This freeform tart can be served with coffee or tea in the afternoon or made into a fully-fledged dessert by warming it up and serving with ice cream or clotted cream. The yeasted pastry can comfortably be replaced with a commercial all-butter puff pastry sheet of similar dimensions.
150g light goat’s cheese, skin removed
85g icing sugar
½ tsp grated orange zest
1 tbsp chopped thyme leaves, plus picked leaves for garnish
2 eggs, beaten
100g ground almonds
600g ripe figs, halved
1 tbsp caster sugar
1½ tbsp lemon juice
265g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
50g caster sugar
1 tsp fast-action yeast
Grated zest of ½ a lemon
2 medium eggs, beaten
1/8th tsp salt
75g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 2cm cubes
Sunflower oil for greasing
First make the pastry. Place the flour, sugar, yeast and zest in a mixer bowl and use the dough hook attachment to stir everything together on low speed for a minute. Add the eggs and water and work for a few seconds on low speed, then increasing to medium and kneading for 3 minutes until the dough comes together. Next, add the salt and start adding the butter, a few cubes at a time, until it all melts into the dough. Continue kneading for about 10 minutes on medium speed until the dough is completely smooth, elastic and shiny. You will need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times during the kneading process and throw a small amount of flour on the sides of the bowl so that all dough leaves the sides. Place the dough in a large bowl brushed with sunflower oil, cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for at least half a day, preferably overnight. It will increase in volume but only by 20%-30%.
Preheat the oven to 170ºC.
Make a goat’s cheese cream by whisking together the cheese, 10g of the icing sugar, the orange zest, thyme and 1½ of the 2 beaten eggs, until smooth. Stir through the almonds and mix until you get a smooth, thick consistency. Set aside.
Lightly flour a clean work surface and roll the pastry into a 5mm thick square, about 28 x 28 centimetres. Trim the edges so you have an even square. Roll the pastry around a rolling pin to transfer it onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread over the goat’s cheese mix, leaving a border of about 1½ centimetres. Brush the remaining egg over the border. Stand the figs on top, slightly overlapping, as they will shrink when cooking. Sprinkle the caster sugar over the figs, cover the tart with foil and set aside to prove in a warm place for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and place the tart in the oven. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the figs are caramelised and the base of the pastry is golden brown.
While the tart is baking, make a thin icing by whisking together the remaining icing sugar with the lemon juice. You want a thick yet spreadable icing; add a bit of juice or icing sugar to achieve this. Remove the tart from the oven and use a spoon to drizzle the icing over the figs. Sprinkle with some picked thyme leaves and eat warm or at room temperature.