Saturday we were happily invited to my friend Debbie’s house for a spot of fig picking and horsey riding for Francesca. Five kilos later we came home (not counting the umpteen in our tummies). I’m afraid to say I put most of them in the freezer to make into jam when I’ve a little more time on my hands than this week. The rest were made into several batches of these gorgeous wee Fig, Goats Cheese & Red Onion Tartlets and a fabulous Fig & Pear Crumble (which I shall be blogging shortly too).
Master J adores his figs too, though they’re not the choicest of foods for a lad going through potty training. Last Autumn I took my daily walk with Jacques-on-my-back past one particular fig tree which he’d scream at as we got closer, screaming for me to pick him some. Funny at first, but the screaming carried on for the subsequent four months until well into January and there was snow on the ground, and each time with me painstakingly trying to explain the figs were all gone and he’d have to wait until next September. Anyway at least September’s come around again and he’s one very happy wee (and exceptionally regular) chappie. And a happy chappie with a few more words than last year, namely ‘Mummy pick fig NOW!’.
Anyway enough fig talk, on with the tarts, or tartlettes if I want to be really posh. I made several batches of these last year too, and always a success. The sweetness of the figs and balsamic caramalised red onions is cut through with a little sharpness from the goats cheese and the savory notes of thyme and addition of black pepper to the pastry. Perfect for parties and buffets, or as a nibble served with pre-dinner drinks or a starter with a few dressed leaves on the side. Admittedly they’re a tad on the fiddly side but can be made in large batches and handily frozen. And so well worth the effort.
I’m going for my first ever trio of bloggie competitions with this recipe, so keep on in there while I detail them all. Firstly, I was very pleased to see September’s One Ingredient Challenge is the Fig, a wonderful competition held jointly by Laura at How to Cook Good Food and Nazima at Working London Mummy (this month is Laura’s turn).
As thyme is such a crucial ingredient to my tarts I’m also entering Karen at Lavender and Lovage’s Herbs on Saturday Challenge (again I know, but it’s such a lovely competition!)
And last but most certainly not least my tarts are also entering Ren Behan’s Fabulicious Food Simple and in Season Competition, this month hosted by Katie at Feeding Boys and a Firefighter.
Phew, that’s a whole lot of competitions, now on with the recipe!
Fig, Goats Cheese & Red Onion Tarts
Makes 24 mini tartlets:
For the Pastry:
200g of plain flour, plus a little extra for rolling
100g of butter, cut into small blocks, straight from the fridge
100g of hard vegetable fat, cut into small blocks, straight from the fridge
a teaspoon of coarsely ground black pepper
a generous pinch of salt
an egg yolk
For the Tarts:
3 tablespoons of olive oil
3 red onions, very finely sliced
2 dessertspoons of balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper
12 to 15 very ripe figs (about 320g)
150g of goats cheese (preferably in a log shape)
a few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed
a little more extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
2 small x12 tart or fairy cake tins
Start with making your pastry. I use a food processor for speed but you can make it by hand too. If you’re using a processor place all the ingredients (bar the egg yolk) in the bowl and whiz until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and continue to whiz. When it starts to come together in a ball it’s ready, add a few drops of very cold water until this happens. Remove from the processor and shape together. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before using.
If you’re making the pastry by hand place all the ingredients (bar the egg yolk) together in a mixing bowl. Rub the fat into the flour with your hands until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk splash and mix into the flour and fat with your hands, trying to bring it all together. When it comes together in a ball it’s ready. You may also need to add a few drops of water for this to happen. Wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 190ºC (gas mark 5, 375ºF).
Whilst the pastry’s resting make your filling. Heat the oil in a saucepan on a gentle heat. Add the finely sliced onions and cook slowly for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring regularly, until very soft. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and a pinch each of salt and ground black pepper. Allow to bubble for a minute or two before setting aside to cool.
Meanwhile cut each of the figs into 6 segments, and cut the goats cheese into 24 thin rounds.
Roll out the pastry on a floured surface as thinly as you can, to a one to two millimeter thickness. Cut into rounds with a 8cm diameter pastry cutter (or like me an upturned thin wine glass – every time I make tarts I curse myself for not having a correct sized cutter!). Re-work the leftover pastry until you have 24 pastry rounds.
Lay the rounds in the two tart or cake tins and press down lightly. Place a small teaspoon of the red onions at the bottom of each, followed by a slice of the goats cheese, a scattering of thyme leaves. Finally place three fig segments on the top of each, plus a fine grinding of black pepper and the merest drizzle of olive oil.
Place in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the pastry’s golden brown and crisp.
How about trying my other tart recipes? A couple of Tomato Tarts or Leek & Goats Cheese Tart.
September 19th, 2012 at 3:28 pm
What a delicious and totally seasonal savoury tart recipe. You have had a result in receiving so many figs from your neighbours. I tried my 3 with figs and they far prefer them dried than fresh. I think it’s the seeds they find a little strange. But, I will keep on persisting. I like the sound of making jams and a crumble with the rest and look forward to reading all about them too!
Thanks for entering One Ingredient xxx
September 22nd, 2012 at 8:42 am
Thanks Laura. My daughter’s not too keen on them either, unlike the rest of us. Nor are quite a few people, and I really don’t get why not! A heavenly fruit in my book, but best eaten very fresh and very ripe.
September 20th, 2012 at 10:07 pm
I too, am LOVING my fig tree, and it has borne us QUITE a big bounty this year, and we have enjoyed them with salads and cheese, as well as in tarts and also bread……a super entry into Herbs on Saturday thanks! Karen
September 22nd, 2012 at 8:44 am
Figs are such a wonderful fruit aren’t they, sweet or savoury 🙂
September 21st, 2012 at 11:19 am
These look good! I love figs with goat’s cheese – adding red onions and thyme can only make the combination even better.
September 22nd, 2012 at 8:47 am
Thank you, figs and goats cheese are a wonderful combo…but then I’m a bit of a goats cheese fiend!
September 26th, 2012 at 11:01 am
Mmmmm these look highly scoffable! I think they’d be brilliant for a lunch party – especially as a decent veggie option 🙂 Thanks for linking up.
September 26th, 2012 at 2:06 pm
Definitely perfect for a lunch party. I served them last week at my daughter’s birthday party as a little nibble for the mums and dads. They freeze really well too which is always handy.
October 2nd, 2012 at 3:01 pm
[…] Chez Foti – Fig, Goats Cheese & Red Onion Tarts – “Last Saturday we were happily invited to my friend Debbie’s house for a spot of […]
October 2nd, 2012 at 7:31 pm
I love anything with figs and these look really delicious!
October 4th, 2012 at 1:18 pm
Thanks Katherine, me too, I’m a big lover of figs and don’t really get why so many people aren’t?!
October 5th, 2012 at 4:07 pm
I made something very similar, but with puff pastry and chocolate balsamic and they were delicious, so I know that I would happily wolf down your tarts too – given half the chance.
October 6th, 2012 at 12:13 am
Hi Louisa, this looks delightful. I do like mini tartlets like this and a perfect flavour combination. Great photos too. I have moved my blog from Working London Mummy to here and the October challenge is Pumpkin and Squash. x
October 8th, 2012 at 11:44 am
Thanks Nazima. Love the new blogsite, and really looking forward to the new Squash & Pumpkin challenge. I’m going to start picking mine in the next few days! Louisa
October 26th, 2012 at 9:05 am
[…] in France Chez Foti has been making these beautiful little fig, goats cheese and red onion tarts after a spot of fig picking at a friend’s house. Perfect for parties and buffets, or as a […]
August 3rd, 2013 at 11:34 am
Such a lovely blog! May I ask for the freezing instructions? Can these be made into medium sized tarts – so could be starters rather than amuse bouche?