Sugar is a hot topic at the moment. We’ve got Jamie Oliver telling us to give up soft drinks and doctors telling us that fruit juice could kill. Personally, I think it’s all slightly obsessive. I believe in living – whether that means sky-diving from 40,000 feet above ground or really pushing the boat out and having a Kit Kat Chunky after lunch.
There are those other times though when it’s better to keep your feet firmly on the ground, or indeed to keep your after lunch snack sugar-free. Here, I’m sharing a recipe that won’t have you curled up in the fetal position begging for a fix, despite the fact it contains no sugar whatsoever. Who says too much of a good thing is bad for you anyway?
Fig, Honey & Bay Tart (serves around 8)
150g light spelt flour
100g ground almonds
2 tsp honey
90g butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
A few splashes of cold water (only if necessary)
6 large, ripe figs, sliced
8 bay leaves
100g butter, at room temperature
5 tbsp honey
2 large eggs
100g ground almonds
2 tbsp spelt flour (or plain if that’s all you have)
1 lemon, zested
1 clementine, zested (feel free to use orange, or even satsuma if that’s what you’ve got lying around)
1 tsp vanilla extract
To make your pastry, put the flour, almonds and honey into a large bowl. Using your hands, rub the butter into the flour mixture until it looks a bit like wet sand, then add the egg yolk into the mixture.
If your mix is too dry, slowly add a little water until it comes together to form a dough, then wrap it in clingfilm and let it rest in the fridge for about half an hour.
While the pastry rests, make your frangipane filling. Mix the room temperature butter and honey until combined and then add the eggs one at a time and stir well. Mix in the almonds, flour, citrus zests and vanilla until you have a thick paste and no lumps.
Butter a 22cm loose-bottomed tart dish. On a floured surface (go ahead and use the spelt flour), roll out your pastry until it is about 0.5cm thick. Roll your pastry around the rolling pin, then ease it into the tin, making sure you push it into all the sides. Don’t worry if you have any cracks or breaks, you can patch it up with the leftover dough you trim off the sides. Then prick the base of the pastry with a fork and pop it into the freezer for 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 180C. Take some greaseproof paper, scrunch it up, then unwrap it and use it to line your pastry case. Fill the case with ceramic baking beans, and bake blind for 10 minutes. Take the case out, remove the beans and greaseproof paper, then return to the oven to cook for a further 5 minutes until it’s firm and lightly browned. Leave to cool slightly.
Lay half of the fig slices over the cooked pastry, top with the frangipane, then lay the rest of the fig, pushing into the frangipane a little. Lay over the bay leaves and push these in as well.
Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until the frangipane is set and golden brown. If it starts to look too brown before it’s finished cooking, cover it with foil. Allow to cool before you remove from the tart dish.
To serve, mix yoghurt with honey and serve a dollop on top, with yet more honey drizzled over that.