Thursday, November 10, 2011

Being Thankful and a Fig Tart


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…


53 comments:

  1. Karen, this is beyond beautiful. I'm new to your blog and have just spent some time browsing through your earlier posts. I'm so glad I did that. I really like the food and recipes you share with your readers and I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  2. Karen, this is so beautiful and the shape is fo perfect!!!
    Have a nice day

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  3. What a wonderful presentation..and love the figs in Tart!

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  4. aw so sweet, the way you sleep better with his arm around you. Your tart is simply gorgeous.

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  5. This must be one of the most gorgeous tarts I've ever seen. And holy cow, what a flavor feast! I would absolutely devour this to the last crumb.:)

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  6. Fig, pears and chocolate! This looks so beautiful!

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  7. Wow--this is one beautiful tart! My husband would absolutely love this, being a huge fan of figs. Thank you for sharing--I may have to rethink that pear tarte tatin I was planning for my dinner party this weekend!

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  8. what a gorgeous tart karen! just perfect!

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  9. Yum! The tart looks delicious! And elegant too!

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  10. This tart is absolutely beautiful! I can't get over how amazing it looks and not to mention how delicious it looks too! :)

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  11. That looks beautiful! My husband and I have considered planting a fig tree but I honestly never knew what I would do with a fig! Now I know, thanks!

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  12. Wow, this tart looks beyond gorgeous!

    I'm loving the time change. It gives me enough light to go running in the morning!

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  13. Oh my that looks amazing! I am definitely hungry now!

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  14. Wow! This is stunning and it includes my two favorite ingredients! Figs and chocolate! I am definitely adding this to my recipe collection!

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  15. gorgeous photos! I have never thought of using figs in this sort of dessert! It looks delicious, though.

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  16. This is gorgeous! I have been wanting to try baking with figs and this looks like it could be a winner! Thanks for a great recipe!
    On another note, I love how you say your significant other is your sleeping pill...I always say that about my husband and its so true. Thankful for mine as well.

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  17. Oh my gosh, this is beautiful. I wish I could find figs around here. They seemed to only be around for a week or so. Love the flavors though. I bet this was absolutely amazing.

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  18. The tart looks gorgeous--chocolate and fig-double yum!

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  20. This tart is so gorgeous and I can only imagine how the figs and pears taste together. Such a good change up from the traditional holiday pies

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  21. This is a beautiful post and a beautiful tart! I am also so thankful for my husband - he's also my sleeping pill, especially when he reads to me from whatever book he's reading while I fall asleep. Good for you for appreciating him!

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  22. This is just beautiful! And I bet it tastes heavenly!

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  23. This looks amazingly elegant and delicious!

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  24. The tart looks absolutely delicious! What a great idea of being conscious of what we are thankful for, love it :)

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  25. I love the post ;) There are a lot of things we should be thankful of these days even some small things like perfectly baked goods when you least expected it ;D Just like you I'm also dessert recipe-challenged heck sometimes when I bake cookies - which everyone says it's easy as 123 :P :D - I botched mine from time to time .

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  26. I love reading your post. Made me think of the things I am thankful for. This little girl curled up beside me...(playing Angry Birds) and the man a thousand miles away from us physically but not an inch away in thoughts (goes by the name, husband) and the unlimited joy and satisfaction I find working in my kitchen with the help of the never ending tips and ideas from the world wide web, these are the things I am thankful for...This Fig and Pear Tart is another thing to be thankful for. =)

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  27. This tart is stunning. Gorgeous! And such a lovely post.

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  28. And I am thankful to have such a talented niece. The tart is beautiful and I'm sure it is delicious too!

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  29. I love this tart and I love that you and Andy are together.

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  30. Gorgeous Karen! Wonderful post too!

    Xoxo
    Heather

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  31. So very pretty! It's truly a joy to start and end each day expressing gratitude. I find that the more I count my blessings, the more I have to count.

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  32. i love the serenity of the wee hours in the mornings... but just like you, my mind keeps going and going like the bunny in the commercial haha.
    these are gorgeous clicks. great way to capture a grateful heart!
    have a happy day,
    malou

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  33. You should be proud of yourself - your tart looks absolutely gorgeous! I really enjoyed reading your post. Such a good reminder to be thankful for the things that we often take for granted.

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  34. Though I am sure that it tastes delicious, that tarte is too beautiful to eat!

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  35. You are a chef!! This looks amazing!! I'm so impressed!

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  36. So exquisitely done, Karen! If I can get past eating fresh figs, there will be tarts in the future.

    [At the moment, my figs barely make inside the house].

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  37. Wow! Great job. I love figs and that's a perfect autumn dessert.

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  38. Wow, Karen - stunning comes to mind!

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  39. Karen, this is one stunning tart!!! You need no help with baking AT ALL! So yummy~

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  40. I never had fresh figs before (just preserves) but this tart looks sooooo good I may try this one. :)

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  41. I must make this. I don't think mine will turn out as lovely... but it will be fun for Thanksgiving!

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  42. The last few days, I was going through the same situation as yours and today finally I woke up fresh and fine with proper sleep at night.
    I love figs .. fresh or dried and t taste good all the time. This tart is beautifully made .. just like a pro.

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  43. I agree with you about the early pre-dawn hours, they're magical. Your tart is magical, too. the addition of the chocolate really makes it special, and your photos are wonderful!
    Glad I bumped into your blog...I'll be back!

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  44. I've tried the pear and chocolate tart before, but adding figs is a brilliant idea! Can't wait to try that when figs are in season.

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  45. Looks soooo good but I can't find fresh figs anywhere i'm dying to try one.
    I redid my blog when you get a chance can you follow it? you follow my other blog
    http://mylifefoodandeverythinginbetween.blogspot.com/

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  46. OMG! What a gorgeous tart...if I could find some fresh figs right now, I'd be making this for myself right now. Just lovely with the pears and chocolate too! :) Thanks for sharing and definitely bookmarking to make.

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  47. wowww...this looks amazingly beautiful, Karen. Ive never tasted a fig tart before but yours is making my mouth water:DD

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  48. yeah right! This is really true! I love this post. But there is something lacking in your blog. You should put some pictures of it so that we will be encourage to read this blog. Thank you for posting this!

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