We had an event at our house this last weekend and I'm not talking about the 4th of July. We had that too but it was a subdued affair compared to Cheesefest! I just had to use the exclamation point. Cheeeeeesefest!! Actually what we had was a food, cheese, beer, and wine tasting courtesy of Castello Cheese. Castello provided the cheese and of course I called on my friends at Mutineer Magazine who came bearing beer, wines, ale and stout. I provided the food.
I'm going to be going into this event in detail in a few days with menus, recipes and beverage pairings but hey I thought, why not start with dessert? Who makes the rules around here after all? So I thought, I start off with the dessert I served Saturday night, or rather one of the desserts I served because what's a party with only one dessert?
Since we were going to be dealing with pairings, I wanted something that would follow through with the tastes of the evening. Something fresh, and local. Usually I see figs at the Farmers market a bit later in the summer, but when I saw these beauties at our Friday Morning Organic Farmers Market I knew what one dessert was going to be for sure.
Fig and Walnut Tart.
Actually, it wasn't just Fig and Walnut Tart , it was Fig and Walnut Tart served with a scoop of Hirten (one of the types of cheese I was sent) Ice Cream and it would be gluten free. No one at our house has gluten issues, but then we don't eat a whole lot of gluten. A growing number of our friends are gluten sensitive however and I didn't want anyone to feel left out when the dessert hit the table.
Most of the time when baking gluten free I use my own blend of flours.
However, for ease this time, I used King Arthur Gluten Free Flour.
Fig and Walnut Gluten Free Tart
Here's What You Need:
1 and 1/4 cup of all purpose gluten free flour, plus extra for dusting.
1 stick of cold butter
1 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbs sugar
2 to 4 Tbs of ice water
3/4 cup of walnuts
1/3 cup plus 2 Tbs of sugar
4 Tbs room temperature butter
2 dozen large fresh figs
An 11 inch tart pan
Here's What To Do:
Cut the cold butter into 1/4 inch pieces and stick them into the freezer for about 15 minutes. You want that butter CHILLED.
In a food processor gently mix together the flour, sugar and salt.
Add in the cold cold butter.
Pulse the food processor about 6 times to mix in the butter. Use the bread blade to do this. The dough should look like coarse meal with a few small pieces of butter here and there.
Keep the food processor running and add in the ice water 1 Tbs at a time. You don't want to add too much water, just enough so the dough clumps together.
Take the dough out of the food processor and shape it into a ball and flatten it.
Wrap the dough round in a piece of plastic wrap and tuck it into the fridge to chill for at least an hour.
You can keep the dough in the fridge for a couple of days if you want to get a jump on this dessert.
Make sure you take out the dough 5 minutes before you're going to work with it.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
To roll out the dough when you're ready, dust a piece of waxed paper with gluten free flour.
Place the flattened round of dough on the paper, sprinkle it with a bit more gluten free flour, then top it with a second sheet of waxed paper.
Place the rolled out dough into the tart pan, trim any extra crust to the rim of the tart pan.
Stick the tart pan with the pie crust in it for 30 minutes. Like I said, this crust has got to be kept cool.
Butter a big piece of tin foil. Here are some pictures of the process taken back when I was baking an apple tart. Different fruit, same steps.
Place the foil, buttered side down into the pie crust and up the sides.
Fill the pie shell with rice, beans or pie weights. Back when I was baking the apple tart I used dried garbanzos, I used them again this time also.
Pop the tart pan onto a baking sheet and bake it in the oven for about 20 minutes.
Take the foil and beans out the crust.
Poke holes in the bottom of the crust with a fork then bake for another 10 minutes.
Take the crust out of the oven and raise the temperature to 375 degrees.
Grind 3/4 cup of walnuts to a fine meal.
In a medium bowl, mix 4Tbs of unsalted butter together with 1/3 cup of sugar.
Add in an egg.
Add in 1 Tbs of gluten free flour and beat it all together.
Fold in the ground walnuts.
Spread this mixture into the bottom of the pie crust.
Once this has been spread on the bottom of the crust, quarter the clean fresh figs.
Arrange the quartered figs on the top of the ground walnut mixture.
Arrange them in a circle, pointy ends of the figs heading toward the center.
Pop the tart into the oven for about 35 minutes, or until the tips of the figs turn a bit crispy.
Place the tart on a cooling rack, then slip the rim of the tart pan off and serve it up.
I served this tart with a small scoop of homemade Hirten ice cream since that cheese goes excellently with figs. The Hirten cheese ice cream recipe and a whole lot more are coming very soon. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori