The three couples were first drawn together by our daughters, a treo of 11 year olds who walk together to school every morning. But it’s more than the kids now – it’s a shared love of good food and wine, of different cultures (Greek, Jewish, Christian), of politics and a dream of one day all living in a European city, probably Paris. We are two doctors, a teacher, a psychologist, and a Greek scholar and an actress turned pet store owners. And, oh yes, seven children.
We get our families together for dinner every few months or so. Tonight, I’ve promised to bring dessert.
I sleep late because I have a migraine (I said it was an almost perfect day…), and Mr TBTAM beings me a cup of coffee while I am in the shower waiting for the Imitrex to kick in. It does, and I spend the rest of the morning looking at recipes and cookbooks, deciding what to make for dessert.
Mr TBTAM has brought home a big box of gorgeous plums from Costco, and there are some mission figs on the verge of becoming too dry to eat alone. Although I am certain the flavors will go well together, I can find no recipe for a fig-prune tart. So I decide to create my own.
Natalie helps me in the kitchen, and we spend the early afternoon baking. This is followed by a late afternoon bike ride in Central Park with Mr. TBTAM and then a wonderful dinner with our friends.
Yep, it’s been pretty much an almost perfect day.
Fig and Plum Tartlets
Makes 6 -4 inch tartlets
12 dried figs
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp Calvados brandy
1 2/3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
12 tbsps. unsalted butter
4 ½ tbsps. ice water
(This is what I used for these tarts, next time I would increase to 3 plums per tart)
12 plums, halved, pitted and sliced
1/4 cup sugar
Vanilla Ice Cream for serving
Remove the stems and chop the figs.
Toss the figs with 3 tbsp sugar in a small saucepan.
Add 1/4 cup water and a squeeze of lemon to the figs and cook over very low heat for 15 minutes.
Add 2 tbsp calvados (and a bit more water if necessary to keep from drying out), and cook till figs are soft, about 15 munutes more.
Remove from heat and let sit a few minutes to cool. Process in food processor a few seconds until smooth.
Set aside (and try not to eat any…)
Make pate brisee.
Process the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor to mix. Cut butter into pieces and add to the processor.
Pulse to the consistency of coarse meal, about 10 seconds.
Pour ice water through feed tube while processing. Stop motor as soon as dough begins to form a ball.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a disc about 1 inch thick. (Can be made ahead and refrigerated.) Cut into 6 equal pieces. Flatten each piece into a disc about 4 inches round, then place into tart pan and, using your fingers, press the dough up the sides of the pan and across the bottom evenly.
Using a small rubber spatula, spread about 2 tbsp fig paste across the base of each tartlet.
Toss the plum slices with 1/4 cup sugar
and arrange them, overlapping slightly, in the tartlet pans. Place an almond slice in the middle.
You could do an eggwash on the crusts at this time – I forgot to do it.
Bake at 400 degees for 10 minutes. Lower heat to 350 and bake an additional 40 minutes, till the fruit is soft and bubbly and the crust is golden brown.
Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream on the side.