It was summer when we arrived just four days ago but it feels like autumn now. The days are sunny and mild but the nights are cool and today we turned on the radiators.
As I walk across the lawn to the pool now, wine-dark leaves crunch underfoot and the dry ones scuttle across the cement tiles that surround the pool and hold the variety of wrought-iron chairs and tables and chaises. I sit out here in a sweater and a book, but I barely read. I am distracted by the hang gliders over Douelle – 10 of them one day! – the jets streaming out of Toulouse and the song of the autumn birds. The cuckoos are gone now, but the magpies are cackling and now and then I hear a whip-poor-will or a nightingale.
The figs on the northeastern side of the fig tree are ripening and I have picked a dozen or so for fig tarte.
Fig Walnut Tarte
your favorite recipe for pie crust
10-16 ripe figs, halved from top to bottom
¼ cup Armagnac, Cognac or Calvados
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
5 tablespoons brown sugar
¾-1 cup walnuts
dash sea salt
Prepare your pie crust as usual (I used a pate brisée mix from Carrefour and it was pretty good). Place in a round tarte pan or pie plate. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Note that this is a tarte and thus needs only a bottom crust.
Drizzle figs with Cognac, brown sugar and 1/2 of melted butter. Place open side up in pan. Sprinkle walnuts on top and drizle with the remainder of the butter and a dash of sea salt.
Bake tarte for about 55 minutes on lower shelf in oven for 40-50 minutes. Watch carefully to ensure walnuts do not turn too dark.
It was rich and rustic and tasted of the terroir. The one touch I would add would have been whipped cream topping and some orange zest for an accent.