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Monday, July 7, 2014

Fig Tartlet for One

I really like figs. No really. Not just they're my favorite, but I'm OBSESSED with them. They have a short season, and I make a complete glutton of myself.

But figs are pretty sweet, and you can't just eat sweets all the time, so here's my recipe for a savory little personal tart.

½ cup all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
2 TBLSP shortening or vegan butter
1 ½ TBLSP ice water (or half vodka)

            1 TBLSP olive oil
3 slices of red onion, cut in half or thirds
            1 clove garlic, diced finely
            3 TBLSP balsamic vinegar
            Pinch of sugar (optional)
            4 Kalamata olives, sliced into circles
            2 Mission figs, quartered or cut into eighths

Make the Dough
  • In a small bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Then add the water/vodka and mix until it holds together in a very soft dough. (Vodka is a pie-maker’s trick. If you use it the crust will be a little lighter. In such small quantities, though, you may not notice the difference. The alcohol burns off, so you don’t taste it, but, like the water, it evaporates and leaves little fluffy openings in the dough.)
  •  Form the dough into a ball. Be careful not to overwork the dough. Just squish it together until it holds.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 7- or 8-inch circle or square, or just a rough shape. Fold the edges up and over to make a little ridge to hold the toppings in. It doesn’t have to be pretty, or round; in fact the more organic the shape of the crust, the more pleasing the appearance.
  • Put the crust onto the parchment paper on which you’ll bake it, and then onto a plate. Stick it in the refrigerator for an hour or two (overnight is fine). You might want to cover it with plastic wrap if you have a lot of stinky things in your fridge or you plan to leave it for longer
Make the Topping
  •  Place the olive oil and onion slices in a small saucepan, and on a medium or low heat, sauté them until they’re fairly soft but not quite translucent. Perhaps 7 or 8 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent.
  • Carefully (it will splatter) add the balsamic vinegar and continue to sauté until the liquid is mostly gone. You can sprinkle in a pinch of sugar if you like, or if your figs aren’t particularly sweet.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Assemble the Tartlet
  • Put the dough and its parchment paper onto a baking sheet and slip it into the hot oven for 5 or 6 minutes while you cut up the olives and figs.
  •  On the now-warm crust, spread the caramelized onions evenly on the bottom. Scrape in as much of the yummy juice as you can.
  • Arrange the figs on top of the onions in an artful way and then sprinkle the olives on top.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edges of the crust are golden brown, the onions bubbly, and the figs all squishy.
  • Let it cool on a rack for five minutes before devouring.