I was torn with indecision on where to start with each page of chef Jordan Bourke’s new book Healthy Baking: Nourishing Breads, Wholesome Cakes, Ancient Grains and Bubbling Ferments. Primarily a vegetarian book, all of the recipes look amazing and most of the sweet baked goods can be made vegan by using coconut oil instead of butter. In the end, I chose the Fig and Pistachio Frangipane Tart for three reasons. First, I had a fabulous apple frangipane tart in a cafe last November and haven’t forgotten it. Second, we have a fig tree in the yard so I don’t have to go very far for fresh fruit. Three, if the birds beat me to the figs (as they often do), I can use any fresh fruit to top the tart, any time of year. If you try your own combination of fruit and nuts in this recipe, please let us know! –Kristina
Why Jordan loves this recipe: It was Skye Gyngell, my former head chef, who got me hooked on frangipane – in her case it was the classic combination of almonds, sugar, butter and eggs – with some lemon zest to brighten it all up. In this recipe I have used pistachios and coconut oil in place of butter, which works really well, but feel free to use whatever you have to hand, as almost any nut will work well. The fruit topping should be the best of what is in season – whether that be winter blood orange and rhubarb, or sweet summer strawberries. Here though I have gone for plump figs in all their glory.
Photography by Issy Croker
Fig and Pistachio Frangipane Tart
A classic frangipane is the perfect base for any fresh seasonal fruit. Of course you could bake the fruit into the tart – but when they are in their first flushes of sunny seasonality, it seems a shame not to let them shine out in a totally unadulterated fashion, as I have done here. Feel free to use any other nut for the frangipane, and you can swap in another fruit for the topping – berries, fresh juicy nectarines – whatever you like.
Sweet shortcrust pastry
Makes one 9-inch (24 cm) shell
— 250g (2 cups) white spelt flour, plus extra to dust
— ¼ tsp fine sea salt
— 120g flavourless extra virgin coconut oil (4.5 fluid ounces) or unsalted butter (1 stick + teaspoon), chilled and cut into small pieces
— 1 tablespoon maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F)/180°C (350°F) fan/Gas mark 6. Sift the flour and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Add the chilled coconut oil or butter, and blitz until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add the maple syrup and 1½–2 of tablespoons water and bring the dough together with your hands until you have a smooth ball. If it is still crumbly, add a few drops of water, being careful not to overdo it.
Flatten the ball, wrap it in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes until well chilled but still pliable. Once the pastry has chilled, roll it out between 2 sheets of floured cling film and line your tart tin.
If you find the pastry too difficult to handle, simply press the pastry directly into the tin, making sure the base and sides are smooth and even with no cracks.
Cover and chill the base in the freezer for 10 minutes. Prick the base all over with a fork, line with baking parchment, fill with baking beans, and blind bake for 20 minutes. Remove the parchment and beans and bake for a further 5 minutes, until the tart shell is cooked through and biscuity. Continue with the rest of the recipe.
— 350g (2 ¼ cups or 12 ounces) raw pistachio nuts or almonds, plus extra to decorate (optional)
— 250g extra virgin coconut oil (9 ¼ fluid ounces) or unsalted butter (2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons)
— 250g (1 ¼ cups) coconut palm sugar
— 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or extract
— zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
— pinch of sea salt
— 3 eggs, beaten
— 3 tablespoons white spelt flour
— 10 figs, quartered
— honey, to drizzle
— yoghurt (Greek, soy or coconut – optional)
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F)/180°C (350°F) fan/Gas mark 6.
Make the pastry shell according to the sweet shortcrust pastry recipe above.
Roast the pistachios or almonds on a baking tray for 5–6 minutes, until they are a shade darker and aromatic. Leave to cool, then pulse in a food processor until they resemble large breadcrumbs. Take care not to grind the nuts to a powder. Move the mixture to a large bowl.
Add the coconut oil or butter, coconut palm sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and salt to the food processor. Blitz until light and fluffy. Add this mixture to the pistachios, together with the eggs and flour. Mix well until fully combined.
Tip the frangipane into the blind-baked tart shell and smooth out. Return it to the oven and bake for 35–40 minutes, until the tart has firmed up around the edges, but retains a little wobble towards the centre. Leave to cool, then turn the tart out of the tin on to a platter.
Arrange the figs on the top, and drizzle over a little honey and a scattering of pistachio nuts. Serve in slices, with yoghurt if you like.
About Jordan: Jordan Bourke is an Irish chef and author of the critically acclaimed best-selling Our Korean Kitchen, The Guilt-Free Gourmet and The Natural Food Kitchen. Having trained at Ballymaloe in Ireland, he worked at the Michelin-starred Petersham Nurseries restaurant, London. He now divides his time between working as a food writer, food stylist and consulting for various food brands and restaurants. He lives in London and is married to the fashion designer Retina Pyo. You can find him on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.