Fig tarts with honeyed mascarpone and toasted almonds
- Turn oven to 150 deg C (fan). Sprinkle flaked almonds over a metal baking tray and toast for about 10 mins until just starting to brown. Remove from oven and pour into a bowl. Return empty baking sheet to oven and increase heat to 200 deg C (fan).
- Take a 25-30cm square sheet of butter puff pastry. Roll it out a little thinner with a rolling pin.
- Use a bowl about 13-15cm in diameter, upside down and pressed into the pastry, to cut out your 4 pastry circles.
- Place each pastry circle on a square of greaseproof paper slightly bigger than it is.
- With the point of a small sharp knife score each pastry in a circle 1cm in from the edge, right round. Just scoring the surface not cutting right through the pastry.
- Cut off the stalky bit at the top of each fig. Slice the figs thinly, top to bottom. Discard side pieces and any uneven slices. Save 4 small fig slices to put over the middle of each tart.
- Put a large teaspoon of apricot jam in the middle of each pastry circle, and spread it evenly with the back of a spoon, taking care to stay within the inner circle you marked with the knife.
- Arrange the larger fig slices in a circle around the centre of each pastry circle, so each one overlaps half of the previous one. Place a small fig slice over the middle of each tart.
- Place a tablespoon of apricot jam in a microwaveable container and add a teaspoon of water. Heat for 20 seconds in microwave until melted, then stir.
- Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the surface of each tart (fig slices and pastry) with the warm diluted apricot jam.
- Take hot baking tray out of oven and carefully move each tart on its greaseproof paper on to the tray. place tray in oven for 10-15 minutes until pastry has risen and started to brown.
- While tarts are cooking mix honey with mascarpone and beat with a spoon until desired consistency achieved.
- Remove tarts from oven and allow to cool for a moment, before using a fish slice to remove each tart from the greaseproof paper and transfer to its serving plate.
- Place a large quenelle (or spoonful) of honeyed mascarpone in the centre of each tart and a generous sprinkle of toasted almonds over it. Serve immediately as the mascarpone will start to melt quickly.
- Optional garnish - if you have the Persian fairy floss place a swirl on the tart as a base for the honeyed mascarpone – it means the mascarpone won't melt so fast. Then arrange a larger swirl of the fairy floss on top of the mascarpone for dramatic effect - sprinkling the toasted almond flakes over it (see photo).
- If you don't have a really sharp knife try using a serrated knife so you can cut the figs thinly enough, without squashing them.
- The Persian fairy floss makes a great talking point for a dinner party. It's available from Selfridges in a range of flavours, or direct online from Pariya.
- If you can't get hold of the Persian fairy floss you could instead add a couple of drops of pure vanilla essence (or the seeds from a vanilla bean) to the honeyed mascarpone. Mix it in thoroughly.
- For a dinner party you can do up to the end of step 8 in advance, and just put the tarts in the fridge until you are ready to cook them (and you can also make the honeyed mascarpone in step 12 earlier).