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This is a classic in French pastry shops. You see these tarts in all the windows of pâtisseries in France as you walk by. The truly classic part is the lovely pâte sablée crust and the almond cream filling.  Almond cream is in fact not a cream but is very creamy indeed.  It is the base for most French fruit tarts and can be topped with almost any fruit.  The most classic is, of course, with pears but you can use apples, peaches, apricots, plums, mirabelles, figs and even orange segments.  My fig tree is still laden with fruit and so I am constantly looking for different ways to use them.  I have added them to salads, goats cheese, brie cheese sandwiches with caramelized onions, stuffed them with roquefort and walnuts, wrapped them in prosciutto, made jam and tried several cakes and tarts.  This tart was a last-minute idea as we had picked some figs in the after rnoon and my mother in law and sister-in-law were coming to visit that evening.  While Stuart drove to Brive airport to fetch them, I decided to prepare a typical French light meal.  Quiche Lorraine and a fig tart with fresh figs from the garden.  A nice “welcome to France” meal with some champagne.  My sister-in-law was coming from London and my mother in law all the way from South Africa.  Their first visit to Dordogne.


Pâte Sablée, one 9″ / 23 cm tart shell, baked blind and cooled

6 tablespoons / 95 g unsalted butter at room temperature
23 cup / 130 g sugar
1 1/4 cup / 150 g almond flour
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch / maizena
1 large egg
2 teaspoons dark rum
8 to 10 figs, cut into quarters
confectioners’ sugar for dusting
thinly sliced almonds for scattering


Preheat the oven to 175 C / 350 F
Mix the butter and sugar until smooth
Add the almond flour and mix well
Add the flour and cornstarch
Add the egg and rum and mix until all well blended
You can mix all in a bowl with a rubber spatula or use a mixer
At this point you can chill the almond cream for up to 3 days
Pour the almond cream into the tart shell
Arrange the fig quarters over the top
Scatter the Almond slivers on top
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes
Transfer the tart to a cooling rack and cool to room temperature
Right before serving, dust the tart with the confectioners sugar
You may serve with whipped cream or creme franchise if you wish



There delicious figs are a perfect accompaniment to any apéritif – serve 1 fig per person 

Serves 6


6 fresh, ripe figs
6 small pieces of roquefort
6 walnut halves
3 thin slices jambon sec / prosciutto, cut in half lengthwise
honey for serving


Place 6 small skewers in water to soak for 10 minutes
Heat a grill over medium-high heat
Slice the figs through the center vertically without cutting all the way through
Open each fig carefully and place a piece of roquefort and walnut inside each
Wrap the figs horizontally with a strip of prosciutto and secure with a skewer
Brush the figs with olive and place on the grill
Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes each side
Remove from the grill
Drizzle with honey