At ILVE, we’re always on the look out for delicious recipes. A quick online search will transport you to a world where cookbooks penned or TV challengers won can come in second to the number of blog subscribers or twitter followers a talented cook has. What better place then than the livewithILVE blog to bring to you some of the webs most culinary gifted!
Our newest guest is Viviane Buzzi, creator of the wonderfully scrumptious Chocolate Chilli Mango blog site. And if that’s not enough, you can also find her on Twitter and Facebook – a true online star!
But enough from us, over to you Viviane…
To say I was surprised to be invited to contribute a guest post here on the ILVE blog is a serious understatement. Simply to have been noticed and on ILVE’s blog radar is a massive compliment. Thank you, ILVE, for the opportunity to be a guest amongst such distinguished and much more qualified company! I’m overjoyed at the prospect of sharing a cherished recipe with you.
The timing, in fact, could not be more perfect. Call it serendipity … or merely the onset of autumn.
As summer transitions into autumn one is often left with mixed feelings. It can be a sad farewell to long, sunny days and balmy nights. Farewell also to glorious seasonal stone fruits, succulent fresh berries, and mangoes. I think we miss mangoes most of all here in Australia … or possibly apricots.
But we get ready to welcome in the first chestnuts and quinces of the season, new season apples and pears, a last hoorah for plump, tart raspberries, and figs. Nothing says trans-seasonal like a perfectly ripe fig.
The fig season is relatively short, lasting from late summer to mid autumn. They deserve to be considered a true luxury. So it pays to make the most of them at their peak.
Cut them open and drizzle with honey to serve alongside thick, creamy yoghurt for a simple but opulent breakfast or dessert. Serve with veils of wafer-thin prosciutto crudo and crusty bread as an antipasto or lunch. Add them to a cheese board with walnuts. Grill or poach them in a honey syrup with rose or orange blossom water for a middle-eastern treat. They also bake beautifully in cakes, muffins, and pastries, and the key is to keep it simple. One should never mess with a fresh fig.
I love to take a simple recipe and give it a little twist. Adding an interesting new ingredient, flavour or texture, without changing the essential nature of the dish.
This tart recipe I’m sharing with you is a traditional custard cream tart you’d find in any Italian or French patisserie, but with a few twists to make it interesting, and I think, extremely luscious. One of my favourite ingredients is Ficonero, a sweet, syrupy version of vincotto, made with figs. It’s a lovely addition to meat and fish dishes but is amazing over ice cream, in creamy desserts, and with fruit or soft cheeses. It’s also fabulous drizzled over cheese on a cheeseboard.
Ficonero is available in specialty shops in Australia and online. If you cannot find it, you can substitute a teaspoon of pure vanilla bean extract or paste, or a little Marsala, and the tart will still be wonderful. The other twist is Rapadura sugar, an unrefined sugar made from evaporated cane juice. It has a lovely toffee flavour that gives the crust extra crunch and flakiness. It complements the Ficonero to give depth to the cream filling. Again, you can substitute a light brown sugar or coconut sugar, if you wish. However, I’d recommend giving Rapadura a try.
This recipe combines sweet, earthy figs, nestled in a Ficonero cream and a flaky crust with a hint of toffee. Aperfect trans-seasonal dessert! Serve it on its own, slightly warm or at room temperature. If you really must, add a dollop of thick cream.
Thanks ILVE, I hope you and your readers enjoy it as much as I’ve enjoyed sharing it with you.
Click here to view the Crostata di Fichi con Ficonero guest recipe for live with ILVE.