Christmas in the Middle of Summer

What is summer for you?. For me, it is happiness and hope! It comes in a form of silly daises and juicy, sweet figs... I was not planning to bake this cake and had no occasion, but fresh figs are so tempting and delicious... sadly they appear on the market only for a few months, so you should always take advantage of them when you can. Both green and slightly pinkish inside or purple and dark red (as on my photos) - all varieties are simply amazing and absolutely gourmet.

Daisies are like a plague in Russia. They grow in every garden and every field or park. As a child, I used to spend my summer in the countryside. I would see them so often, that at some point stopped appreciating their beauty. But here in Paris, you need to pay for a bunch of flowers, even if they are simple daisies... These particular daisies come from my very good friend, who is allergic to flowers, but of course like every girl loves them so much that still buys them from time to time. Last weekend we had lunch at her place and after having suffered from allergy for a few days, she gave them to me. Thank you, friend, for making my house a bit more "summery"!

Fig Nougat Tart Recipe

Cooking time: 60 minutes

Serves: 6 people


sweet pastry dough

400g (14oz) fresh figs

200g (7oz) ricotta cheese

100g (3.5oz) cream cheese

1 pack (15g/0.5oz) of vanilla sugar

soft fig nougat from sun flavours

Making the tart:

1. For the sweet pastry dough, please check out my page with the amazing recipe, that I learnt at Le Cordon Bleu. Once you've cracked the dough, preheat the oven: 160C/320F/fan.

2. The amount of ingredients, mentioned in my dough recipe, is enough for one 20cm/8" form. Take a piece of a baking paper, which will cover the whole form up to the edges and roll out the dough to match your paper shape:

3. Now carefully place the baking paper and the dough into the form and cut off all extras. If your dough breaks in some places, just fix it with the left-overs. Now make holes with a fork or cover the base with the baking stones and bake for 10 minutes.

4. While the pastry is cooking, let's make the cheesecake and the fig nougat ready. In a separate bowl mix together 3 fresh figs with skin, ricotta, vanilla sugar and cream cheese.

5. Fig nougat was kindly given to me by Sun Flavours. It has a very interesting spicy and nutty flavour... I would simply say: it tastes like Christmas but in a very mild way! Inspired by the typical goodies from Algarve (southern part of my beloved Portugal) - such as figs, anise, cinnamon, and almonds... it nicely blends with my summer fig tart and will work as the only sugar injecting ingredient. You can easily find it in some Portuguese stores in Paris or substitute by traditional French fig jam...

6. Nougat serves as a layer between the dough and the cream. It was a bit thick, so I sliced it in two and then cut each of those parts in two halves. Nicely spread the nougat over the hot dough:

7. Now add the creamy mixture and shave the raw dough left-overs on top. Put the cake back into the oven and bake for another 20-25 minutes until your dough becomes golden brown and the cream becomes solid and starts separating from the dough.

8. Sweet pastry dough is very fragile when hot, so let the cake cool a bit in the form. Then move it to the plate, cut off the baking paper and decorate with the remaining fresh figs.

This tart is so delicious and healthy! Tarts are great any time of the year, but especially in summer, because you have so many fresh fruits, that you can experiment with. Instead of figs, you could use plums, apricots, pears, raspberries, strawberries, etc... Once you start appreciating the natural sweetness of the most amazing and humble goodies from your own summer garden, life changes forever!

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