While I’m still clinging to the warmth of summer, my Pinterest feed is overrun with images of pumpkin patches, fall decor and cozy knits. I’m reluctant to give up long summer days and the very faint tan I’ve developed over the past 3 months, but I am excited for suede booties and leather jackets. It seems the window of time where we can wear transitional garments is so fleeting in Ottawa.
Figs are the perfect transitional fruit to ease you into fall food. It’s hard to believe but Canadian Thanksgiving is little more than a month away. Figs are in season from August through October so you still have an opportunity to enjoy them before they’re gone.
I think this recipe would be just perfect for a gathering of friends and family at Thanksgiving or an early fall dinner party. This Warm Fig and Brie Tart with Walnut Crust is very decadent. A walnut crust is the perfect match for delicate sweetness of the figs and the fresh thyme.
If you allow the dish to cool for a few minutes before slicing, you’ll be able to cut into it more easily and get those picture-perfect portions without the cheese running out into a gooey mess.
While you might be reluctant to make your own pie dough, for fear of it falling apart or biting into it to find it has the texture of Play-Doh in front of your judgmental in-laws, this walnut dough really is pretty easy. I found walnut oil in the “Oils & Vinegars” section of my local Loblaws, on sale for just $3.99.
While the toasted walnuts and walnut oil in this from-scratch dough really make this dish sing, if you’re truly terrified of making your own dough, you can buy prepackaged pie crust from your grocery store and roll it out to the necessary proportions.
In either case, I recommend rolling out your dough on a large piece of parchment paper to prevent sticking and to make it a bit easier to transfer to the tart pan.
The walnut dough recipe will yield enough for two tarts, so unless you’re feeding an army, reserve the second disk of dough, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 6 months – allow to thaw to room temperature before rolling it out.
I hope you find an excuse to dazzle your friends and family with this recipe at some point this fall!
- ½ cup walnuts
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cold butter cut into pieces
- 3 tbsp walnut oil
- 6-7 tbsp cold water
- 1 disk walnut pastry dough or 1 400g store-bought pie crust
- 210 g double cream brie or Cambozola chilled
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme finely chopped
- 1 egg plus 2 tbsp water optional
- 10 ripe fresh figs
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Spread walnuts in a pie pan and bake for 5 to 7 minutes, or until fragrant. Let cool.
Combine the walnuts, flour, sugar and salt in a food processor; process until the walnuts are finely chopped. Add butter and process until incorporated. Transfer to a large bowl.
Drizzle oil over the flour mixture. Use your fingertips to rub the oil into the mixture. One tablespoon at a time, add water and mix with a fork until dough is crumbly and holds together when pressed.
Divide dough into 2 pieces, 1 slightly larger than the other, and form each into a disk.
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Roll out walnut pastry dough to an 11-inch round, or simply unroll the purchased crust. Fit into a 9-inch tart pan with removable sides or a 9-inch springform pan. If using the springform pan, roll the edge of the pie crust towards the centre of the pan until a thick edge is formed around the pan. Prick bottom of pie shell in several places. Cut brie into ¼-inch-thick slices. Lay over crust bottom, placing edge slices rind-side down. For shiny pastry, whisk egg with 2 tbsp water and brush over exposed crust.
Place in oven and immediately turn oven down to 350°F. Bake in centre of oven until pastry is golden and cheese is bubbly, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, trim fig stems. Slice figs in half through the stem end. Place cut-side down and slice each half into 3 wedges. When pastry shell is golden, place on a heatproof surface. Arrange figs in shell, skin-side down, in a starburst fashion. Gently brush fruit with maple syrup. Return to the 350°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes to warm figs.
Make Ahead Tip: The dough will keep, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Return dough to room temperature before rolling.
Walnut Pastry Dough recipe from: Davis, Suzanne. "Walnut Pastry Dough." EatingWell Magazine. September 1997.