It’s the end of summer and with it comes an incredibly sweet fruit, the pulp soft and chewy - I’m talking about figs!
This fruit held an important mythological and religious meaning for many ancient civilizations living all around the Mediterranean Sea - including Ancient Rome. According to the legend, Romulus and Remus were abandoned in a cradle that was carried away by the river Tiber. It came to a stop where a fig tree stood and, below its branches, the two brothers found shade and shelter while the she-wolf would suckle them.
Figs are a very versatile fruit that can be used as part of both sweet and savory dishes. They are a great source of fiber to protect your intestine’s health and they are good for your bones too, being full of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
Today, I would like to show you how to make a super sexy “crostata” (Italian tart) filled with some beautifully delicious fig jam. Here is the list of ingredients!
For the pastry:
- 1.06 cups (240g) butter
- 0.60 cups (120g) sugar
- 3 ¾ cups (400g) pastry flour
- 1 small egg (approx. 50g)
- 1 teaspoon of rum
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla flavoring
- the zest of 1 lemon
- a pinch of salt
For the jam:
- 3 ¼ cups (500g) figs
- 1 ⅕ cups (250g) sugar
- the zest of 1 lemon
- the juice of ½ lemon
For the egg wash:
- 1 egg
Let’s start by making the pastry.
Firstly, take the butter out of the fridge 5 minutes before starting the preparation. In a bowl, put your sugar together with the grated zest of a lemon, rum, honey, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Then, cut your butter into small dices and add them into the same bowl. Now it’s time to knead all these ingredients until you get a sexy and smooth consistency.
At this point, incorporate the egg and the flour as well. Keep kneading until these ingredients are completely absorbed. Remove the dough from the bowl and work it with your hands for a few seconds, giving it a rectangular shape. Don’t make it too thick though as you want your pastry to cool down quickly!
Finally, cover and seal your dough in some plastic food wrap and let it rest in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours. In the alternative, you could also prepare the pastry on the previous day and let it cool down overnight.
And now let’s move on to our delicious fig jam!
Peel the figs and cut them into pieces. In a pot, add your figs together with the sugar, the juice, and zest of the lemon. Cook the ingredients on a medium-low heat, stirring from time to time, until your jam becomes thick. It should take around 40-45 minutes. If you prefer to have a thinner jam, you can briefly work it with a hand mixer.
A little tip to test whether your jam is properly cooked: drop a tiny amount on a small dish that you had previously placed in the freezer and tilt it, if the jelly doesn’t trickle away…your beautiful jam is ready!
In the final stage of the preparation, we are going to make our tart.
First, take the pastry out of the fridge and roll it out onto a well-floured surface. Work the dough until you have a circle which is more or less 0.40in (1cm) thick.
With the help of a rolling pin, raise your pastry and put it on a round baking pan. Press it carefully so that it sticks to the pan and remove the dough in excess with a knife. Now, knead this extra pastry again and put it aside for the moment.
Use the tines of a fork to prick the base of your tart and pour your delicious fig jam - now cold - on top of it.
Roll out the remaining pastry until it is approximately 0.40in (1cm) thick. Using a knife, cut out some strips 0.80in (2cm) wide. Place these strips on top of your tart, first horizontally and then vertically.
Finally, whip the egg and brush it on top of the pastry to coat it. Cook your tart in a preheated oven (350F/180°C) for about 30 minutes.
Angelo Coassin is an Italian professional dancer, actor, passionate home cook, and creator of the page @cookingwithbello. In June 2021, Angelo launched his first cookbook “Bello’s Sexy Pasta”, a collection of his most delicious and authentic pasta recipes.