Monday, December 28, 2009

Fig and Stilton Tart

On Christmas Eve, my fiance and I traveled up to his family's home in Alexandria, Va., where I tied on an apron to cook with my future mother-in-law.

Miss Margaret is quite the gourmet cook, but even she had never tackled puff pastry and invited me to join her in recreating the New York Times' Fig and Stilton Cheese Tart for our Christmas Eve feast.

We started out by cutting onions in long slices, shaped sort of like parentheses, and I plucked sprigs of rosemary.

I also crumbled a wedge of Stilton blue cheese -- very, very creamy.

Meanwhile, the onions slowly caramelized in butter and sugar for 30 minutes, before I added sherry vinegar to pull up the brown bits. *We would have used more sherry vinegar than the recipe calls for.

Miss Margaret has a bountiful fig tree outside that yields so many green figs, she gives them away to restaurants. They were very ripe and had been frozen, so they were practically oozing. She sliced the figs in half while I was crumbling the cheese.

Once the onions were finished, we placed them in bowls with an egg mixture, then, using a fork, placed the onions in the center of a sheet of thawed puff pastry, leaving an inch to create a border.

Seriously. How gasp-worthy beautiful is that tart? Gotta love natural light, something my apartment has never seen.

Then we both brushed the remaining egg mixture along the sides of the pastry.

The most fun part: pinching the corner up around the center.

Finally, we popped them into the oven to bake. Fair warning: the egg will spill a little, so we had to do a little clean-up after that, but Miss Margaret said it would be just fine.

Ta-Da! And I helped!

In all seriousness, the tart was a masterpiece in terms of loveliness. It was maybe the most gorgeous, magazine-worthy item I've made.

Flavor-wise? Well...that's a bit of a different story. The recipe said it could be served fresh out of the oven or at room temperature, so we put some plastic wrap over it and left it out for half the day, then tried it as an appetizer. Room temperature was not so great; it definitely needs to be at least warm.

Also, we would have added some salt or more Stilton to counteract the sweetness of the ripe figs; the flavor of the cheese got a little lost. The consistency of the puff pastry was great, however, and the onions tasted just right.


Diane said...

That looks amazing! I will have to raid the fig tree next summer and give it a shot. Good job!

Sara Louise said...

Looks gorgeous! And I love your photos showing the different stages while trying a recipe.

Amanda said...

That does look beautiful!