Did you know that figs grow in Brooklyn? I learned this a few weeks ago, when I was gifted a gorgeous little basket of them, plucked from the tree in the yard behind my colleague's brownstone. For such a strong proponent of seasonal cooking, it came as quite a revelation that something so exotic, which I'd always associated with California or the Mediterranean, grows here in New York City. The moment I saw those figs, I knew at once that they were destined to fall into a buttery tart, accompanied by hazelnuts.
Among their many virtues, fresh figs make a delightful filling for tarts. At face value, a split fig caramelized by the heat of the oven is an appetizing sight, but the delicious, mellow honeyed flavor is where it's really at. This tart makes the most of both these qualities, pairing the figs with a crisp and chewy hazelnut filling (the cousin of frangipane), and an irresistibly crumbly pâte sucrée crust.
This end-of-summer tart is just what you're looking for at the end of a satisfying summer supper. Enjoy it topped with whipped cream or alongside a glass of sherry or port.
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About the author: Lauren Weisenthal has logged many hours working in restaurant kitchens and bakeries of Brooklyn and Manhattan. She is a graduate of the Artisan Bread Baking and Pastry Arts programs at the French Culinary Institute and holds a CS Certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers. You can follow her on Twitter at @evillagekitchen.