The other day I was talking to someone on the phone and I couldn’t hear very well because she was eating. “Sorry,” she said, “for chewing in your ear.” If she was sorry, why didn’t she stop downing that popcorn? Just one of those little mysteries of life….
Back to the realities of life: You might think there was a fig theme going on at The Third U-C Dinner, what with Kim’s Roasted Chicken with Fresh Figs and Kalamata Olives and this gorgeous tart, but it was actually just a fluke–a tasty one at that. A few days before the dinner my friend Daryn and I had a working birthday lunch (hers, not mine…thank God), and she asked what I was making. I described the Ratatouille and Sausage Potpie with Cornbread Biscuits from Melissa Clark’s NYT column that day. She went home , checked it out and decided to make another of Clark’s recipes from the same article. You might take away this tip: If you like to cook, don’t miss Melissa Clark on Wednesdays in the NYT.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large onions (1 1/2 pounds), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 sprig rosemary, more for garnish
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1/4 cup milk
Flour for dusting
3/4 pound prepared puff pastry
1 pint fresh figs ( 3/4 pound), stemmed and cut in half lengthwise
1 1/2 ounces Stilton cheese, crumbled (about 6 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons pine nuts
Good-quality honey for drizzling, optional
1. In a large skillet over low heat, melt butter with oil. Add onions, rosemary and sugar. Cook, tossing occasionally, until onions are limp and golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, scraping any browned bits from bottom of pan.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and egg until smooth. Stir in the onions. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line an 11 by 17-inch baking sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry to a 9 by 12-inch rectangle. Transfer to baking sheet.
3. Use a fork to spread onion mixture evenly over pastry (let excess egg mixture drip back into bowl), leaving a 1-inch border. Arrange figs, cut-side up, in even rows on onion mixture. Scatter cheese and pine nuts over figs. Use a pastry brush to dab edges of tart with egg mixture. Gently fold over edges of tart to form a lip and brush with more egg mixture.
4. Bake until pastry is puffed and golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve, sprinkled with rosemary needles and drizzled with honey, if desired, warm or at room temperature.