Julia Busuttil Nishimura's Fig, Pistachio and Honey Tart
Welcome to Put on a Spread, a recipe series that takes you inside the kitchens – and dining rooms – of some of our favourite home cooks. For this instalment, cookbook author and food writer Julia Busuttil Nishimura shares her recipe for a fig, pistachio and honey tart.
With a delicate shortcrust pastry and creamy filling, Julia Busuttil Nishimura's fig, pistachio and honey tart is a treat for the eyes and the soul. With only two tablespoons of sugar in the whole recipe, it's one for those who don't like their desserts too sickly. Here, the figs and honey give a fresh sweetness, the pistachios add a crunch, and the buttery crust and smooth filling balance the texture beautifully.
Whether you've invited your grandparents over for afternoon tea, or you're bringing a dessert plate along to a baby shower, this tart is a stunning addition to the table. It's stress-free too, as Julia says, "everything can be prepared before hand and assembled right at the last minute."
The best part is, you can use this same recipe year-round – just swap the topping for whatever fruit is in season. Julia recommends berries in spring, stone fruit in summer and even stewed rhubarb during the cooler months.
For the filling:
- 200ml creme fraiche
- 200ml pure cream
- 1 tbsp pure icing sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped or 1tsp vanilla bean paste
- 200g mascarpone
- 1 orange, zested
For the pastry:
- 350g plain flour
- Pinch sea salt
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 200g cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 100-150ml iced cold water
For the topping:
- 6 figs, halved
- 50g pistachios, sliced
- Honey, to drizzle
To make the dough for the pastry, mix the flour, salt and sugar together in a large bowl. Rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips or a pastry cutter until the mixture is pebbly. You want to almost rub the butter into flatter pieces rather than into something that resembles breadcrumbs. Sprinkle in the vinegar and enough iced water to just bring the dough together. It will still be shaggy but shouldn’t be dry or floury and hold together when pressed. Flatten into a disc, wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Allow the pastry to rest out of the fridge for 10 minutes.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface into a large round, about 3 mm thick, massaging the edges as you roll to prevent it from cracking too much. Drape the pastry into the prepared tray, pressing it into the tin. Roll the rolling pin along the top of the tin to trim any overhanging pastry. Line with baking paper and fill the tart with baking weights or rice or dried beans. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until the tart is pale golden. Remove the baking paper and weights and bake for a further 10-15 minutes until golden and cooked. Allow to cool completely then remove from tin and set the tart shell aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the creme fraiche and cream with the icing sugar and vanilla until soft pillowy peaks form. Using a hand whisk, gently whisk in the mascarpone. I like to do this by hand as mascarpone easily splits if overworked. Stir through the orange zest.
Spoon into the cooled tart shell and top with the figs, pistachios and a generous drizzling of honey.
For more from Julia, follow her at @juliaostro