Posted by Grace Massa Langlois on Friday, 28th June 2013

The mere mention of the availability of fresh figs is enough to get my family rushing to the markets to get their hands on as many of the elusive treats as they can (they’re obsessed over figs). Fresh figs are hard to come by here in Ontario only being available a few weeks a year. These coveted purple gems are the crowning glory on this Crème Mousseline Tart.

Close up and cropped photo taken looking down on a Caramelized Fig, Raspberry and Crème Mousseline Tart.

I’m sure I’ve committed a cardinal sin by roasting the figs because my family believes they should be enjoyed as is. If I was in sunny Italy and I was picking them fresh off the tree I would agree but the figs I picked up at the market weren’t quite ripe and I knew caramelizing (roasting only long enough to release their natural juices) with a sprinkling of cinnamon and golden cane sugar and a drizzling of honey would bring out the sweetness and enhance the flavour.

Photo of Caramelized Fig, Raspberry and Crème Mousseline displayed on white cake stand.

I was watching MasterChef Australia the other day and one of the visiting chefs made sweet shortcrust pastry with quite a few yolks, six or seven. We’d hosted my nephew’s fiancé’s bridal shower this past weekend and I’d made four of my Red Velvet Cake Cheesecakes for the event. I had forty egg yolks that I needed to do something with so I thought it was the perfect time to test out the pastry plus I was anxious to try it because it baked to a glorious golden colour.

Photo of Crème Mousseline Tart topped with Caramelized Figs displayed on a dark wooden board.

Disappointment times two. Blind baking the pastry proved to be disastrous. The chef gave instructions to bake the crust at 180° C (350° F) for twenty minutes and while I usually blind bake at a higher heat I followed his instructions. Unfortunately the crust was far from being cooked at the twenty-minute mark and by the time it crisped up it was way too dark for my liking and definitely not the golden colour he achieved. After two attempts I reduced the amount of yolks and baked for far longer than 20 minutes.

Cropped photo of Crème Mousseline Tart topped with Caramelized Figs.

When I was at the market picking up my coveted figs I noticed the abundance of fresh raspberries and I couldn’t help but wonder if the two fruits would complement each other. Rather than topping the tart with the two fruits I thought it might be nice to fill the tart with a thin layer of homemade raspberry jam like I did with the Raspberry and White Chocolate Ganache Tarts.

Photo taken looking down on a Caramelized Fig Tart.

You may be questioning the combination of flavours, I did too, so much so that I turned to my trusty Flavour Bible. I knew I was on the right path with the combination I had planned because one of the flavour affinities listed was raspberry + figs + cream + honey.

Photo of a Fig Tart displayed on white cake stand.

I filled the tart with a French classic, Crème Mousseline. Mousseline is a basic cream used in French pastry. It’s simply a pastry cream enriched with butter, lots of butter. The butter to milk ratio is fifty percent; therefore if you’re preparing a pastry cream with 500 ml (tad more than 2 cups) of milk typically 250 g (tad more than 1 cup) of butter is added to enrich it.

Photo of Cream Tart layered with Raspberry Jam and topped with Caramelized Figs.

To prepare crème mousseline, pastry cream is prepared first and while still warm one-half of the butter  is whisked in. The cream is then refrigerated until completely chilled. The remainder of the butter is then whipped into the chilled pastry cream.

Photo of Caramelized Fig, Raspberry Jam and Cream Tart  displayed on white cake stand.

Very important tip, for a velvety smooth mousseline, I recommend beating the butter until almost white and then whisking the pastry cream into the butter gradually.

I’m so pleased with the way the tart came together, it’s a symphony of flavour, texture and aroma and perfect for summer entertaining. The preparations add to the anticipation, from the moment the pastry shell went into the oven to the caramelizing of the figs, it was one tantalizing aroma after another wafting throughout the house.

Photo taken looking down on a Fruit Tart topped with Figs and layered with Raspberry Jam.

The crispy pastry with the velvety, buttery rich cream is heavenly. Figs and raspberries are a great combination of sweet and tart flavours only made better with the wonderful combination of vanilla, honey, cinnamon and Cognac.

Photo of Fruit Tart with Figs, Raspberry and Crème Mousseline.

Happy Weekend!

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