Growing up in southern California, I am embarrassed to say that I only ate figs in Fig Newton bars. Despite California producing the majority of figs in the U.S., I have not encountered many recipes with figs outside of fig jam. I have really come to appreciate the joys of eating figs as an addition to the charcuterie board of good aged cheeses and cured meats, such as the classic Pata Negra.
After three trips eyeing the figs at my local fruteria, I felt inspired to make a fig cream pie. Seeing the figs on sale for so cheap luring me with their dark aubergine color, I knew right away these would be ripe and tasty for an autumn dessert. Since the fruit was in season, I was able to buy half a kilo for under five dollars (3 euros)!
After many failed attempts with pie crust recipes, I have finally created my favorite so far with the help of @preppykitchen. I never knew vodka would make for a better and crispier crust. This crust does have more brown sugar and almond flour than a normal crust, but it adds to this perfect soft and crispy cookie like texture which I prefer for a fruity pie.
Here is a recipe that tests my newfound love of figs using a fig custard base on a sugary crust then decorating with both baked and fresh figs to make your mouth jump for joy!
*Note: All these recipes are measured using a gram scale.
|Prep Time||Cook Time||Overnight Time||Total Time|
|120 MINUTES||30 MINUTES||6 HOURS||8 HOURS AND 30 MIN|
*15-20 figs will be needed for this recipe
½ cup (60 g) of almond flour
1 ½ (192 g) cup of flour
¼ cup (32 g) of brown sugar
4 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of lard or shortening
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vodka
2 tablespoons of ice water
5 egg yolks
5 figs (flesh only)
1 cup (240 g) milk
½ cup (120 g) of whip cream (unwhipped)
½ teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
¼ cup (75 g) of granulated sugar
½ cup (60 g) of cornstarch
The flesh of 5 figs
Pie Crust Instructions
Set your oven to 175 C (350 F). Mix your vodka with ice water and set aside. I like to take two ice cubes and pour the vodka over it and let it melt together. Same effect.
Now for the dough. There are two methods to building this pie crust, you will find both the easy and challenging method below.
*Challenging method: First start by mixing all your dry ingredients in a bowl first then pouring the flour on to a wooden board. If you have a marble counter, even better.
The original kneading method I used was inspired by a Bon Apetit recipe. Here you will flatten the butter and lard into the flour with a rolling pin until it creates thin layers.
Afterwards, return those new layers to a bowl to add your vodka mixture to mix a bit with your hands. Then return to your board to scrape and roll until your dough forms into one mold l ready for the fridge.
This method does require a scraper, strength, and a lot of patience so skip to the easier one below for beginners if you want to avoid a challenge.
*Easier Method: Mix your dry ingredients first and then throw them into a food processor with the butter and lard mixing for one minute or less. You do not want the flour and butter/lard mixture to be fine crumbles like sand, keep some chunks of butter for better flakiness.
Then throw everything into a bowl pouring in your vodka mixture kneading until your dough forms a solid mold.
*Careful not to knead too hard because you do not want to release the gluten, that is how bread is made.
- Once you have made your dough using either method, wrap the dough in a saran wrap and store in the fridge for up to two hours. This really does help rehydrate the dough.
- Once your dough is ready, place it back one your board to start rolling it out. I rolled it out on a parchment paper so it would be easier to transfer to the pie tin.
- Once you have placed your dough in the pie tin, poke holes with a fork into the dough then use that same parchment paper to “blind bake” the crust. For this method, you place the parchment paper on top of the dough and place ¼ cup of dried beans on the paper. This is to ensure the top of the crust does not get burnt.
- After 10-15 minutes, take the parchment paper with beans out of the tin and leave in the oven for another 5-7 minutes to get a nice golden color. Once ready, take the pie out to cool.
As you can see here, the crust is fully cooked with a golden-brown color. I was constantly checking my crust so that this color could be achieved.
Moving onto our fig filling.
Fig Cream Instructions:
Heat the milk, whip cream, and vanilla extract in a saucepan on medium-low heat.
In a separate bowl, mix the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch.
Once the milk is moderately heated to the point of warm, pour the mil into the bowl of the egg mixture whipping for two minutes.
Once everything is mixed, pour the mixture back into the sauce pan and continue whipping on low heat until the texture starts to form a custard. (I used an electric mixer in this process.)
The key to this process is not leaving the pan alone, continuing to whip until the custard forms and turning off the heat once it does form. Make sure to take the pan completely away from heat once custard forms!
- Once you put the custard back into the bowl, add the flesh of the figs with the juice of one lemon and mix.
- Once mixed, place the custard neatly into the cooled down pie shell. Try not to overload the pie shell with custard. The custard should only reach the height of the pie shell.
As mentioned, we are using half-baked and fresh figs. So cut up between 5-7 of each type of fig in quarter crescent moon slices and style as you desire.
Baking the figs:
On parchment paper, place 5-7 figs cut into quarter pieces. Sprinkle salt, brown sugar and nutmeg. The brown sugar helps crystallize the figs.
Bake for about 10 minutes at 175 F (350 C) or until the sugar has crystallized.
Once the figs are ready, place how you want half of your fresh and half of your baked figs. For a longer lasting pie, you can use baked figs only.
The final step is placing it in the fridge for more than two hours so that the custard can stabilize and then it is ready to present!
A fig cream pie great to bust out at the end of any dinner party or surprise your friends at a potluck. Leave comments if you have any suggestions or feedback about this recipe!