I'm pretty sure that my mother and grandmother never ate a fresh fig in their entire lives. They loved Fig Newtons, though, so I did too. It never occurred to me to look for fresh figs at the supermarket. I can't say that I ever stumbled across them either.
But then, I grew up in the North -- in Indiana -- and figs weren't something that grew well there, like they do in the South. I've lived in Texas more than 13 years now and a while back I bought a potted fig tree when I saw it at Sam's Club. It was small, but I knew it would grow and someday give me bowls of beautiful figs I could pop into my mouth, pile onto a tart or drown in sugar for a jar or two of jam.
Last summer I lost all of my figs to some pesky raccoons. This year I managed to grab a few. And my fall crop has already popped out.
Here's the recipe.
Blend together 1 tablespoon sugar, 3 1/2 ounces almond paste, 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 2 tablespoons honey until well smooth and well blended.
Roll out your puff pastry or butter-brushed phyllo dough sheets and turn up the edges so the filling won't run out. Then spoon the filling onto your pastry and top with figs. Brush the top of the jams with apricot jam, then bake about 40 minutes in an oven preheated to 400 degrees.
The great thing about this tart is that you could use different fruit toppings: fresh cherries, peaches or even apples. Sprinkle on nuts if you want, or maybe even a few extras like coconut or chocolate shavings.