These individual triangular, free-form tarts use my favorite type of pastry, made with cream cheese. It is wonderfully light, flaky, buttery, and melts in the mouth. What’s more, cream-cheese pastry is infinitely versatile and the quickest pastry you can make — I promise.
There is no baking blind or tart pan required, so it’s a useful technique to have in your repertoire for making all kinds of beautiful tarts.
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling dough
- 1 egg yolk, for glazing
- 6-8 firm fresh figs, trimmed and halved
- 12-18 Medjool dates, pitted
- Demerara sugar, for sprinkling
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar, preferably organic
- 5 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 7 ounces 70-percent dark chocolate, chopped
With a wooden spoon, cream together the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth and fully mixed. Gradually stir in the flour to form a dough; use a mixer if this becomes heavy work. Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours until set and quite firm.
Dust plenty of flour over the work surface, then divide the dough into 4 larger pieces or 6 more modest-sized pieces and roll each to 1/8-inch-thick. Use a saucer or large metal cutter to cut out rounds.
Brush each disc with egg yolk, then roll 1 section of the perimeter in to form a rolled edge, then turn the disc 1/3 of a turn and roll again, then repeat for the final side. This forms the sides of your 3-point tart. Brush the tart shells with the remaining egg yolk and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place one fig half, cut side up, in each corner of a tart and a date between each fig half. Sprinkle liberally with Demerara sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and crisp.
Bring the water, sugar, and cumin seeds to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes until the cumin has infused the syrup fully. Strain the seeds out, add to the chocolate in a bowl, and whisk until melted and smooth.
Serve the tarts warm or at room temperature with the cumin-chocolate syrup drizzled over the top.
Adapted from “Adventures with Chocolate: 80 Sensational Recipes” by Paul Young (Kyle Books, 2009)