Rustic Fig Tart with Walnuts, Blue Cheese and Tasmanian Leatherwood Honey

Sweet figs and slightly bitter walnuts are married with salty, tangy blue cheese and complex honey.

Fresh winter fruits are few and far between. Thankfully, dried figs are great any time of year. In this rustic tart, sweet figs and slightly bitter walnuts are married with salty, tangy blue cheese and the amazingly complex Tasmanian Leatherwood honey. Today’s menu is low-key and low-stress. If you work hard to make this tart look perfect, you’ve done it wrong.

Serves | 8 |

Pastry

  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp turbinado sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 stick cold butter, chopped into 16 equal pieces
  • 3 Tbsp cold water

Tart

  • 8 oz dried figs, chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • ½ cup + 2 Tbsp port wine
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp turbinado sugar, divided
  • 1 cup walnuts, preferably Missouri black walnuts
  • 4 oz blue cheese
  • 4 oz Tasmanian Leatherwood honey*

| Preparation – Pastry | In a small bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter, a large-tined fork or a food processor on the pulse setting, cut the cold butter into the flour until it resembles coarse sand with a few pea-sized pieces of butter still visible. Sprinkle the cold water onto the mixture and toss gently a few times, just until it forms a ball that holds together. Flatten slightly into a thick disc, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for several hours before working with it.

| Preparation – Tart | Place figs and ½ cup port wine in a medium saucepan. Add just enough water to barely cover and bring to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the figs to macerate for 20 minutes. Drain figs and pat dry with paper towels.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Melt butter in a pan over medium-high heat and stir in the figs and granulated sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, until figs begin to caramelize. Add remaining port wine. Cook, stirring frequently, for an additional 4 to 5 minutes. The fig filling is ready when it has thickened but not dried out. Let cool.

Roll the dough between two sheets of waxed paper into a 12- to 13-inch round. (It’s fine if the edges are slightly ragged and misshapen, but form as even a circle as possible.) Place the dough round on a piece of parchment paper or a Silpat and transfer to a cookie sheet or rimmed sheet pan.

Sprinkle the surface of the dough with 1 Tbsp turbinado sugar. Add walnuts to the fig mixture and spread in the center of the rolled dough, leaving a 2½- to 3-inch rim at the edge of the dough.

Fold the edges of the dough to create an overlapping border around the tart. You can use a flexible palette knife or small offset metal spatula to lift the dough up slightly and partially over the mound of figs. Make a few pleats in the border as necessary. The center portion of figs will be exposed. Sprinkle remaining turbinado sugar on top of the folded-over dough. Bake for 45 minutes or until the pastry is set and golden-brown. Cool on the baking pan on a wire rack before serving.

| To Serve | Slice the tart into 8 wedges and plate individually. Sprinkle each wedge with ½ oz blue cheese and drizzle with ½ oz honey.

* Tasmanian Leatherwood honey has a distinct flavor and is available at The Wine Merchant, 20 S. Hanley Road, Clayton, winemerchantltd.com. Good-quality clover honey can be substituted.

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