Browning the butter in the anglaise (vanilla cream) gives this tart warmth, richness and a slight nuttiness - the perfect pairing for the gooey figs.
- 170 g plain flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
- Pinch salt
- 100 g unsalted butter, cubed
- 50 g caster sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 500 g mascarpone cheese
- 6 tbsp clear honey
- 6 large, 7 medium or 8 small fresh figs, stems trimmed and halved
- 50 ml double cream
- 1 vanilla pod, seeds removed
- 50 ml milk
- 6 egg yolks
- 50 g skim milk powder
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
For the pastry, mix flour, salt and butter, starting slow with the mixer then speeding it up as it comes together. Add sugar, mixing until it resembles a fine breadcrumb. Add egg yolk and cream to the flour mix until it comes together to form a dough.
On a floured surface, turn out the dough and press together into a sphere. Cover in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
For the crème anglaise, pour the double cream and milk into a pot on the stove, bringing it up to a simmer with half a teaspoon of sugar and the scooped seeds from the vanilla pod. Then, add the pod itself for extra flavour and let it simmer for about five minutes.
In a separate bowl, add 6 egg yolks and the rest of the sugar and whisk until it just comes together. Slowly poor the milk and cream into the egg and sugar mix, stirring until it combines, then transfer back to the pot. Pass through a sieve to remove the big portions of vanilla pod. Set aside.
For the brown butter, place 100 g of unsalted butter in a pot over a low heat until it starts to brown, bubble and foam. After a minute, add in 50 g skim milk powder, stirring quickly. Remove from heat as soon as it comes together to form a breadcrumb texture. Add the browned butter mix to the crème anglaise, using a stick blender to pulse together. Pass through a sieve to remove any lumps and set aside in the fridge.
Remove dough from the fridge and turn out onto a floured surface, rolling it flat. Line a 25cm, loose-bottom pastry tin with baking paper, then press the rolled out pastry into the tin. Lay baking paper on top, fill with baking beans and blind-bake for 10 minutes. Remove paper and beans and cook for a further three minutes. Remove from the oven and lower the temperature to 160°C.
Halve the figs and caramelise them with a blowtorch.
For the filling, soften the mascarpone with the honey in a saucepan over a low heat. Pour into the pastry case, then lay the figs on top, cut-side up. Bake for 30 minutes or until it just starts to turn golden around the edges. Allow to cool before removing from the tin and cutting. Pour the crème anglaise over the top and serve.