September is a busy time of year in Provence. It is of course the time when the grapes are harvested, the moment when the hard work in the vineyards finally bears fruit and the anxiety over the fate of this delicate natural product is almost over. A much less serious harvest that happens concurrently, though mostly confined to kids and housewives, is that of the local fig varieties. There are both violet and green figs in this area, though I much prefer the darker varieties, as they happen to be so gorgeous on the eye as well as the taste buds.
There are plenty of fun recipes combining figs with dried ham, goats cheese, as part of a fruit salad or you could make a simple pastry tart with Mascarpone and slightly grilled figs. I realise that not everyone has the chance to raid the neighbour’s fig tree, but you can get them in supermarkets pretty reliably these days and you will only use a few in this recipe. I fancied using them in a quiche to bring to a local picnic to limit mess, yet to maximise their beautiful flavour in combination with some salty lardons and roasted almonds.
This recipe will serve 6-8:
- 1 roll of all butter short pastry
- 4-5 violet figs
- 5/6 Eggs
- 1 small tub of cream
- 1 packet of lardons
- some untreated Almonds
Here’s what you need to do:
Firstly pre-set the oven to 180 degrees fan setting. Then find an appropriate dish and line it with baking paper (I just use the baking paper that comes with my pastry), then put the pastry inside and make sure you have nice and solid edges to take the quiche mix, you probably want a depth of 2-3cm.
Blind bake the pastry for 10 minutes to prevent it being soggy.
In the meantime start roasting the lardons in a pan with a bit of olive oil. Crush a handful of almonds, best on a wooden tray with a meat hammer, or a rolling pin. Add the almonds to the lardons and roast both together until nice and crispy (but not burnt!). Then chop the figs into quarters.
Put the eggs in a bowl and thoroughly whisk with some cream, salt and pepper. Add the nuts and the lardons and the figs and give it a gentle stir.
You can add some cheese for some extra luxury, I happened to have some Morbier in the fridge and it was gorgeous. Most things would work, for example Chevre or Parmesan also.
Remove the pastry from the oven if you haven’t done so already and add the mixture. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes, until everything has solidified and the pastry edges are turning golden.
Let it cool down, remove it from the pastry dish and place it on something pretty. Just delicious with a nice green salad or some fine green beans.
Enjoy and bon appétit from the Mirabeau Kitchen!