Recipes in this Post
Figs are amazing fruits. Figs are among the richest plant sources of calcium and fiber. They have been cultivated for thousands of years, even before wheat. Figs dated 9,200 years ago were discovered in the Jordan Valley in a house in the early Neolithic village of Gilgal I by a team of researchers from Bar-Ilan University in Israel and Harvard University.
Figs are mentioned in the Bible many times, beginning in Genesis, Chapter 3, verse 7 where Adam covers himself with a fig leaf. Jesus even curses a fig tree in Mark Chapter 11, verse 12 and Mathew Chapter 21, verse 19. I guess there was only one unfortunate fig tree, it has a bevy of other cultural and historical references. A whole chapter is devoted to it in the Qur’an. Sura 95 of the Qur’an is named al-Tīn (Arabic for “The Fig”), as it opens with the oath “By the fig and the olive.” Buddha achieved enlightenment under the bodhi tree, a large and old sacred fig tree. In Greek mythology, a crow angers Apollo having been tempted by a fig. In modern times, we have wonderful Fig Newtons.
The journey to this tart was one of discovery. I had not cooked with figs before, let alone made a fig tart. My only exposure to figs was the ubiquitous Fig Newton cookie. With that in mind, I wanted something that was sweet, but not too sweet, and with a cookie type crust. I also found a French Tart Dough recipe to which I made major changes, and my Stove Top Cooked French Sweet Tart Dough turned out to be perfect for my Blue Cheese Stuffed Fig Tart with Balsamic Honey Glaze.
- Stove Top French Sweet Tart Shell, prepared
- 8 fresh figs
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 Wedge Blue Cheese (not crumbled)
- Sour Cream
- Have ready a French sweet tart shell.
- Cut the figs in half lengthwise. Set aside.
- Melt the butter in a heavy bottom saute pan.
- Whisk in the sugar and balsamic vinegar, and whisk to thoroughly combine.
- Reduce the heat and carefully place the figs in the pan, cut side down.
- Spoon the liquid over the top, and let the figs saute for about 2 minutes, then turn. Don't let them get too soft.
- Remove the figs to a plate and set aside to cool. Do not throw away the liquid in the pan, you will need it for the glaze. When they are cool enough to handle, put them into the tart shell.
- Take about 2 or 3 slices of the blue cheese, and break those slices into enough pieces to stuff each fig half. You can save the rest of the cheese for Chicken with Gorgonzola and Pistachios or what have you.
- Carefully make a small indentation in the top of each fig. Put the cheese into the indentation.
- Add the remaining butter to the juices left in the pan, the brown sugar and cinnamon. Whisking the whole while, watch carefully so the sauce does not burn. Let it get thick enough to stick to the back of a spoon, then take it off the heat.
- Spoon the glaze over the figs, especially filling in those areas where there is no fig.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Remove the rim of the tart shell and put the tart on a nice plate.
- Cut a small slice and top it with a dollop of sour cream. Refrigerate the remaining tart.
You really do not want to use crumbled blue cheese because it has a tendency to be dried out. Get a good, creamy variety, Danish would be a good choice.
If you do not like blue cheese, you can omit it.