Layers, Love & Life – Sweet Potato and Whiskey Soaked Fig Tart
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Hello Loves. It’s Friday. And it’s been a hell of a week….
This sounds random, but I wanna talk layers. Yes layers…think about it, there are all kinds.
There are cake layers (personal preference is for three) there are skiing layers (which I skip – sometimes I think I give off an abnormal amount of heat… seriously, I am like a portable toaster – anyway, I’m an underwear and ski pants kinda girl…) There are tart layers, like the hidden whisky soaked figs tucked inside this gem… but well get to him later. Promise. And then there are our own layers. We are a composition of layers – for better or for worse. Our lives unfold as a series of layers – each somehow supporting the others. Layers, complicated but lovely, are omnipresent. They are the source of mystery, of sadness, of joy, and sometimes, of extreme pain.
Layers, stratums, nuances… they make life interesting to say the least. They mask truths – good and bad – and serve as protective shields and pointed swords. But they also preserve dreams, promises of hope… hope that something buried will one day re-emerge.
Now, I know people have strong opinions on the following – just bear with me here for a second.
I am of the belief that people don’t change, not really, not fundamentally. You see, I believe that who you really are, underneath all the layers, you at the core of your being, your heart (which, rationally or not, has always been my compass – but I am an excessively emotional Cancer…I digress…) your soul, your spirit… always remains the same. I believe that we may deny this truth, I believe that we can manifest facades, layers…insecurity, fear, immaturity etc… all lead us to do things, say things, become things…. Name your poison – the world is a scary place and there are countless completely understandable if not justifiable reasons for people to form versions of themselves, to construct layers – but at their core – they are who they are.
And – now forgive me but valentines day is tomorrow- I believe when you truly and irrevocably fall in love with someone, you see that. You see your love’s pure core. And, at least when you’re together – in a vacuum from the complications of reality – you are that true, raw version of yourself. You let each other in – you love under the layers so to speak. And, in my experience, that raw core – thankfully – never changes. And sharing your real self with another and accepting theirs – discovering what lies beneath the layers – well, in my opinion, that is what makes life worth living.
Well that and tarts of course. Duh. And, while this one has an amazing core, the layers are pretty yummy themselves…
Happy Love Weekend Chickens – Gros Bisous x
Sweet Potato & Whisky Soaked Fig Tart
adapted from Ovenly
For the Crust
1 portion Pâte Brisée (Shortcrust Pastry)
For the Figs
2-3 cups fresh figs (I made this out of season and used dried – fresh would have been better) stemmed and cut into quarters
2 cinnamon sticks
4 whole cloves
2 star anise
1 cup Whiskey
1/2 cup Water
100 g raw cane sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of one orange
For the Sweet Potato Filling
3 large Sweet Potatoes
1 cup Heavy Cream
3 large eggs (minimum 53 g +)
110 g dark brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
zest of one orange
handful of raw cane sugar for sprinkling
Ok, start with the sweet potatoes. Scrub them down, jab them all over with a fork. Heat your oven up to 200°C/400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, put the prepped potatoes on it and pop them in the oven for 45-50min. They should be very tender.
Let the potatoes cool. Peel and discard the skins (i.e. eat them because they are delicious!) and scrap all the insides into a large tupperware container – you will have a little extra. The potato flesh should be tender enough to mash with a dinner fork.
Now, onto the figs. Put all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and continue to cook until all the liquid has been absorbed into the figs (15+/- min) Take off the heat and set aside.
Lightly grease a tart pan, line with your pastry, freeze the lined pan for at least 30min. Pasty should always be properly chilled before baking to avoid shrinking.
While your pastry is chilling, combine the cream, eggs, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, nutmeg, and orange zest in a large mixing bowl – whisk well. Add 2 to 2 1/2 cups of the sweet potato flesh. Whisk until the mixture is completely combined and smooth.
Remove your crust from the freezer and line the bottom with the whiskey soaked figs. Sprinkle liberally with raw sugar. If you have extra figs, reserve for serving. Fill the pan, covering the figs, with the sweet potato mix.
Bake tart for 40-45 min until the filling is set, puffed, and golden. Allow to cool completely. Serve with a dollop of Crème Fraîche , any extra figs, and a whiskey, straight up. Because, why not?