Friday, 11 April 2014

Fig & Raspberry Tarte Tatin

Figs are a fruit you either love or hate. They contain quite a few seeds and some people find that this gives them an almost gritty texture. Although, I discovered fresh figs only relatively recently, I have to admit that I love their slightly exotic allure and their taste is unlike any other fruit that I have eaten. Ripe figs have a rich, almost meaty taste and there is a definite air of the exotic about them. The aroma of a fresh fig is something beautiful to behold and promises much in the way of flavour to tempt the diner.
 
Figs are an extremely popular ingredient in Middle Eastern cooking and are quite regularly paired with rich or salty foods or meats in many recipes. They sit equally well in both sweet and savoury dishes and for me, this really adds to their appeal – there is something so grown-up and refined about figs and I love to use them, when I can, in my cooking.
 
Many people are surprised that figs can be grown quite successfully in the British Isles, provided you have a sheltered spot which catches the sun – because they really do need that warmth to release their full taste potential.
 
Amongst my favourite fruits are raspberries. I love their taste and believe that they complement the flavour of figs so well. The juicy sweetness of the raspberries marries so well with the rich, heady flavour of the figs and they taste delicious together. This is really an example of a dessert that is so much more than the sum of its parts.
 
I have previously given variations on the tarte tatin theme and I unashamedly give another one here. The reality is that tarte tatins are so easy to prepare, look so elegant and taste wonderful. So… here is another recipe, which I hope you enjoy!
 

Ingredients:

5 fresh figs, halved
150g fresh raspberries
100g caster sugar
55g butter
350g all-butter puff pastry
 

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 220C/Fan Oven 200C/Gas Mark 7.
2. Place the sugar in a large oven-proof frying pan (about 25cms in diameter) with 2 tablespoons of water and heat gently over a moderate heat until all the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar has completely dissolved, turn up the heat until the mixture starts bubbling. Allow it to bubble away for about 5 minutes, keeping a close eye on it to ensure that it does not burn. Do not allow it to become too dark – you want to achieve a rich golden colour.
3. Once it has reached this stage, remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the butter and mix through. Set aside to cool.
To finish:
4. Roll out the pastry to a thickness of about 3mm and into a circle large enough to fit the frying pan with a little overhang.
5. Place the figs, cut side down in the frying pan on top of the cooled caramel. Nestle the raspberries in and around the gaps created by the figs.
6. Lay the rolled pastry on top of the figs and raspberries and tuck in the excess pastry around the edges, so everything is contained within the frying pan. Place the frying pan on a baking tray and bake in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes approximately until the pastry is golden and well-risen.
7. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for about 5 minutes before carefully inverting onto a serving plate.
8. Serve immediately, cut into wedges, with some freshly whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.
 
Serves 6.