Isn't life full of surprises ? In my previous post I said figs are usually in season from about June (for Italian figs) until about end of October (for Turkish figs)and just last week as I was strolling through the Naschmarkt again, my eyes caught this lovely looking petite green figs, Bellissima Fici (Italian for "Beautiful or wonderful figs) Yes ! Small and sweet Italian figs, still in season in very late October.
Of course, being a prime market, they were trying to sell a punet of the figs for a ridiculous price and as I was already thinking about my next post on figs, I thought that I'd bargain and just buy about 6, which came to about €2 (about $3) – I told you they were expensive. In any case, keeping with the Italian vibe, I decided to use a very Italian cheese, not very popular outside Italy, but very Italian indeed, Taleggio. It is slightly more expensive than the usual cheeses but it has a very distinctive taste, salty and creamy and almost like an Italian version of the very French brie but thicker, plus it melts really nicely and thickly. As this was "a tasty experiment" this recipe is for one, but you can easily adjust it upwards. So here we go and you'll need,
1 Italian fig cut halfways (if you can't get this type if fig, make sure it is a really sweet one)
50g Taleggio Cheese, cut into 4 equal rectangle bits
2 x 12cm by 12cm store bought short crust pastry(about 100g)
Balsamic Vinegar Cream, Slice of Parmesan and Chilli Flakes (to serve – optional)
Flat baking tray
Oven on 180C for at least 10 minutes before you start
Cut the pastry to size and place on baking parchment/paper on top of a flat baking tray. Place the cheese pieces apart on the pastry slices and put each half of the fig on top.
Put into the oven for between 10-15 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the cheese has completely melted. Take out of the oven, let rest for 5 minutes and using a cake server or flat utensil, lift the tarts from the baking tray onto your serving plates.
If you've got balsamic vinegar cream make a swirl on the tarts and finish with chilli flakes.
You'll experience an amalgamation of tastes such as sweet (the figs), salty (the cheeses) hot (the chillis) and sour/sweet (the balsamic vinegar cream) Wow ! It's so quick to make this, that you can really impress your friends with it. To make more of a meal of it, serve with an Italian inspired salad, top the tarts with rucola (rocket or arugula leaves). Ideally, these tarts can be served as a starter around lunchtime.
Ciao, fici, fici fici….
Recipe by me.