This an Indian summer dessert, as it is best made from fresh very ripe figs. In this instance, I bought a tray of fresh figs at the Root Cellar in Victoria. The crate indicates that they are either “black mission”(Halloween special?) or “brown turkey” (Thanksgiving leftover?) and that they were packed in Fresno. If I follow the logic from the “Noix de Grenoble” being a product of California last week, it may be that those figs were imported from Provence and just packaged in California for export to Canada. I am not sure, and to tell you the truth, the French figs are usually bigger and sweeter, so maybe what I made is really “California Tart” when I thought all along that it was a French tarte aux figues et aux noix de Grenoble.
I asked my favorite pastry chef to make a nice flaky crust for a regular size pie dish, I bake it empty with weights at 360 for a good 20 minutes until it was basically cooked. While it cooked, I mixed together in the food processor a cup of chopped Grenoble walnuts, 2 egg yolks, 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter, 2 tbsp pure maple syrup, 1 tbsp flour, 1/4 tsp ground anise, the zest of half a lemon, and grounded the whole thing into a fine paste. The paste keeps the pastry dry and the figs very moist.
Next, you pour the paste on the pastry and arrange the figs on top. The figs have been cleaned, top and bottom removed and cut in four almost all the way to the bottom but not quite, so they can be opened up into a flower when set on the walnut paste. It took about 16 small whole California figs to fill the pie shell tight. With bigger figs, I would cut them in halves or quarters. Bake at 360 for 35 minutes and glaze with 2 tbsp red currant jelly or peach jam or any jam. Eat still warm with crème Chantilly on the side.
I have been trying to grow a fig tree in a large pot for the last four years but so far I have not got one single fig and barely enough leaves to cover Eve, who’s got figs?