Figs, lavender, goat cheese, almonds, honey. Baked into a galette, these exquisitely complementary flavors whisk us away to the Mediterranean. This is a rustic tart that honors the sweetness of ripe figs without being too rich or cloying. A flaky, buttery crust with a thin veneer of creamy goat cheese and almonds counterbalances the sweet figs and honey, while lavender provides a delicate aroma.
The recipe was inspired by ingredients from our farmers' market: fresh fig varieties like brilliant pink-fleshed Kadotas and juicy Brown Turkeys, lavender goat cheese from Soledad Goats, and wildflower honey. You can use any type of fig you like and mix your own lavender goat cheese if you don't have access to pre-made. (It might also be fun to experiment with Cypress Grove Chevre's Purple Haze.) We continued the goat theme by using goat butter, but regular cow's milk butter is fine, too.
The balance of ingredients in these galettes makes them sweet and rich, but not overly so. They are equally delicious for dessert (perhaps served with Patricia Wells' Honey Ice Cream?) as well as brunch, served with a salad. This recipe makes four individual sized galettes, but could be adapted to make two larger ones. Boyfriend, brother, and even the cat devoured them so quickly that next time we might have to double the recipe!
Fig and Lavender Goat Cheese Galettes
Makes four 7" galettes
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
7 tablespoons ice water
1 1/2 pounds figs
8 ounces lavender goat cheese, softened*
1 tablespoon honey, plus more for drizzling
1/4 cup ground almonds
1/8 teaspoon dried lavender buds
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon sugar
To make dough
(Adapted from Alice Waters's Chez Panisse Fruit)
Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Cut 4 tablespoons butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender, mixing until dough resembles coarse cornmeal. Cut in remaining 8 tablespoons butter with pastry blender, just until the biggest pieces of butter are the size of large peas.
Dribble 7 tablespoons ice water into the flour mixture in several stages, gently tossing and mixing with your hands between additions, until the dough just holds together. Do not pinch or squeeze the dough together or you will overwork it, making it tough. Keeping tossing the mixture until it starts to pull together. If it looks like there are more dry patches than ropy parts, add another tablespoon of water and toss until it comes together. Divide the dough into four pieces, firmly press each piece into a ball and flatten into a 3-inch disk, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before rolling out.
To roll out the dough, take one disk from the refrigerator at a time. Let it soften slightly so that it is malleable but still cold. Unwrap the dough and press the edges of the disk so that there are no cracks. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the disk into a circle about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate at least 1/2 hour before using.
To make galettes
Preheat oven to 400F.
Trim stems from figs and quarter them lengthwise; set aside.
In a small bowl, combine goat cheese and one tablespoon honey.
Remove rolled-out dough from the refrigerator. Spread a fourth of the goat cheese mixture over each dough round, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Evenly sprinkle ground almonds over goat cheese. Arrange figs on top in overlapping circles. Lightly drizzle with the honey and sprinkle with lavender buds.
With cool hands, fold the dough border up over the figs and form pleats. (Don't worry about making it perfect; galettes are meant to be free-form.) Brush dough with melted butter and lightly sprinkle with sugar.
Bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, about 40 minutes. Transfer galettes to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
*To make lavender goat cheese
Mix up to 1 teaspoon dried lavender buds into 8 ounces softened goat cheese. The potency of lavender buds can vary, so add 1/4 teaspoon at a time and taste; it should be fragrant, but not overpowering.
(Image: Gregory Han)