We’re back in the blogging world, and we’ve brought a friend! Much to the delight of myself and hungry food lovers across Australia more broadly (with the exception of Chadwiko, who considers himself to be staunchly anti-reality television- whatever, I was sick earlier this week and watched two episodes of a Jersey Shore marathon before the shame set in. There are much worse shows I could be so enamoured with), Masterchef is back!
Over my years of watching Masterchef, my eager anticipation of a vegan contestant or even challenge has succumbed to reality. It’s not coming. But why should that mean that vegans miss out on all the fun? So this year I’m taking it upon myself to mix up and veganise one recipe from the show each week.
First up is this fig frangipane tart with pistachio crumble from judge Gary Mehigan’s Masterclass last week. Despite Chadwiko’s insistence that I attempt the roasted beef fillet with pommes dauphine (from what I gathered, pommes dauphine is fancy-talk for tater tots) featured in the same episode, I thought that this seemed a little more achievable for my first attempt.
And achievable it was! Despite looking like an insanely lengthy recipe, this comes together pretty quickly with some good time management (I might even use this as an ‘organisational skills’ example in my next job interview). Since pistachio paste is a mythical ingredient in Australia, I made my own, and did this the night before. I was able to put together the tart shell when I got home from work and whip up the crumble while it baked, and make the frangipane filling and assemble the whole thing after throwing together a quick dinner (vegan sausage rolls, so Chadwiko wouldn’t be burdened with cutlery while excitedly playing Diablo 3).
So, does it live up to the Masterchef reputation? It’s a bit sweeter than I usually prefer my desserts, but I love the pistachio paste in this so much that I can’t complain too much. I can’t wait to bake with the copious leftovers. This tart also makes up for its excess sugar by being super pretty (that green crumble! The cool-looking figs buried under there!). I would definitely make this again, playing around with different fruit combinations- and cutting out a little sugar, of course.
On to the (veganised) recipe!
Fig Frangipane Tart with Pistachio Crumble
(Adapted from Masterchef)
- 125g peeled pistachios
- 62g caster sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons agave
Sweet shortcrust pastry
- 120g vegan margarine
- 30g icing sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 240g plain flour
- 3 tablespoons almond milk
- 1/3 cup peeled pistachios
- 40g caster sugar
- 40g plain flour
- 30g chilled vegan margarine
- 120g vegan margarine
- 120g caster sugar
- 1/3 cup almond milk
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon almond extract (optional- I left it out because I hate almond extract, but I know others would consider it a must!)
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 120g ground almonds
- 40g plain flour
- 2 tablespoons pistachio paste
- 3 fresh figs, cut into 8 wedges each
- 1/4 cup agave (optional)
- Process all the ingredients together until a paste forms, adding splashes of water if it seems too dry. This makes a ton more than you’ll need, so keep the rest in the fridge for future baking projects- just take it out to soften before you need to use it (as I learned the hard way!).
For the Shortcrust Pastry:
- Preheat the oven to 160°C.
- Place margarine, sugar and salt into a food processor and process until creamy. Add flour and process until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add almond milk by the tablespoon until the dough pulls away from the sides and begins to form a ball.
- Tip pastry onto a lightly floured bench and bring together with hands. Flatten gently into a flat rectangular shape and wrap in plastic film. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to rest.
- Roll rested dough to 3mm thick and wrap loosely around a rolling pin. Gently roll over a 35cm x 7cm rectangular fluted tart tin with a removable base and press pastry into tin, moulding pastry up the sides of the tin with your fingertips, fill in any cracks with excess dough. Remove any excess pastry with your thumb by pressing down along the edges of the tin. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Place a sheet of baking paper into the chilled pastry in the tart tin, half-fill with baking beads or rice and bake for 12-15 minutes until edges are light golden. Remove weights and baking paper and bake for 5-10 minutes or until base is dry. Set aside.
For the Pistachio Crumble:
- Process pistachios to a fine powder in a food processor. Add sugar and flour and process to combine, then transfer to a bowl. Rub in margarine with your fingers, leaving some small lumps of margarine.
- Line a baking tray with baking paper, tip crumble over tray and spread evenly. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until just golden. Set aside to cool.
For the Frangipane Filling:
- Whisk together almond milk and cornstarch in a mixing jug.
- Beat margarine and sugar in an electric mixer until creamy. With the motor running, slowly add the almond milk slurry, mixing well after each addition. Add almond extract (if using), lemon zest, ground almonds, flour and pistachio paste and whisk until combined.
- Spoon almond mixture into tart shell until ¾ full (left over frangipane can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week). Gently press in fig wedges, placing them at regular intervals along the tart. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden.
- Remove tart from oven, brush with 1/4 cup of warm agave if desired (I didn’t think it was necessary) and leave to cool. Sprinkle the crumble generously over the tart and serve plain or with cashew cream.