Fig halloumi & pistachio tart
FOR THE PASTRY
220g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
110g room temperature butter, chopped a pinch of salt
1 medium egg yolk
2-3 tbsp cold water
FOR THE FRANGIPANE FILLING
140g pistachio nuts
110g softened butter
110g golden caster sugar
1 tsp rose water
1 medium egg, beaten
20g self-raising flour
150g halloumi, thinly sliced
8 figs (about 120g), sliced
2 generous tbsp runny
1-2 tsp rose water chopped and slivered pistachio nuts edible rose petals
The inspiration for this came from a French pastry tart filled with frangipane and fruit. I gave it my own Middle Eastern twist by adding pistachios to the frangipane mixture, then nudging sweet, ripe figs and slices of salty, chewy textured halloumi into it. It’s a mixed marriage, but it really works. (See photo on page 225.)
You’ll need a 20cm round, fluted tart tin and some baking beans.
First make the pastry. Tip the flour into a food processor and add the butter and salt. Whizz the ingredients together until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
In a small bowl, beat together the egg yolk and 2 tablespoons of cold water. Drizzle this mixture over the top of the flour mixture and pulse the mixture until it just comes together. If it looks a little dry, pour over another tablespoon of water and pulse again.
Tip the mixture into a bowl and lightly knead together. Shape into a rough, flat round, wrap in cling film and transfer to the freezer for 5 minutes.
Take the pastry out of the freezer and roll out on a lightly floured board until it’s just a little larger than the tin size, so you have enough pastry to line the sides, too. Save the cling film to cover the tart once you’ve rolled it out. Carefully lift up the pastry and put it into the tart tin. Push the pastry into the sides of the tin, then trim any hanging over the sides. Prick all over the base with a fork, cover with the cling film you saved and transfer to the freezer again for 10-15 minutes. While the tart is chilling, preheat the oven to 200°C/80°C fan/gas mark 6.
Take the cling film off the tart, cover with baking parchment and fill the base with baking beans. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Carefully lift the paper and beans out of the tin and put to one side to cool. Put the tart back in the oven and bake for a further 5 minutes to dry out the pastry. Take out of the oven and allow to cool.
Turn down the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4.
To make the frangipane, whizz the pistachio nuts in a food processor until finely ground. Put the butter, sugar and rose water into a bowl and beat with an electric hand whisk until they look light and fluffy.
Gradually add the beaten egg, whisking well to make sure it mixes evenly into the butter mixture.
Add the flour and ground pistachio nuts to the bowl and fold the mixture together to make a paste.
Once the pastry has cooled, spread the frangipane over the base, right up to the edges. Position the tart case in front of you and lay slices of figs in a round in the frangipane. Follow that with a row of halloumi and repeat until you reach the bottom of the tart.
Bake in the oven for 40 minutes until golden. Mix together the honey and rose water, and brush all over the top. Scatter over the pistachios and rose petals. Leave to cool in the tin until warm, then carefully remove the tart and transfer to a serving plate or board.
Slice into pieces and serve.
I also eat this delicious tart with labneh or vanilla ice cream.