There is a fig tree in our back alley way. I feel like I probably don't need to elaborate on how great this is, but here goes! It hangs over a rusty fence and is is mostly in the alleyway then in the backyard of whoever's garden it was planted in. Every day I wander out of our back gate with a small basket and return home with at least 10 figs. I love fig season, and this year it seems to have overlapped so tightly with the best of Summer's tomatoes. Maybe that's every year? Those subtle qualities of each season are so wonderful and fleeting that I tend to forget just how beautiful they are until they are here again.
Here is a very simple tart which is actually sort of like a cake, but made in a tart tin and rather shallow. The earthiness from the rye flour and the bitterness of the chocolate really go so well together. The jammy figs pressed into the batter give the tart the extra bit of sweetness to balance it all out. Like most of my cakes, this one isn't overly sweet – more subtle and floral too. Pick figs which are ripe but not overly soft.
Makes 1 24cm tart
150g unsalted butter, softened
125g raw sugar
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
150g ground hazelnuts
60g rye flour
3 tbsp dutch-press cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4-6 figs, halved or quartered
Preheat the oven to 180C. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and thick then stir in the seeds from the vanilla bean. Now add 1 of the eggs and mix in then 1/3 of the ground hazelnuts. Stir until incorporated into the batter then repeat with the remaining eggs and hazelnuts in two more batches. Sieve over the flour, cocoa powder and cinnamon and gently stir until everything is combined. Spoon the batter into a 24cm fluted tart tin, smoothing the batter to even it out. Press the figs into the tart and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until the centre springs back when touched. Allow to cool for 30 minutes in the tin then invert onto a rack or a serving plate. Lightly dust with extra cocoa powder and serve.