Monday, 22 September 2014
Fig and almond crostata
Our weekly fruit and vegetable market is just on my way to school, and if you visit it later in the day, almost at closing time, you can get really good bargains. As I was passing through the market last Thursday, I could hear the fruit vendor shouting at the top of his voice "10 figs for £3!" and couldn't resist such a nice offer. I got my fresh figs, picked up my younger son from school, and we rushed home to wait for the school bus, bringing my older son home. My initial plan was to make some fig chutney, but then I happened to discover a recipe for fig and almond confiture with Vin Santo on Simona's Kitchen blog. It looked delightfully sophisticated and I just had to try it. After I made a big jar, I used the confiture as a filling for a crostata for yesterday's lunch.
Do read Simona's recipe, I followed her advice closely enough, though I had to adapt it to suit the amount of figs, and change some ingredients slightly.
I used a dark variety of figs. When I weighed them, the total weight was 750g. The original recipe suggested that sugar should be roughly half the weight if figs. I didn't have enough of Vin Santo, only leftovers in the bottle, so I mixed it with Muscat wine.
Please read Simona's recipe for the precise list of ingredients.
I soaked the quartered figs in sugar and sweet wine overnight, then cooked for half an hour with the almonds and 4 Rose Extract Spice Drops (added by the end of cooking).
Rose Extract Spice Drops from Holy Lama are a concentrated essence of rose. You literally need just a few drops to add a beautiful aroma and enhance the taste. Rose is a trendy ingredient nowadays, though I have been using it quite a while. I always dry the rose petals from my garden to add to my cooking. Rose Spice Drops have an exquisite smell, I can probably wear it as a perfume.
Going back to my confiture, it was simply luscious, sweet, elegant and very tasty.
As for the crostata, I used a ready-made Jus-Rol shortcrust pastry. I might not get any points from the virtuous cooks and judges at GBBO for using a ready-made pastry (Quelle Horreur! Sacrilege!), but my family loved my dessert. My in-laws are visiting us this week, and they enjoyed my baking very much. I served it with cream, and once I finished my slice and took an empty plate back to the kitchen, I couldn't resist licking my plate. Yes, it was that good.
If you don't have fresh figs, there is a similar recipe for a crostata made with dried figs soaked in marsala, and very tasty it is as well.