Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fig goat cheese pie with rosemary and Meyer lemon

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Yesterday I wrote about the Hatch green chile and bacon pie I entered in the Savory category of the KCRW Good Food pie contest. Here's the other pie I made for the contest: figs, goat cheese, rosemary and Meyer lemon. I entered this one in the Fruit category, although I guess the goat cheese could have put it in the Creamy category instead.

I've written before about my obsession with figs, and the various fig recipes I've honed over the years (fig cake, fig salad, peanut buttter and fig jam bars). I first made a version of this fig pie with goat cheese last year, at which point I called it a tart, put the goat cheese layer on the bottom, and piled fresh chopped figs on top before baking it. The tart, pie, whatever, tasted great, but I thought the top layer was too wet. Still, my coworkers devoured it when I brought it into the office, so I knew I had the basics right.

This year I made the pie in three layers instead of two. I made a quick fig compote and spread that about an inch deep on the partially pre-baked crust. Then I made a looser goat cheese custard - two eggs, a little cream - and spread that thickly over the compote. On top I arranged halved figs which I'd broiled with a little raw sugar on top. I hoped that broiling them first would do two things: first, concentrate the flavors (check); and second, keep the figs from bleeding pink juice onto the white goat cheese custard (check, mostly).

Like my Hatch green chile bacon pie, this fig pie didn't make it to the finals of the contest. But it was a hit with the crowd. Lots of people stopped to take pictures and admire it, and like the Hatch pie, it was gone within a few minutes. I may lack competitive spirit, but frankly I don't care that it didn't win. This was an extremely personal pie. I picked the figs, I grew the Meyer lemon and rosemary, and I created the recipe. It was 100 percent me.

Fig goat cheese pie with rosemary and Meyer lemon
  • 2 lbs fresh figs
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp raw sugar, divided
  • zest and juice of 1 large or 2 small Meyer lemons
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary, divided
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup plus 3 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 8 ounces fresh goat cheese
  • 2 eggs
Make the fig compote: De-stem and roughly chop 1 pound of the figs. Put them in a saucepan with 1/3 cup of the raw sugar, half the Meyer lemon zest, half the Meyer lemon juice, and 1 tsp rosemary. Stir and let sit at room temperature about 30 minutes; the sugar will draw out the juices from the fruit and create a syrup. Put the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat (otherwise the compote will burn) and simmer the fig mixture until the fruit is soft and the juices have thickened, about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.

While the compote is simmering, broil the figs for the top of the pie: Preheat the broiler on high. Cut the rest of the figs in half vertically, lay them on a baking sheet cut side up, and sprinkle with 1 Tbsp of the raw sugar. Broil about 5 minutes, until the fruit is starting to brown around the edges and looks slightly shriveled. This time is approximate - it will depend on how juicy or dry your figs are when you start. Watch them carefully so they don't burn. Set the broiled figs aside to cool, and turn the oven to 400 degrees.

Make the crust: In your pie plate, combine the flour, remaining 1 tsp raw sugar, remaining 1 tsp rosemary, and salt with a fork. In a measuring cup, stir together the olive oil and 1/3 cup cream with the same fork. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture in the pie plate and bring them together with the fork until they are just combined and clump together. Now use your fingers to press the dough over the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Don't worry if the edges look rough; that's okay, even desirable. Line the dough with foil and fill it with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the crust about 20 minutes, until the edges are starting to color. Remove the crust from the oven and set aside for a few minutes to cool a little.

While the crust is pre-baking, mix the goat cheese, eggs, 3 Tbsp cream, remaining lemon zest, and remaining lemon juice in a bowl until smooth. You'll have to work it a bit to get the goat cheese loosened up. The goat cheese mixture should have the texture of thick whipped cream - not quite pourable, but definitely spreadable.

Now assemble the pie: Spread the compote on the bottom of the crust about an inch thick (you may have leftover compote, which is a good thing, because it's outrageous over vanilla ice cream). Pour the goat cheese mixture over the compote and spread it smoothly with a spatula. Arrange the broiled fig halves cut side up over the custard in whatever pattern you like, or no pattern at all - just because I was feeling structured that day doesn't mean you have to.

Bake the pie at 400 degrees about 45 minutes, or until the goat cheese custard is set and the figs on top look caramelized. Let cool thoroughly before serving.


Monet said...

Beautiful! Another winner in my book. I received a huge shipment of figs on Thursday, and I've been making all sorts of delicious things. I wonder if I have enough left to make one of these beautiful creations. Thanks for sharing!

Erika Kerekes said...

Received a shipment of figs from where/whom? Just curious.

Sippity Sup said...

Such a pretty pie! And I know from the radio that you know pie. GREG

Paulette said...

I'm looking forward to trying this one day!

I finally used up all the figs we foraged. I'm having withdrawals!

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