An Eric Lanlard recipe for savoury fig tart alongside a review of his latest book, Tart it Up.
In sharp contrast to his last book, the black PVC bound “Cox Cookies and Cake“, Tart It Up sees Eric in ethereal, pared down almost Delia How to Cook mode with this fresh book of sweet and savoury tarts and pies.
It’s a departure from the showy patisserie and glamour puds we know Eric for but still manages to be creative and visually rewarding. All manner of dough crusted concoctions are featured from calzone to filo and brioche pies.
If you ever thought quiche was restricted to eggs and bacon you’ll enjoy the breadth of fillings Eric brings to his tarts such as curried chicken to Belgian endive and Parma ham.
Strawberry “tart royal” gets a topping of spun sugar and the humble tarte tatin is reworked as a savoury heirloom tomato version to stock your picnic basket.
Tucked amongst the pastries are some more obvious favourites like pecan pie and tarte au citron but on the whole Tart It Up is stuffed with creative pastry fillings you’ll want to try at home.
Page after page of this book shows food I’d genuinely like to eat, this is my favourite of Eric’s books so far and the scope of savoury recipes shows he’s not just a sugar star.
I made Eric’s fig, lardon and dolcelatte tart, I can see exactly why he says he can’t stop making it. The flavour is salty savoury with the texture of fig but less of the sweetness. I did seem to end up with around 40% more pastry than was necessary for the tin size stipulated in the book. Hence I made two smaller tarts alongside the bigger one. It’s one of the smaller ones I’ve shown in the picture at the top. The quantity of liquid was about right however I only needed 4-5 figs rather than the 8 listed in the ingredients – I feel it’s important to point this out since figs are not cheap (even if in season at the moment) and someone might end up buying more than they need to make this. Apart from these details this tart turned out just right.
- For the pastry
- 250g (8oz) plain flour, plus extra
- for dusting
- pinch of salt
- 75g (3oz) walnuts, finely chopped
- 150g (5oz) chilled unsalted butter,
- cut into pieces, plus extra for
- 1 egg yolk
- 1–2 tbsp chilled water
- For the filling
- 8 ripe figs, cut into quarters
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 100g (3.oz) lardons
- 150g (5oz) mascarpone cheese
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 50ml (2fl oz) milk
- 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme, plus
- extra sprigs for garnish
- 150g (5oz) dolcelatte cheese,
- salt and freshly ground black
- Lightly grease a 24 x 7cm (9. x 3in), 3cm (1.in) deep tart tin, or a tin
- of similar dimensions.
- To make the pastry, place the flour, salt and chopped walnuts in a
- bowl and rub in the chilled butter until the mixture resembles fine
- breadcrumbs. Stir in the egg yolk, then gradually add enough of the
- chilled water until the mixture comes together to form a firm
- dough – add the water a little at a time, to prevent the mixture
- from becoming too sticky.
- Roll the dough out on a floured surface and line the tin (see page 18).
- Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C (fan 180°C)/400°F/gas mark 6.
- Once chilled, prick the pastry all over with a fork, cover with a sheet
- of greaseproof paper and fill the tin with baking beans. Blind bake for
- minutes, then remove the paper and beans and bake for a further
- minutes, or until the pastry begins to turn golden.
- Arrange the figs in circles, to cover the base of the tart tin. Put into the
- oven and cook for 10–12 minutes, or until they begin to soften. Heat
- the oil in a frying pan and lightly fry the lardons until they just begin
- to colour. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Place the mascarpone in a medium-sized bowl and stir to soften, then
- add the beaten eggs and milk and stir until you have a smooth mixture.
- Season with a little salt and pepper and add the chopped thyme.
- Scatter the cooked lardons and the crumbled dolcelatte over the top
- of the softened figs, then pour over the mascarpone and egg mixture.
- Finally, sprinkle over some small sprigs of thyme and bake in the oven
- for 20–25 minutes, or until the filling is set and golden.
- I like this tart served at room temperature, with some lightly dressed
- salad leaves.
Eric Lanlard recipe reproduced with permission. With thanks to Octopus books for the review copy of Tart it Up.