Whenever I hit up my local farmer’s market, I’m always so tempted to snag myself some figs and just head for the hills to devour them whole. The biggest turn-off about a fig? The price tag. I don’t know about you, but I can’t justify spending $8 a basket on 6 or 7 beauties, no matter how perfectly ripe and tasty they happen to be. Luckily for me, I made a discovery last month that I have been waiting patiently to come to fruition (hah, get it): My neighbor’s fig tree.
I’ve known most of the people in my neighborhood since I was toddling around in diapers (presumably gorging myself on figs), so there aren’t too many surprises when it comes to the flora and fauna that surround my childhood home. I just so happened to be digging around behind the garage for a ladder the other day when I stepped on something that didn’t quite feel like it belonged on the ground. As I’m usually barefoot, this was a bit disconcerting. Looking down, I saw a half-ripened (and now half-smooshed) fig! It was only then that I noticed that my neighbor’s fig tree had grown so much in the past few years that it now happily hangs over the back fence, parading its delectable fruits. Jackpot. I put my ladder to good use and harvested as many of the babies as I could get my paws on.
I made this little guy for brunch at my friend’s birthday celebration up in Arrowhead this weekend and it was a huge hit. You really can’t go wrong with some caramelized onions and goat cheese if I’m being honest.
- 1 pastry crust (make sure it’s fully thawed if store bought)
- 6-8 ripe figs
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 1/4 cup goat cheese (basically half of a small log)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 lemon
Kitchen Tools: rolling pin, large sauté pan, baking sheet, microplane
Peel, halve, and thinly slice your onion. Discard peel and root. In your sauté pan, heat olive oil on medium low. Toss in your sliced onion and spread in an even layer. Reduce heat to just above a simmer and season with a pinch of salt. Add in the butter and let it melt before stirring it in. The key is touching the onions as little as possible to let them fully caramelize. Keep the heat super low – if they start to brown after 10 minutes or so, lower the heat even more.
You’re going to let the onions cook at this super low heat for around 40 minutes in total. Every 10 minutes, stir them around a bit, then flatten them back out in an even layer again. Season again with salt at the 20 minute mark. While your onions are caramelizing, assemble the rest of the tart.
Preheat your oven to 400*F. On a flat surface, roll out your pastry crust. If, like me, you opted for the store bought variety, just give it a few rolls to even out the edges a bit. Place pastry crust on baking sheet. Remove stems from figs and cut them lengthwise into about 1/4″ thick slices. Set aside on your cutting board.
Using a butter knife, spread about half the goat cheese onto the pastry crust, leaving a 1/2″ border free of cheese around the edges. Once the caramelized onions are done cooking, spread them in an even layer on top of the goat cheese, still ‘staying within the lines’ in the border. Arrange fig slices on top of onions and goat cheese, keeping to the same border restrictions.
Fold all the pastry crust edges over and pinch them together at the corners. This is why we kept that border – don’t want any figs bursting out in the oven! Crumble remaining goat cheese over the top and sprinkle with brown sugar.
Bake at 400 for 15 – 20 minutes until the pastry crust is a golden brown and flaky. Let cool for 15 minutes then zest about 1/8 tsp of lemon zest onto the top of the tart with your microplane. Just enough to give it a good sprinkling. Serve and enjoy.