My fig tree is saying goodbye. Goodbye to the summer, goodbye to her languorous days in the sun and goodbye to all her evergreen friends. She flaps her leaves bravely in the brisk, Sydney breeze, hoping for one last swansong. To be loved one more time before her curtain falls. Yes, it is pruning season and she senses doom – an un-greenfinger bearing pruning shears. We both don’t know if she will survive it. If she will live to see another bright, sparkling, glorious, Sydney summer. But such is life. Seasons pass, time advances, we love and we learn.
We have decided to honour her last bounty in the best possible way. Let her signature fruit be exalted by simple, clean flavours and take pride of place in each fond eaters memory.
Autumnal, French fig pie with cardamom clotted cream
This has to be my favourite fig dessert. The figs are lightly nestled amongst rich, buttery frangipane and baked in a sweet, crumbly shortcrust pastry. I lightly fold the pastry up over the frangipane and figs to allow the sides to brown up. It is best served straight from the oven with a large (I stress large) dollop of cardamom-sweetened clotted cream. I have had this pie many times over in quaint, little French villages where locals use whatever fruit is in season. It is thrown together quickly just like it has come from a French, farmyard kitchen – easy, relaxed and bursting with flavour. The flavours are warm, earthy and homely – just what you feel like after a day out in falling leaves and blustery breezes.
Enjoy, savour and devour!
Autumnal, French fig pie with cardamom clotted cream recipe
Prep time 1 hour
Cook time 20 minutes
Sweet shortcrust pastry
1 cup plain flour
75g butter, softened
¼ cup caster sugar
1 medium egg yolk
1 Tbsp cold water
1 portion of sweet shortcrust pastry
2 cups ground almonds
100g butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp ground cinnamon
8-10 large ripe figs, washed and sliced
500ml clotted cream
1 Tbsp icing sugar
2 tsp cardamom
Sweet shortcrust pastry– adapted from Edmonds Cookbook
Sift flour into a bowl. Cut in butter with a knife until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. This can also be done in a food processor. Stir in the sugar and then add the egg and water. Mix to a smooth dough. Roll into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and place in fridge to chill for 30 minutes before using.
Preheat oven to 180°C/375°F. Grease a baking tray. Lightly sprinkle flour over your benchtop and roll pastry out to 5mm thick to form a rough circle. Using the rolling pin, roll your pastry around the rolling pin and lift it onto the baking tray. Unroll the pastry to sit in the center of the baking tray. In a bowl mix the melted butter, ground almonds, vanilla and cinnamon to make frangipane. It should be a moist doughy consistency. Pour the frangipane into the center of the pastry and spread evenly out over the pastry leaving a 50mm border of pastry around the edge. Lay the figs from the center of the pie, overlapping to form a circular pattern. Now fold up the edges of pie and squeeze the pastry to form an upstand. Sprinkle with a tsp of caster sugar and ½ tsp of cinnamon. Place in the center of the oven and cook for 20 minutes or until the pastry is lightly brown and cooked through. While the pie is cooking, empty clotted cream into a bowl and stir through icing sugar and cardamom.
Remove from the oven and serve thick slices of pie with a large dollop of cardamom clotted cream.
Enjoy, savour and devour!