Succulent, sweet and enticing, figs are ripening on trees all over Louisiana. In spring and summer, the distinctive lush green leaves and orbs of rosy fruit are as pleasing to the eye as the barren, skeletal branches of the deciduous trees are not in times of dormancy.
Native to Asia Minor, the fig tree (ficus carica) is one of the earliest fruit trees to have been cultivated by humans as a food source.
According to Dan Gill, a well-known horticulturist with the LSU AgCenter, just about any variety of fig tree will thrive in Louisiana, with Celeste, which produces small to medium sized fruit being among the most common as well as desirable. Since 1991 the LSU AgCenter has been prolific in the development of new fig varieties for the native landscape and table: LSU Purple (medium-size, dark purple fruit), LSU Gold (flavorful yellow, medium-size, yellow fruit), O’Rourke (medium-size, light brown fruit); Champagne (medium size with light red to pink pulp) and Tiger (large, light brown fruit with a darker brown stripe).
There are plenty of figs to be found. Chances are if you know someone with a tree they will enthusiastically offer to share. Abundant figs have this in common with cucumber and tomatoes.
Following is a simple but stunning way to enjoy all those fresh, sweet figs. Serve as an easy appetizer or a light, sweet-savory dessert. Consider pairing it with an ice cold demi-sec Champagne or an aged Port.
Honeyed Fig and Boursin Tarte
Servings: 6 to 8
Unbleached all-purpose flour, for dusting
1 sheet (half of a 17.3-oz. package) frozen puff pastry, thawed overnight in the refrigerator
4 ounces Boursin cheese with shallots
1/4 cup honey (preferably dark)
8 ripe, fresh figs (6 if large), preferably 4 black and 4 green, stemmed and quartered lengthwise
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1. Lightly dust a sheet of parchment with flour. Unfold the pastry, place on top of the parchment, and lightly dust with flour. Roll out the pastry to a 10-inch square. Prick all over with a fork at 1/2-inch intervals. Make a 3/4-inch border on all sides by pressing the edge of a ruler into the pastry to mark it. Fold the pastry over at the markings to make a double-thick rim. Transfer the pastry on the parchment to a rimmed baking sheet. (The pastry can be prepared up to this point a few hours ahead and kept in the refrigerator.) Bake until the center is golden-brown and puffed, about 8 minutes.
1. Meanwhile, combine the goat cheese and 2 Tbs. of the honey in a medium bowl. Spread the cheese mixture inside the border of the puff pastry. Arrange the figs on the cheese, alternating colors if you like. Sprinkle with the rosemary and 1/8 tsp. salt. Bake until the rim of the pastry is golden-brown, about 7 minutes.
1. Drizzle with the remaining 2 Tbs. honey and cool for about 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
- Other fresh fruits, such as peaches, strawberries, blackberries, pears, or apples may be used if figs are not available
- Use softened goat cheese, cream cheese or Mascarpone in place of the Boursin
- For a more substantial tarte add julienned pieces of thinly sliced Proscuitto di Parma just before the final baking.
View this post on Instagram
Cook With Us!
Join Jyl in the kitchen each third Tuesday of the month for a cook-along with tips, tricks and more. @NewOrleansMagazine