Fig and hazelnut tart21

Posted on March 4, 2009 by ChristieSweet Treats, Vegetarian

[Free form fig and hazelnut tart]

Baking by the seat of my pants!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I’m not much of a baker. It’s not only because I don’t really have the patience but also because I love the improvisation of general cooking – baking is just a bit too rigid for me.

The slightest issue with proportion and your hard work collapses, burns, sinks or crumbles into a pile of rubble right before your horrified eyes.

You can obviously fix (or hide) the mistakes of some disasters if you’re really clever – but not me. Luckily my palette is more savoury so I can mostly avoid these types of dilemmas.

Saying that though, many years ago I helped my sister make a birthday cake for her school friend, and in our excitement we opened the oven door a bit too early causing the cake to sink in the middle.

Being a highly optimistic person I came up with a very good solution: dump a load of freckles in the hole and cover the whole lot with thick chocolate icing. We named it ‘Hidden treasure cake’ and no-one suspected a thing. In fact, it was a hit!

This is where the ‘baking by the seat of my pants’ kicks in!

After an impromptu trip to the local Eveleigh Farmers Market where I picked up a large box of figs (about 9) for $5 (wow!) I decided to make a free form tart with them. The first Fig recipe on Fig & Cherry!

First: I’ve never made pastry crust from scratch but I didn’t let that deter me. Besides, I’ve read loads of recipes that explain what to do – butter, flour, water. Rest the dough… blah blah. I can do that.

Second: I didn’t feel like getting out my food processor so I just decided to use my hands.

Conclusion: The tart turned out fine as you can see. But be warned, I’ve only made this recipe once and I made it up completely on the fly. Follow with caution!

Incidentally, I was flicking through an old copy of one of my favourite food magazines this morning, Australian Gourmet Traveller and I found this Neil Perry recipe for Fig and Raspberry crostata. Mine looks pretty similar, huh? Not bad for a first go.

Obviously Neil’s recipe is far superior to mine – it includes frangipane, yum! Plus I found out yesterday that he has a personal blog too. Check it out. OK, that’s quite enough for now.

Happy cooking! Christie x

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Free form fig and hazelnut tart
serves 6-8

I haven’t added sugar to the pastry because my figs were really ripe and I prefer brown sugar on top. Feel free to add a tablespoon of caster sugar to the dough if you like.

1 cup wholemeal flour, sifted
100g butter, chilled and diced
2 tablespoons roasted hazelnuts, crushed
6-7 medium figs, neatly sliced
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar

1. Add the sifted flour and diced butter to a large mixing bowl. If it’s a really hot day see note* below.

2. Using your fingers mix together the flour and butter until the consistency of medium sized breadcrumbs. Add 2 tablespoons of cold water and mix until the dough just comes together.

3. Knead the dough quickly and lightly with the heel of your hand on a sheet of baking paper.

4. Roll out the dough between two sheets of baking paper to form a 30cm circle. Place on a large baking tray (with the baking paper touching the tray) and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

5. Preheat the oven to 180C. Remove the dough from the oven and scatter with the chopped hazelnuts, leaving a 3cm border around the edge. Top with figs and fold the pastry border in towards the centre, pleating as you go.

6. Sprinkle the exposed figs with brown sugar and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (my favourite!).

*It was a very hot day when I made this so I popped my mixing bowl into the freezer for 15 mins before adding the flour and butter. The colder the ingredients stay the more flaky the finished pastry will be. This is because the flakiness is due to the little chunks of cold butter distributed throughout the dough – If it’s too warm they will melt.


Poached peach in honey sauce w/ passionfruit mascarpone (GF, V)
Orange and almond cake w/ orange syrup (V)
Tropical fruit skewers w/ Vegemite Caramel (GF, V)

  • Looks amazing. I have a whole host of fig posts in the works – which means that I’ve been making full use of the fig season, deliciously. And I’ve got a crostata coming too.
    What a wonderful effort for a no-recipe!

  • Hehe no way, it’s your first fig recipe here? What a bargain with the figs too, well done! LOL at hidden treasure cake too :P

  • Ju’eta Amir

    That looks fabulous! I’ve always wanted to make a free form something…I might just do it this weekend. I love fresh figs too much. I might just eat it before it gts into the pie…..I’ve eaten 12 already this week!

  • What a tart! The pictured baked good looks nice as well :P

    With the blog named as it is, I’m surprised that this is the first recipe with figs. Is your next one going to be one with cherries or has that already been done? :)

  • What a fig bargain! You’ve certainly used it well. It would be a perfect recipe in Turkey. There’s always guys with barrows of figs and hazelnuts there. I wish we had fig barrows in Sydney!

  • This is your first fig recipe, but I sincerely hope no the last!!! You did so well!! Lovely tart and I LOVE the rustic look of the tart!

  • I’m drooling Christie…bloody fantastic! It looks all nice and rustic. I would have dolloped a lot of cream on it!

  • Christie, first time doing pastry…you’ve an excellent hand :)…. a delicious tart to eat it in one single bite!

    All the best!

  • brilliant! i saw Giada make a similar crostata on her show a while back, and was smitten immediately… but had forgotten about it. thanks for reminding me! no doubt you enjoyed this :)



  • mmm looks gorgeous (and thumbs up on adding hazelnuts into the pastry – they’re such a great nut for baking with & add that much more zing than almonds).

    bargain figs too! wahoo for that!

  • Figs and hazelnuts? Wonderful! Can’t wait till our figs are in season again.

  • Wow looks amazinnngg loving that beautiful golden brown colour mm

  • Looking at that beautiful tart, i couldn’ t say it was ur first time. Figs & hazelnuts… Yummilicious.

    thanks for sharing a smile with that cake thingy:-)

  • If this is your first fig recipe, then I think you did a great job!! This is lovely with some hot custard or with some good ice-cream!!! MMMMM….Christie!!

  • Y

    Can’t ever go wrong with a crostata, I say. Can’t believe how cheap those figs were too! I hope I don’t miss the boat with this year’s fig season!

  • I think you are pretty much of a baker Christie. I love galettes, & this looks rustic, moriesh & delicious! YUM!!

  • Looks delicious! I must confess I’m not a baker and cannot bring myself to pour cups of sugar into my recipes (I seem to be ok with oil/fat/salt tho!). With only 1 teaspoon of sugar in this recipe – I’ll definitely try it!

  • Gorgeous. And how fitting :)

  • Delay again in replying… sorry!
    @Lili – Yes! A no-recipe, exactly :)
    @Lorraine – Crazy isn’t it?
    @Ju’eta – Woah girl, slow down on the figs! :)
    @Simon – Cheeky! :) I’ve done chocolate dipped cherries, but it’s hardly a recipe…hehe.
    @Arwen – Fig barrows, how wonderful! Yes I’d love those in Sydney too.
    @Nina – I promise it won’t be the last!
    @Peter G – Ah yes, everything is better with a dollop of cream :)
    @Gera – One bite? Wow, you must have a sweet tooth :)
    @Heather – You’re welcome, it was very tasty.
    @Shez – I adore hazelnuts, they added a lovely crunch
    @Lisa – Hooray for figs! :)
    @Ffichiban – Thanks! I watched it during the last bit of cooking time to make sure it was perfectly golden. There’s such a fine line between golden and burnt!
    @Soma – LOL, yummilicious!
    @Sophie – Hot custard – yes! Great idea.
    @Y – Get your hands on some figs asap, they’re so delicious at the moment.
    @Deeba – You’re sweet, thank you.
    @Forager – Glad to hear it! I always try and omit or keep the sugar content low in recipes. I’m glad I’ve got an alley in that respect :) Most food bloggers have such sweet tooths!
    @Olga – Cheers! :P

  • This is baking by the seat of your pants? Looks great!!!

  • Jane

    Hey, this was my first attempt at pastry and it turned out really well. I like the crumbly feel and even though I was missing the hazelnuts it tasted lovely! thanks

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