It was love at first sight. A memorable first bite sealed the deal. By the second bite—a dizzying blend of the delicately mushy fruit, an earthy nuttiness, and a sweet apricot glaze, all spread like a romantic picnic on a slightly crunchy bed of shortbread—I was contemplating a long and satisfying relationship. By the third bite of Fig Hazelnut Frangipane Tart from Sweet Life Patisserie, I wanted to try baking one myself at home.
Luckily, Catherine Reinhart and Cheryl Reinhart, the two sisters who own and operate this terrific bakery in Eugene, Oregon, were willing to share. Turns out it’s fairly easy to make.
“You can even substitute other fruits and nuts,” Catherine says. “Apples, cherries, cranberries, and pears (even canned pears) work as well as figs. You can switch from hazelnuts to pistachios, almonds, or walnuts. My personal favorite combinations are fig-hazelnut, pear-walnut, cranberry-pistachio, and cherry-almond.”
Fig Hazelnut Frangipane Tart (serves 6-8)
Shortbread crust (makes one 9-inch tart)
– 1 cup flour
– ¼ cup sugar
– 4 oz cold salted butter, cut into small chunks
Combine flour, sugar and butter until dough comes together. Press or roll into a 9” fluted tart tin. Bake until light brown, about 25 minutes.
Hazelnut Frangipane Filling
– 4 oz salted butter at room temperature
– ½ cup sugar
– 1 cup finely ground hazelnuts
– 1 egg plus 1 yolk
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1 to 2 pints of fresh figs
Whip butter and sugar until light. Add nuts, eggs and vanilla extract. Beat until fluffy. Smooth into baked shortbread shell. Slice figs in half and arrange artfully on top of frangipane filling. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden. Let cool.
– 2 to 3 tablespoon apricot jelly
Warm jelly and brush it over top of tart.
Serve at room temperature with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.