Joyce gives a fig, that’s who! She stopped by the other day to offer some figs from her tree. Fresh figs are a real treat, being so perishable, they tend to be on very limited time offer in markets and when they are available, fairly expensive especially on the East Coast.
To know someone who has a fig tree that actually produces figs? One more delightful thing about Vancouver Island living. I gratefully accepted her generous offer and after stuffing our gullets, set about to make best use of this unexpected gift.
Naughty fig fact: Giving someone “the fig” is a rude gesture, popular during Shakespeare’s time and called the “obscene hand” by early Christians. It involves poking one’s thumb through the V made by one’s index and forefinger, and you can see it in action here.
On to the business at hand. I decided a tart would be in order, something simple that showcased the figs in all their fresh glory. A plain tart shell, sweetened ricotta filling, and the sliced figs should do it.
Fig-Blueberry Ricotta Tart
1 pre-made frozen pie shell (What? It’s hot out! Don’t judge me!)
2 large egg yolks
1 /8-1 /4 cup white sugar
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 /4 cup vanilla yogurt
bottled blueberries (Joyce brought these as well, bottled in simple syrup)
Bake the shell as per package instructions (unless, of course, you’re making your own which you can certainly do but I’m giving you an easy out here)
Whisk the egg yolks, add sugar until pale yellow. There’s a variance in the amount of sugar because you can determine how sweet you want to the filling to be; if you have especially ripe figs that are already sweet, you may want to add less sugar. Best thing is to add the 1/ 8 cup now, then add more sugar if desired upon tasting the completed filling.
Stir the ricotta cheese and vanilla yogurt into the egg mixture, and taste for sweetness. Add more sugar if desired. Pour the filling into the cooled crust, then bake @350F for 30-35 minutes until filling is set.
Once the tart has cooled, arrange the sliced figs on top, garnish with the blueberries. If you have self-control, you can take your time and make the tart look really spectacular, or you can layer the fig slices on quickly like I did to keep from eating the filling first. (Never bake when you’re hungry).
You can also let loose your artistic side with figs and raspberries, or figs and mandarins, or raspberries and mandarins if you bring home figs from the market and find mould on one because you didn’t check them carefully enough before you paid for them and don’t have time to bring them back before the dinner guests arrive, not that that has happened to me. More than once, anyway.