Sunday, February 04, 2007

a candied fig birthday tart

For a good friend's birthday, we were commissioned to create a spectacular and unique dessert for the celebration. Knowing our friend's love of figs, we decided to make them the focus of this delicious dessert. Starting with Turkish Calimyrna figs-- large yellow fruit with amber pulp-- we first oven dried them, and then hand-candied them. During the lengthy candying process, we infused the figs with Tahitian vanilla paste and meyer lemon oil.

For the tart, we began with a short crust of cornmeal, Meyer lemon, and rosemary onto which we "painted" a thin layer of Belgian bittersweet chocolate. A pureed fig cream was layered into the tart shell, topped with a mousse comprised of mascarpone cheese, Belgian bittersweet chocolate, fig reduction, and Meyer lemon oil and zest. The mousse layer was toped with chocolate shavings and thinly sliced candied figs.

Altogether, it was a deliciously complex dessert with the earthiness of the rosemary and cornmeal balancing nicely with the rich mascarpone cheese, bitter chocolate and sweet Meyer lemon. But the taste that made this dessert soar was the infused candied figs. We can think of a million things to do with them, and luckily we have some left over! We'll post more about these special figs soon.