The two subjects of my title don’t necessarily go together unless you’re thankful for fig tarts, which I suppose I am because they’re quite tasty, but I had something else in mind first.
With the time change last weekend, my sleep pattern has taken a beating. If I can stay up past eight o’clock, I consider that a win. Of course, going to bed so early means that I’m waking up in the wee hours of the morning. Each day I’ve been sleeping a little bit later though, and today’s wake-up time was four o’clock. In the morning. Yawn.
The nice thing about being awake so early is the complete quiet. The cats and the dog haven’t yet started their campaigns to be fed, the birds aren’t chirping, there’s no city noise or traffic…just absolute silence and only the faintest light in the sky. As someone who absolutely loves my bed, I could lay for hours in this scenario. The trouble is that eventually the rest of the world wakes up, including said animals who want to be fed. They go about letting you know this in ways that are fairly hard to ignore like licking the Carmex off your lips or knocking over the water glass on the nightstand or getting in a paper bag and thrashing around loudly. (Anyone want two cats? Kidding…sort of.)
But this morning I was wide awake, thinking that there was no way I would be able to go back to sleep. As I lay there with my mind racing from subject to subject, I thought about the trend I’ve been seeing online where people are listing one thing they’re thankful for every day of November. Just as I was thinking about that, my feet found Andy’s and I immediately knew what I was thankful for: not just his warm feet, but him. Period. Exactly the way he is. And like he was reading my mind, he turned over in his sleep and put his arm around me. Two hours later, I woke up feeling more comfortable than I thought possible. Without fail, if he puts his arm around me, I fall asleep instantly. He’s my sleeping pill. And I’m thankful for that, too.
Now, am I also thankful for fig tarts? Yes, I think I am. My adoration for figs is fairly new and I’ve been buying them like crazy while they’re still in season at the farmer’s market. What I love about figs is that not only do they stand alone perfectly, but they also combine so well with other flavors. But what I’ve found is that I prefer dishes where the fig is allowed to shine, it’s flavors coming through loud and clear, even when paired with other ingredients. The bowl of pears sitting on the counter were practically screaming at me to use them with figs in a dessert, so what could I do? This very easy, very simple tart lets both the figs and pears stand out.
Fig and Pear Chocolate Tart
1 sheet refrigerated pie crust
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons water
4 ounces chocolate (I used 60% bittersweet)
10 figs, quartered (or enough to fill the tart)
2 pears, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Press pie dough into a 9” tart pan with removable bottom, then press a piece of buttered foil into crust. Fill with dried beans and blind bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil, prick bottom of crust with a fork, and bake for another 10 minutes uncovered, until crust is slightly brown. Remove and let cool.
In a small saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil and let thicken slightly. Brush the inside of the pie crust with the sugar mixture and allow to dry for about 15 minutes. Reserve remaining to glaze top of tart.
Heat chocolate in the microwave, stirring occasionally, until completely smooth. Spread chocolate evenly over the bottom of the crust.
Layer figs around the outer edge of the tart. Next, layer pears inside the row of figs, overlapping slightly. Lastly, layer figs in the middle of the tart. Brush the top of the fruit lightly with glaze.
Bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before cutting.
I’m always so proud of myself when a dessert comes out well, since I consider myself dessert recipe-challenged. (Although I do have to admit to a failed first version of this tart that involved caramel.) But this is such an unfussy tart and is so easy to make, it’s hard to go wrong. The layers of simple but flavorful ingredients turn it into something special. Rich chocolate, sweet pears and that earthy deliciousness of figs combine to make a perfect fall dessert.
So today I’m thankful for warm feet, a cozy bed, quiet animals, my sleeping pill (which happens to be my husband), and a chocolaty fig tart. Not a bad collection…