Eat Good Food Group
The fig is an interesting fruit. On the outside it appears rough, inedible, and seemingly “male.” But once cut open, it unearths a rich, sweet interior, that D.H. Lawrence so cunningly describes in his homage to the fruit, Figs, as “female.” The fig is known to be the sweetest and oldest fruit recognized by man—dating back to 2500 B.C. The guising sensuous nature of the fruit has lead many to believe it to be the true forbidden fruit eaten by Eve in the Garden of Eden—perhaps it’s no coincidence that she wears one of its leaves . . .
It therefore seems appropriate that figs are important to Restaurant Eve as well, especially in the height of fall, when the main fig crop ripens. Chef Cathal Armstrong incorporates the fig in many ways, whether it be his own rendition of the “newton,” paired with foie gras, or in a fig and frangipane tart offered at his modern American tavern, Virtue Feed & Grain. Recipe below:
FIG AND FRANGIPANE TART
Pastry Chef Rebekka Baltzell, Virtue Feed & Grain
For the Tart:
1 frozen tart shell
For the Frangipane:
8 oz. almond paste
1 oz. sugar
3 1/2 oz. butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 oz. cake flour
In a mixer, cream almond paste and sugar. Gradually add butter in small amounts until fully incorporated.
Gradually add the eggs and mix on medium speed for 5 minutes, until mixture is light and airy. Mix in vanilla and flour.
For the Fig Jam:
2 pints figs, rinsed, stems cut off, quartered
2 Tbsp. honey (local clover if possible)
1- 1/2 cup of sugar
2 tsp. salt
Place figs, sugar (1-1 1/2 cup for desired sweetness) and zest of orange in sauce pot over low-medium heat until figs begin to release juice and break down (approximately 20 min.).
Place in blender and puree until smooth.
Return to sauce pot, add honey and salt, and cook on low heat until thickened. Stir often. Be careful, it will begin to pop and bubble as it thickens.
Partially bake the tart shell.
Put an even layer of cooled jam over center of tart shell. Cover with frangipane to just under the rim of the shell. Add fresh cut figs to the top as desired.
Bake at 325 degrees until golden brown. Brush with thin coat of jam for shine as desired.
—Lida Ramsey is an ambassador for the Eat Good Food Group of Alexandria restaurants, including Restaurant Eve, The Majestic, Virtue Feed & Grain, Eamonn's A Dublin Chipper, PX and the upcoming Society Fair.