This tart was love at first bite. The idea of figs mixed with the flavor of hazelnuts and scented with lavender, is almost a pleasure/sensory overload, but no. It’s just right.
(CLICK THE LINKED INGREDIENTS FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THEIR APHRODISIACAL PROPERTIES…)
For the Crust:
- 1 1/2 cups Gluten Free Flour (or replace with regular flour)
- 1/2 cup hazelnut meal (almond meal is also great for this recipe)
- 1 egg, beaten slightly + extra for brushing.
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar
- 10 Tbsp salted butter (or a pinch of salt if using unsalted) chilled and chopped
For the Hazelnut Frangipane:
- 6 tablespoons butter, chilled
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup ground hazelnut meal
- 1/4 cup almond meal
- 1 large egg + 1 egg white
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp Frangelico, Amaretto or other nut liquor
For the Lavender Cream:
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 4 tbsp fresh or 2 tbsp cooking lavender
- about 6 blueberries or 4 blackberries
- 1 tbsp white sugar
For the Lemon-Glaze
- 1/2 a lemon’s juice
- 1/2 a lemon’s zest
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- 2 tbsp water
First things first – Lavender cream. There are several ways to do this, some less time consuming than others. But I found the best way to do it was the 1-2 day method. Where you have the fresh or cooking lavender infusing in the cream in the fridge until you can really taste the lavender. The other way, where you heat the cream & lavender very slowly in a saucepan until just before simmering, then let sit in the fridge for 2 hours. For some reason the cream would not whip after I tried that, but maybe I didn’t let the cream sit long enough. Regardless, I will let you choose which one suits your timing.
The next process once the cream is infused is to make a quick purple die for your cream. All you need to do is place the sugar, water and blueberries (preferable) or blackberries in a saucepan, cook for about 2 minutes on low-medium, then strain the mixture and there you will have a potent purple die to add some visual pop to your cream. Drop A FEW droplets into the cream mixture and mix, slowly adding more until the desired very light lavender-ish color is achieved. Set syrup aside, there will a be small amount left for later. Now you can set cream aside until whipping-time.
Crust time – Preheat oven to 400 Farenheit / 200 Celsius
Sift the flour and almond meal into a large mixing bowl, afterwards sprinkling in your sugar and mixing well. Add the chilled butter and work through with your hands – I tend to use my hands as regularly as possible in mixing, tasting, stirring – giving an ample moment to flavor test at any given time. Once the mix crumbles through you fingers, and butter is integrated, you can add the egg, mixing through until it forms into a dough ball. The gluten free recipe is definitely more crumbly and likely to fall apart, but luckily we are going for a crumbly-fall-apart short-bread style crust! Carefully press and form the dough into a short-medium depth tart dish and don’t worry if it seems as if it will erode if you breathe too heavily – just press it firmly together and after the tart is all cooked and set, it stays together perfectly. Bake the shell for approx 15 minutes, or until just starting to turn golden.
Meanwhile, start your frangipane mixture by mixing together the butter and the sugar, afterwards the nut-meals – incorporate, and finally the liquor, the egg and the vanilla. Whisk until a smooth thick battery texture. Once the tart crust is ready, pour the frangipane into the centre, and smooth out if necessary. Place your figs elegantly across the top of the frangipane, pressing in slightly, but not submerged. Brush the edges of the crust with a little egg, and brush the figs very lightly with the remaining purple syrup. Place back in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the frangipane has risen and the figs are looking soft and caramelized around the edges.
Meanwhile, if your hazelnuts are not already roasted then you can throw them in a tray alongside the tart, for a fresh-roast aroma.
For the lemon-glaze which is very light – just to add a mild acidity, place all ingredients in a saucepan and cook for about 4 minutes on a low heat.
When the pie comes out of the oven, sprinkle the hazelnuts over, and drizzle the lemon glaze all around (make sure to get it on the crust too!) and let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving. The longer it sits, the better it will stay together and the better it will taste, too… Serve with your now-whipped lavender cream, and viola! Indulge…