Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Eating Fall: Second in a Series - The Incredible Fig

In the past few weeks, Figs have been front and center in the Farmers Markets. We're really lucky here in South Philadelphia to have tons of mature fig trees all over the neighborhood - and owners of those trees who sell their figs through local markets.  It's not unusual to get to the checkout and see beautiful figs in egg cartons with a sign that says, "Guido's Figs, one dollar each/$9.00 for a dozen". These figs are, as you can imagine, incredibly fresh, delicious and raised pretty much in an organic fashion.

Certainly Fig Jam is a great product to make with wonderful fresh figs. Our local canning guru, Marissa McClellan, has a great and easy recipe for fig jam in her wonderful book, "Food In Jars". We used her recipe to put up a dozen jars this year.  

But there are many other things to do with this heavenly fruit.  Below is a picture of a Fig Tart that we made recently.  It's simply one sheet of Puff Pastry, rolled out a bit, scored  around the edges, and filled with quartered figs.  My better half does the beautiful placement of figs onto the dough (second picture). I drizzled a bit of local honey over the figs and baked it at 375 degrees convection (400 degrees regular oven) for about 12 - 15 minutes.  Be sure the underside of your crust has a chance to get crisp - figs give off a lot of (heavenly) juice as they bake.  The accompaniment for this tart is three tablespoons of crushed shelled pistachios into a cup of thick Greek yogurt, sprinkle a little honey or sugar into the mixture and whip it together. Serve a dollop with each slice of the tart. 

My second favorite use of fresh figs is pizza. As you know if you follow the blog, we love to have Pizza Night at our home. One of the things that has made it so enjoyable is the fact that we buy pre-made thin pizza crust (Pillsbury, usually displayed with the rolls, in the dairy case).  Yes, from time to time we go the whole "scratch" road and we usually alway have a local bread or pizza makers dough in our freezer.  But on weeknights there is nothing like unrolling a lovely thin crust onto an oiled cookie sheet and getting creative.  And this is the perfect crust for Fig, Goat & Blue Cheese Pizza!

Oil the baking sheet with a bit of good EVOO.  Spread out the dough as close to the edges of the pan as you can - you want a thin crust after all - see photo.  Then pre-cook the pizza dough for 5 - 7 minutes at 400 degrees.  See photo. You don't want it very brown or anything, you just want a nice mild crispness.

Add your cheeses.  In this one we are doing one half chèvre, one half chèvre and blue cheese, with thinly sliced red onions and good EVOOO and chopped fresh rosemary over all. See photos. 

And then add the figs, sliced into rounds in our case because we are getting a little low on figs. The entire pizza is drizzled with a good extra virgin olive oil and popped into a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes.

Let the pizza rest for about five minutes and slice. This is a great pizza for snacks with cocktails, as a first course or as a main with a great green salad.  

Go get some Figs and, at the very least, just stand there and eat them!

Fig Puff Pastry Tart with 
Pistachio, Yogurt topping 
Fig Tart - Pre-Bake
Fig Pizza dough prep

Post pre-cook of pizza crust
EVOO and cheeses added
Thinly sliced red onions and 
Fresh, chopped rosemary 
Figs added, with another 
overall drizzle of EVOO.    

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