My fig trees are behaving themselves this year. We planted four varieties – actually that is not strictly speaking true – we planted three varieties and another planted itself. It could not have worked out better though. The trees we planted were an early black variety called La Breva, which has a very early small crop in May, followed by its main crop of very sweet large fruit throughout the month of July going into August. As these come to an end the green figs start to ripen. One tree has large fruit for eating and the other smaller fruit for drying. The do-it-yourself tree crops from June to October with small black very sweet fruit that are good to eat or dry. I wish that I knew which variety it was then I could reccomend it.
The above description is how the trees are supposed to behave, but some years, depending on the weather, all the trees crop at the same time which makes quite a lot of work to deal with them.
The surplus Breva are made into Caramelised Fig Jam which is sold throught the farm shop and is very popular. The small figs are dried for the winter. As for the sun dried tomatoes, I use a fold out clothes drier with a sheet of mesh or fabric pegged to it to make a flat surface, and place it in a spot with all day sun and a breeze. Leave the figs whole and just place on the mesh. Bring them in at night so that they are not re-moistened by the dew. Turn them each day. I have problems with bugs getting in the green figs, but not the black ones. I think that this is because the end where the flower was on the green ones, it leaves a little hole that the bugs can use as an entrance. I am experimenting at the moment with stopping up this hole with a paste made from bread and water. I will report back on success or lack of it.
The fresh figs are complemented by anything salty, so are very good with Serrano Ham or salty cheese as in the above salad of Oak Leaved Lettuce, La Breva Figs, Goats Cheese, and Fresh Mint dressed with Basamic Syrup.
For a shallow 28 cm diameter tart tin
500 gms fresh figs
100 ml thick cream
3 large eggs
Fresh or bought puff pastry to line the tart tin
250 gms crema de almendras / 200 gms ground almonds and 50 gms sugar
This is a very quick and easy tart to prepare particularly if you are using bought puff pastry.
Preheat the oven to 180 C.
Roll out the pastry and lay out in the tart tin. You will see from my photos that I like to line the tart tin with baking parchment, it just makes it that little bit easier to slide the tart out of the tin.
Wash and dry the figs. Cut them into quarters. Arrange them on top of the pastry close together and in a pattern that pleases you.
Mix together the eggs, cream and almond cream or ground almonds and sugar.
When well amalgamated, spoon evenly over the figs.
Bake for 1 hour at 180 C until golden brown. Let cool slightly before serving.