Lazy sophistication in a goats curd, fig and walnut tart

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Sometimes, a recipe says to me, ‘Make me, now, don’t wait.’

And I don’t wait. (Really, who would dare say no to a talking recipe?)

I had one of those moments when I saw a goats cheese, walnut, dried figs single crust pie on Johnny’s blog, Feed the Piglet. I recently discovered his blog, and it had me at hello. Those recipes for home made stock, beautifully laid tables complete with tall-stemmed glassware. As someone who often grabs a hasty lunch in the CBD, those tall-stemmed glassware, architectural potato stacks and parsley soup speak of holidays, weekends and fabulous feasts.

When I saw the recipe, I sat there looking at the computer screen for a good few minutes, trying to imagine the mingling of sweet and savoury, soft and crumbly. There was a roux made with home made stock, goats cheese, walnuts, dried figs and plumped-up prunes, all in a made-from-scratch shortcrust pastry case. It was intrigue at first sight.

So I went ahead and made the pie, or a lazy person’s version of. There was goats curd instead of goats cheese, no roux (the stock had run away with the risotto earlier in the week), and puff pastry instead of home made shortcrust. Then, the finished product looked more like frivolous tarts than sturdy serious pies, probably because I made them in mini pie dishes, and the puff pastry was a bit frou frou. 

Nonetheless, the finished tarts were things of beauty, despite my shortcuts and the slapdash rustic presentation (it was the best kind of Sydney winter’s morning, with such an achingly blue, cloudless sky, I couldn’t stay indoors for too long). The sweet, soft figs were set off by the tangy goats curd and the savoury walnuts. I added some roasted apples to the filling mix, and they provided a softer, tart-sweetness that melted into the goats curd filling.

The word that came to mind was sophisticated. There was nothing superficial about the flavours, they pulled you in and demanded that you think about and savour every bite.

And if my slapdash version was good, just think what Johnny’s original would be like.

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Recipe notes: I had bought a small tub of goat curd a few days ago (because everyone needs goat curd in their fridge, just in case), and this, mixed with fridge-cold egg whites, seemed to take longer to set in the oven. We had sweet, soft dried figs, which could be baked on top of the filling and retain moisture. Avoid those dried figs that are tough as leather and look like they can survive the zombie apocalypse, or soak them in warm water for 20 minutes before baking (pat dry with paper towels after soaking).

I used shop-bought puff pastry, made with real butter, to save time (and then nearly burnt the edges of the puff pastry pieces. Oops). One day, I will make my own puff pastry. Just not on a day with an achingly blue sky.

Oh, and I sprinkled some lemon thyme onto the tart just after they came out of the oven. I like their fragrance, and they seemed to like mingling with the goats curd.

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Lazy goats curd, figs and walnut tarts

(editorialised from Feed the Piglet)

Serves 4 as a light lunch

Ingredients

Measurements are approximate.

One sheet puff pastry, cut into four squares
Eggwhites from 2 small-medium eggs
100g goats curd
A small handful of walnuts (I used 3-4 pieces of walnuts per tart)
8 dried figs, stem end removed, sliced in half horizontally (so you get flat discs with the seeds showing)
Optional: roasted apples, or prunes, diced coarsely
Optional: two sprigs of lemon thyme

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 175C / 350F.

2. Oil four mini pie tins. When puff pastry is defrosted sufficiently so the pieces can be bent, place one piece of puff pastry into each pie tin. Line the puff pastry with foil, fill with pie weights, and bake in the oven until the puff pastry is partially cooked but the tips and edges remain a very light brown. This took me about 7 minutes, but please keep watching your oven until it is done. Turn the oven down to about 160C / 320F.

3. Whisk egg white and goats curd together until they are combined with no streaks remaining.

4. Remove the foil and pie weights from the tart case. Break up 2 pieces of walnut and place into a tart case. Add some diced apples or prunes if you like. Top each tart with four discs of sliced dried figs (so two figs per tart). Repeat with the other three tart cases.

5. Spoon the goats curd mixture over the walnuts and apples. Fill each tart case until the goats curd mixture just reaches the fig slices (and not much more than 3/4 full, as the filling puffed up a bit during baking).

6. Place tart tins onto a heavy baking tray and into the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the filling is set (this may take longer if the egg whites were not at room temperature). I added another few pieces of walnuts to the tart for the last two minutes of baking so the walnuts were slightly toasted. Scatter with lemon thyme leaves when the tarts come out of the oven.

Serve warm, with a piquant green salad.

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16 thoughts on “Lazy sophistication in a goats curd, fig and walnut tart

  1. Sunny 27 May 2013 at 1:02 am Reply

    Mmmm… that looks so incredibly good! I’ll have to search for goat curd now… 🙂

    • saucygander 28 May 2013 at 8:02 am Reply

      Hi Sunny, thanks for the visit. The tart was pretty good, especially considering how little time it took! Goats cheese would also work, if you don’t have curd. Johnny’s recipe uses goats cheese and a roux for a low fat filling.

  2. Liz 27 May 2013 at 1:59 am Reply

    Fun to read and what a lovely recipe. A talking recipe even 😉

    • saucygander 28 May 2013 at 8:04 am Reply

      Oh yes, talking recipes. Next it will be were-recipes. (Recipes that turn into real food in full moon?) 🙂

      • Liz 28 May 2013 at 8:34 am

        awesome! 🙂

  3. lovinghomemade 27 May 2013 at 2:37 am Reply

    That sounds absolutely delicious and relatively easy, which is my kind of savoury recipe. Just wondering what the difference between goat’s cheese and goat’s curd is, and if you could use goat’s cheese instead?

  4. johnnysenough hepburn 27 May 2013 at 8:22 am Reply

    – Yes, I’m with Liz – a talking recipe, no less.
    – I’m pleased that your egg whites did set. I’ve never used them within a pie or quiche before, only ever egg yolks. Egg whites seem to be popular as omelettes, too. Have never tried that either.
    – I’m so pleased one of my recipes ‘called you’, or ‘spoke to you’. After all, there’s nothing unusual about the combination that I’ve used. Admittedly, I’ve never heard of goat’s curd before now.
    – Don’t want to dampen your enthusiasm for making puff pastry but…I had to at catering college, and I swore then never again 🙂

  5. annumography 27 May 2013 at 11:25 pm Reply

    You say slapdash; I say attainable. The simpler the recipe, the purer…and the sooner in your belly.

  6. yummychunklet 28 May 2013 at 2:17 pm Reply

    What a delicious combination of flavors and so easy to prepare!

  7. thehungrymum 28 May 2013 at 10:06 pm Reply

    Oooh, baby! I am a little bit in love with goat’s curd. Bookmarking this delish recipe 🙂

  8. Sujatha 28 May 2013 at 10:17 pm Reply

    Thanks for stopping by and liking my post 🙂

    These tarts look lovely, a great combination of flavours and textures, mouth watering! 🙂

  9. thelittleloaf 29 May 2013 at 12:00 am Reply

    These look gorgeous! I’m not sure I’ve ever cooked or baked with goat’s curd but looks and sounds delicious.

    • saucygander 2 June 2013 at 8:26 am Reply

      Thanks, the goats curd was delicious, it had the pungent tang of goats cheese, but in a creamy, more liquid form. We will be having more of it, for sure!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Anne ~ Uni Homemaker 30 May 2013 at 5:15 am Reply

    These tarts look so cute and delicious! Don’t you just love Johnny? He’s so creative with his pictures and food. Love your adaptation of the recipe.

    • saucygander 2 June 2013 at 8:27 am Reply

      Johnny’s blog is so good, I find myself wanting to (and actually) make almost all of his recipes. 🙂

  11. Young Wifey 2 June 2013 at 12:29 am Reply

    Yum, yum!

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