This Fig, Prune & Port Tarte Tatin Recipe is created by John Whaite.
I’d make a lousy criminal: I’m just too honest. My family say of me, ‘He cannot hold his own water.’ And so, I admit, your honour, that this was an idea I stole from the great Nigel Slater.
And I did so without guilt; we are standing on the shoulders of giants, after all. But one thing I would never do is copy a recipe and pass it off as my own. This tart is based on one of Nigel’s – his dried fig and marsala tart – but the marriage of fig, prune and port is one I’ve loved for ages; it’s a combination I use with spices in place of mincemeat in my Christmas mince pies.
– 500g dried figs, left whole
– 200g dried prunes, left whole
– 150ml ruby port
– Flour, for dusting
– 300g all-butter puff pastry
– 150g caster sugar
– 40g unsalted butter
1. Put the figs and prunes into a bowl and pour over the port. Leave for as long as you can bear – an hour would just about do it, but overnight would be better. Once the fruit is soaked, only then can you continue.
2. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6.
3. Flour the work surface and roll out the pastry until fairly thin – around 5mm ideally. Using an upturned ovenproof frying pan as a guide (mine’s 23cm at the base), cut out a disc of pastry that is slightly bigger in diameter than that of the pan.
4. Repeatedly stab the pastry with a fork to help it rise evenly. Put the pastry in the fridge until needed.
5. Place the frying pan over a medium-heat and, once it’s hot, add the sugar. Allow the sugar to melt and turn a deep golden caramel colour.
6. Add the butter and swirl the pan to deglaze, then add the soaked fruit, port and all.
7. Place the pastry disc on top and tuck the surplus down into the pan – if you value your fingertips, you’ll use a wooden spoon.
8. Pop the tart into the oven and bake for 25–30 minutes, until the pastry is puffed up, golden brown and very crispy.
9. Remove from the oven and invert immediately onto a large plate – it’s wise to cover your arms with a tea towel, or wear a thick jumper; sugar burns are particularly painful. Enjoy warm.
John Whaite won the third series of The Great British Bake Off. He studied at Le Cordon Bleu, though his love of food came from learning at his mother’s knee. He writes for the Telegraph and is resident chef on ITV’s Lorraine. He is the presenter of ITV food programme The Chopping Block, out in April 2016. He has also opened his own cooking school John Whaite’s Kitchen. Comfort is his third book.
With the concept of hygge emphasising the importance of enjoying the sensual, warming things in life, cosy cooking has taken on a new life. John’s new collection of enticing recipes will have you cooking up a comforting feast in the kitchen.