タルトレット • オ • フィグ Tartelette aux Figues
タルトレット • オ • フィグ Tartelette aux Figues, a re-creation of another of Hidemi Sugino’s recipes. I’d been wanting to try out this recipe ever since I’d gotten his book, Le Goût Authentique Retrouvé 素材より素材らしく―杉野英実の菓子 last year. In fact, it was the first recipe that I’d laid my eyes on and was like “WOW!”. There were several opportunities earlier on as we saw several imports of figs from Israel, California and then Israel again but somehow I’d let them slip by. Too ripe, not sweet enough, wrong tartlette moulds… so many deterring factors. Alas the stars finally aligned nicely with everything seemingly in place, so here I am trying it out!
Here’s a breakdown on the various components of the figs tart.
(A) Pâte sucrée
The recipe uses a basic pâte sucrée as the base which I’d handled before for Sugino’s other creation, Tahiti タヒチ Tartlette aux Mangue et Fruits de la Passion, which was simply delish! I’d also used it to replicate Sadaharu Aoki’s Tarte Fruits aux Rouge. It is a good recipe that yields very good results but the pastry dough is very soft and difficult to handle at room temperature. So one has to work really fast, minimlising time in and out of the fridge. For those interested, the recipe is here.
(B) Crème Frangipane
This is basically a mélange of two components, crème patisserie and creme d’amandes. The former is a very commonly used “component” of making pastries like filling choux pastries i.e. éclair, profiteroles, religieuses etc so its not hard to find a good recipe for it. The latter is essentially made from four components, butter at room temperature, icing sugar, eggs and ground almond in equal proportions mixed in the order stated above. The creme d’amandes is chilled after preparing for at least an hour and then combined with crème patisserie. The concoction is then piped over the generously docked pastry dough before being baked at 170C for about 20 – 25 min.
(C) Sirop d’ imbibage
After the tart base comes out of the oven, a layer of sirop d’ imbibage is generously applied over while its still hot. Sirop d’imbibage is essentially a mixture of sirop a 30oB infused with kirsch. Sirop a 30oB is first prepared by heating water and granulated sugar in a ratio of 1: 1.3. Upon cooling, kirsch is added for that oomph!
(D) Framboise pepins
After the layer of syrup, a layer of framboise pepins is copiously smeared over it. This has all got to be done while the pastry base is still hot, to allow for the fluids to be sufficiently absorbed on the crème frangipane. I’d prepared it before using Sugino’s recipe as a confiture spread to go along withChef Gregoire Michaud’s scones and the recipe is fantastic! Only that this time round, I’d deliberately strained out the seeds in between the maceration of the raspberries and addition of pectin as I personally found the experience of constantly biting into raspberry seeds rather jarring. The tart taste of raspberries was very refreshing and much welcomed here.
(E) Figues Garniture
For me, this is the real tricky bit of the whole recipe, not only technically but logistically. Fresh figs are highly seasonal and this year, we are really lucky to have quite a few batches of them. The first batch of figs came from israel in late feb – early march this year from last year’s shoot growth. They were very sweet and the texture was just right. Unfortunately, I didnt have the means to make Sugino’s recipe then. Next came the organic black Mission figs from California which came together with the latter batch israeli figs. the Californian black figs tasted great but unfortunately were too soft from being over-ripen. The second batch of israeli figs were simply crap. The most recent one is from Turkey and has a pretty decent batch of fruits, What’s intriguing for me this time round is how long the season is, spanning for more than a month now. This is the main crop growth of the year and the last one as well. I’m glad this batch is pretty satisfactory. For the tartelettes, choose figs which are just short of a few days from ripening. The fruit should still bear hues of green and is firm to touch. This makes them easier to handle, especially with the slicing part.
Figs go soft and mould very easily in our tropical weather and needs to be refrigerated all the time. In fact, the quality starts to degenerate rapidly once they are taken out of the fridge into room temperature. They are truely perishable and needs to be used and/or consumed fairly quickly after buying.
After washing and drying the figs, slice them into 16 pieces per fruit with skins on. Then remove their skins very carefully by means of a short and sharp knife. Lay the fig slices onto a tray and sprinkle with granulated sugar and a generous splosh of kirsch. Sit the fig slices in the fridge for about 30 min.
(F) Crème Chantilly
Another common commodity we often encounter in pastry making. It involves whipping cold full cream aka double cream with more than 35% buttermilk content with granulated sugar. I would say the cream to sugar ratio varies from 10:1 to 8:1 depends on the level of sweetness one desires. I kept it to 10:1 as the figs were already sweet. Set aside by leaving in the fridge.
The last bits include an apricot glaze (nappage a l’abricot) infused with kirsch, fresh raspberries to crown the tartelettes and round disks of sliced silician green pistachios for embellishment.
And this is workflow I’d used, working the tart up from the base.
(1) Prepare pâte sucrée and crème frangipane. These can be prepared separately the night before and rest in the fridge overnight. If time permits, prepare framboise pepins the day before as well.
(2) Slice figs into thin slices. Each fig should yield 16 slices. Lay them on a tray and sprinkle granulated sugar, followed by a generous splosh of kirsch over them. Sit the fig slices in the fridge for about 30 min.
(3) Lay pâte sucrée over tart moulds and pipe in crème frangipane. Return to the frdge for another 30 min.
(4) Meanwhile, prepare sirop d’imbibage and take framboise pepins out of the fridge to return to room temperature.
(5) Bake tart base at 170C for 20 – 25 min under a dark golden brown hue develops. While the pastry base is still hot and fresh out of the oven. Brush the surface with a layer of sirop d’imbibage followed by framboise pepins. Leave to cool down.
(6) Meanwhile, prepare crème chantilly and refrigerate to allow it to firm up.
(7) When everything is ready, bag crème chantilly and pipe a mould over the tart base. My largest nozzle is only 1 cm in diameter, so I had to do spirals instead of a molehill.
(8) Arrange the fig slices very carefully over the crème chantilly. Brush apricot glaze infused with kirsch over the fig slices in an upstroke direction. Crown with a raspberry and some slices of green pistachios.
Though the tartelettes can be made in a day, I’d spread the workflow over two to take it in a more leisurely manner. It also gives me time to troubleshoot. The most difficult component in this tartelette is actually slicing the figs. One needs a very sharp knife and certain level of dexterity to get them properly sliced and peeled. That’s something which I definitely need to work on more.
The other components are fairly easy to prepare and assemble. Just be very careful not to overwork the pastry dough which would cause it to become too crumble and hard after baking.
The key to this recipe is really in getting good figs, which is probably why despite the numerous photographs shared by folks all over the world who had visited Sugino’s dessert boutique in Tokyo, none had showed this piece before.
Thanks for Chef Lynn Chen, my macaron class instructor for explaining to me the process of brushing sirop d’imbibage and framboise pepins over the hot tart base. And of course to Chef Hidemi Sugino, for this beautiful creation amongst so many others, which not only looked good, but tastes good!Looking forward to making his “Belle Jardinière” Tartelette aux fraises et fruits aux rouge when korean strawberries are in season again. 🙂