A Fig Jam Tart and a Walk Through the Spring Garden

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The recipe du jour is a Fig Jam Tart, made with a sugar cookie crust. The above photo makes it look like an obliging elf left it in the garden for me, among the flowering iberis. Wouldn’t it be fun if there were such pie-making elves? They could strike without warning, and the world would be a better place. At any rate, the inspiration for this came after reading luscious descriptions of Italian fruit tarts in an Italian cookbook. The author mentioned how difficult the crusts were to make, and I hesitated. The phrase “difficult crust” leaves me leery. However, I did come across a recipe for a so-called Blueberry Dessert Pizza, with an easy sugar cookie crust, and after some wrestling and modifications, a Fig Jam Tart emerged. The crust is an all-butter pie crust/sugar cookie crust and is easy. I got the fig jam at Aldi–it was a special item, and they may never have it again, but feel free to use any good quality jam or preserve that appeals to you. If summer were a little farther along, I might feel moved to strew slivers of fresh basil over this tart, figs and basil having an affinity. Here is the recipe.

Fig Jam Tart

2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
4 to 5 tablespoons cold water
2 tablespoons sugar

fig jam, or jam or your choice
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine flour, 1/4 cup sugar and salt in a bowl. Rub in softened butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle on the water (start with 4 TBS), adding more if necessary, and stir until mixture forms dough. Knead lightly and bring together into a ball.

On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, roll out dough into a 12″ circle, and flute the edges. Sprinkle bottom and edges with 2 tablespoons sugar. Prick dough with a fork. Bake for 12 minutes, or until edges just begin to brown.

Spread jam on partially baked hot crust; sprinkle with chopped pecans. Continue baking for 10 or so more minutes, or until crust is golden brown. If desired, thinly slice some strawberries to decorate. Cut into slices to serve.

Baking note: Be sure to stir the jam so it’s easy to spread. I added a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to spark it up.

This large glass bottle works well as a rolling pin--it stays cool.
This large glass bottle works well as a rolling pin–it stays cool.
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Rolled out crust, just before pricking with a fork.

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After this last winter, which I think was a hard one for everyone, as it was long and cold, and after this last week, which was hard for me and Jim, losing our cat Moose, it was a dreamy pleasure to walk through the garden this morning. Unexpected delights abounded–little irises popping up, festoons of bleeding hearts unfurled for spring, and columbines gleaming in dark corners. If anyone is philosophical about life and death, it’s a gardener, seeing the transiency of life every day. Here is a walk through the spring garden.

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