Archive for January 29th, 2007

Very(!) rustic fig and ricotta crostata

 Fig tree

You may remember me complaining about the high prices of figs in a previous post. Well, I’m not grumbling anymore. It is now peak season for figs and because I’ve been lucky enough to know some people with fig trees, they have kindly given me some of their excess fruit. So of late, I’ve been gorging myself with figs, just by itself or with cereal at breakfast.

About a week ago, I was invited along with some others to a dinner to farewell a friend who had come back for a holiday. The dinner was held at his parents’ place in the hills just out of Perth. We went on an “excursion” of the property, picking and eating our way through each fig tree. Some were of the green variety, others purple. The green ones did it for me. They had a deep purple interior that oozed a thick sweet syrup. We were getting full even before dinner started! After the fantastic meal, we were given a couple of boxes of figs to take home. You can imagine my excitement…go on…try. I was pretty thrilled at the prospect of eating and using these in the days that were to come and not having to pay $3 for each fig!

Figs are great eaten fresh but I got a bit tired after a while and wanted to make a dessert. So the idea for this crostata came about. You could even use store-bought dough if you wanted to but this really isn’t difficult to make.

Rustic fig crostata

Fig and ricotta crostata

250g ricotta
10-15 medium sized fresh figs
250g plain flour (not strong bread flour)
120g cold unsalted butter, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon iced water
1 egg
5 tablespoons honey

Drain ricotta in a fine sieve for 30 minutes. Slice figs and set aside. Place butter and flour in a food processor and process until the mixture resembles the texture of breadcrumbs. Do not overprocess. Add iced water and process on low setting until dough just starts to come together. If necessary, add more iced water one tablespoonful at a time. From dough into a ball and wrap in plastic cling film. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200° C/400° F.

Beat drained ricotta and egg until combined. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface into a rough round about 3mm thick. Spoon ricotta mixture onto dough and spread evenly, leaving a border of about 5cm. Arrange slices of fig on top (overlapping slightly). Fold and pinch the edges of the dough up over the filling. Drizzle with honey.

Bake until crust is golden.

Rustic fig crostata

Enjoy this with a cup of tea/coffee or make it for an after-dinner dessert and have it with a nice glass of dessert wine or sweet liquer.

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