Hey, I like Fig Newtons as much as the next guy, but this pastry has a lot to love. First, the honeyed flavor of the figs themselves, with their unique texture provided by the combination of resilient skin, soft flesh, and tiny, crunchy seeds. I sometimes toss this together for a very special weekend breakfast, it goes really well with ham or bacon. (OK, what doesn’t?) The tart dough itself is a keeper, and one that I put into use for other fruit fillings, year round. The honeyed mascarpone and rosemary add a sophisticated touch, but I admit that it is not to everyone’s liking. Serving them on the side gives the cook and guest options.
- To make the dough: Whisk the flour, sugar, salt, and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Add the butter and stir well to coat it with flour. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it is crumbly with some pieces of pea-sized butter. Mix the rum, yolk, and vanilla in a cup to combine. Stir enough of the rum mixture into the bowl to moisten the flour mixture. The dough may look dry, but if it holds together when pressed in your palm, it is moist enough. If needed, stir in cold water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the dough does hold together.
- Gather up the dough and shape into a thick disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line the underside of a half-sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. (It is easier to slide the baked galette off a rimless surface, and an upside-down half-sheet pan works perfectly. Most rimless baking sheets are not large enough to comfortably hold the galette.)
- Place the unwrapped dough on a well-floured surface, and dust the top of the dough with flour, too. Roll out the dough into a 12 inch round about 1/8 inch thick, turning the dough over occasionally and slipping a long metal spatula underneath the round to be sure it isn’t sticking. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet.
- Mix the figs, sugar, and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Spread the figs on the dough round, leaving a 2-inch border around the edges. Bring up the dough, it gently pleating as needed, to partially cover the fig filling. Brush the exposed crust lightly with some of the cream, and sprinkle with the Demerara sugar, if using. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the juices are thickened and bubbling, about 35 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the mascarpone: Mix the mascarpone and honey together in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
- Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes. Slide the galette off the pan onto a serving platter. Cool for 10 more minutes, until warm, or let cool completely. Slice and serve with a dollop of the mascarpone and a sprinkle of rosemary, or just serve the galette as is.
Rick Rodgers is an award-winning cooking teacher and the author of over 40 cookbooks on a wide range of subjects, including The Big Book of Sides (Ballantine). In addition to writing the TasteBook.com column ‘”Tips from the Test Kitchen,” Rick works with entertainment figures, corporations, and celebrity chefs on their cookbooks. His clients include Tommy Bahama, Frankie Avalon, Patti LaBelle, and Williams-Sonoma. See more of his work on www.RickRodgers.com.