I grew up in the 60s and 70s and my parents believed in some old-fashioned remedies. Depending on cause, a tummy-ache would be treated either with Gripe Water or Syrup of Figs. I adored gripe water and it’s possible that it was the dill flavour rather than the alcohol that attracted me. Syrup of figs is as nasty as it sounds. At least I wasn’t dosed with it every Friday night as my Mum was.
And that was my only experience of figs until I went on holiday to Italy when prosciutto with figs arrived as an antipasto course. I thought they were the most delicious things I had ever tasted. Now, of course, fresh figs are available in every supermarket. They’re in season now and there’s the chance to do more with them than just eat them as they are.
This isn’t an everyday recipe, but if you want to impress as part of a dinner party, this will do the trick!
4 red onions (about 350g)
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp sugar
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 sheet puff pastry
5-6 figs (sliced)
Finely slice the onions and sweat in a little oil.
Add the garlic and the sugar.
Keep sweating the onions on a low heat until they caramelise. This will take about 30 minutes.
Stir in the balsamic vinegar, remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Take the sheet of puff pastry and score a rectangle about 1cm in from the edge of the pastry, this will become the rim of the tart.
When the onions are cool, spread them in a thin layer over the pastry inside the rim.
Take the fig slices and lay them side by side over the onion layer.
Brush the rim of the rim of the pastry with a vegan milk (or normal milk, if you’re not going for a vegan version).
Bake in a pre-heated, 200C oven for 20-25 minutes.
Serves 6 as a starter, 4 as a main course