When we drive to Noosa at this time of the year for our annual beach holiday, we have a habit of stopping off at Wises’s Farm at Maroochydore for the best figs on the Sunshine Coast. I have linked Peter Wise’s own website about his farm and his family for you to read. We drive off the highway and around the back roads of the suburbs before we finally find the hand written sign “Figs for Sale”. I love the way the farm has a winding dirt track that passes a group of cows and chickens in a make shift area with an old chook house and a big shed where you pick up your figs. None of this “trying to make things look pretty”, it is a sustainable farm long before “sustainable” was an in word and where you made do with what was lying around on the farm.
What amazing figs they are too. The thing about figs (we know this from my husband’s father’s tree), is they taste best when ripened on the tree and picked just before you eat them. Most of the figs you buy have been picked way before this so they ripen on the way to the fruit shop. It just doesn’t taste the same! These hand picked figs are much sweeter and denser in flavour.
We always over do it and buy more than we can eat so with the few that are not eaten I make fig tarts. These tarts are delicious served with Mascarpone cream or ice cream. I hope next time you are on the way up the Sunshine Coast you will stop and buy some figs but not all of them!
- For the Pastry
- 150g all purpose/plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 80g butter, cubed or an equal mix of butter and lard
- 2-3 tbsp cold water
For the filling
- 3 figs cut up into pieces
- 150g butter
- 150g super fine / caster sugar
- 3 medium eggs plus 1 yolk, beaten
- 150g ground almonds
- 1 medium lemon
Method for Pastry
- Heat the oven to 170C
- Place the flour, butter and salt into a large clean bowl.
- Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, working as quickly as possible to prevent the dough becoming warm.
- Add the water to the mixture and using a cold knife stir until the dough binds together, add more cold water a teaspoon at a time if the mixture is too dry.
- Wrap the dough in glad wrap and chill for a minimum of 15 minutes, or up to 30 minutes.
- Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured board to 5mm thick. Grease and then line a 20cm fluted tart tin with the pastry. Prick the base all over with a fork. Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
- Line the tart case with baking/greaseproof paper and fill with baking weights. Cook for 15 minutes or until the pastry is a pale golden color. Remove the baking beans, cook for a further 5 minutes. Leave to cool.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until pale in color using an electric hand whisk. Add the beaten eggs and egg yolk a little at a time. Gently fold in the ground almonds and lemon zest.
- Place the cut up figs in any pattern you desire and then pour the mixture in to the pastry case around the figs until the whole case is filled. Bake for 20 minutes.
By the way if you are thinking my tarts look a little burnt you are right! I baked them in the holiday unit oven and all the markings on the dial were missing. At one stage I think I grilled them!
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