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タルトレット • オ • フィグ Tartelette aux Figues

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タルトレット • オ • フィグ Tartelette aux Figues, a re-creation of another of Hidemi Sugino’s recipes. I’d been wanting to try out this recipe ever since I’d gotten his book, Le Goût Authentique Retrouvé 素材より素材らしく―杉野英実の菓子 last year. In fact, it was the first recipe that I’d laid my eyes on and was like “WOW!”. There were several opportunities earlier on as we saw several imports of figs from Israel, California and then Israel again but somehow I’d let them slip by. Too ripe, not sweet enough, wrong tartlette moulds… so many deterring factors. Alas the stars finally aligned nicely with everything seemingly in place, so here I am trying it out!
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Here’s a breakdown on the various components of the figs tart.

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(A) Pâte sucrée

The recipe uses a basic pâte sucrée as the base which I’d handled before for Sugino’s other creation, Tahiti タヒチ Tartlette aux Mangue et Fruits de la Passion, which was simply delish! I’d also used it to replicate Sadaharu Aoki’s Tarte Fruits aux Rouge. It is a good recipe that yields very good results but the pastry dough is very soft and difficult to handle at room temperature. So one has to work really fast, minimlising time in and out of the fridge. For those interested, the recipe is here.

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(B) Crème Frangipane

This is basically a mélange of two components, crème patisserie and creme d’amandes. The former is a very commonly used “component” of making pastries like filling choux pastries i.e. éclair, profiteroles, religieuses etc so its not hard to find a good recipe for it. The latter is essentially made from four components, butter at room temperature, icing sugar, eggs and ground almond in equal proportions mixed in the order stated above. The creme d’amandes is chilled after preparing for at least an hour and then combined with crème patisserie. The concoction is then piped over the generously docked pastry dough before being baked at 170C for about 20 – 25 min.

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(C) Sirop d’ imbibage

After the tart base comes out of the oven, a layer of sirop d’ imbibage is generously applied over while its still hot. Sirop d’imbibage is essentially a mixture of sirop a 30oB infused with kirsch. Sirop a 30oB is first prepared by heating water and granulated sugar in a ratio of 1: 1.3. Upon cooling, kirsch is added for that oomph!

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(D) Framboise pepins

After the layer of syrup, a layer of framboise pepins is copiously smeared over it. This has all got to be done while the pastry base is still hot, to allow for the fluids to be sufficiently absorbed on the crème frangipane. I’d prepared it before using Sugino’s recipe as a confiture spread to go along withChef Gregoire Michaud’s scones and the recipe is fantastic! Only that this time round, I’d deliberately strained out the seeds in between the maceration of the raspberries and addition of pectin as I personally found the experience of constantly biting into raspberry seeds rather jarring. The tart taste of raspberries was very refreshing and much welcomed here.

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(E) Figues Garniture

For me, this is the real tricky bit of the whole recipe, not only technically but logistically. Fresh figs are highly seasonal and this year, we are really lucky to have quite a few batches of them. The first batch of figs came from israel in late feb – early march this year from last year’s shoot growth. They were very sweet and the texture was just right. Unfortunately, I didnt have the means to make Sugino’s recipe then. Next came the organic black Mission figs from California which came together with the latter batch israeli figs. the Californian black figs tasted great but unfortunately were too soft from being over-ripen. The second batch of israeli figs were simply crap. The most recent one is from Turkey and has a pretty decent batch of fruits, What’s intriguing for me this time round is how long the season is, spanning for more than a month now. This is the main crop growth of the year and the last one as well. I’m glad this batch is pretty satisfactory. For the tartelettes, choose figs which are just short of a few days from ripening. The fruit should still bear hues of green and is firm to touch. This makes them easier to handle, especially with the slicing part.

Figs go soft and mould very easily in our tropical weather and needs to be refrigerated all the time. In fact, the quality starts to degenerate rapidly once they are taken out of the fridge into room temperature. They are truely perishable and needs to be used and/or consumed fairly quickly after buying.

After washing and drying the figs, slice them into 16 pieces per fruit with skins on. Then remove their skins very carefully by means of a short and sharp knife. Lay the fig slices onto a tray and sprinkle with granulated sugar and a generous splosh of kirsch. Sit the fig slices in the fridge for about 30 min.

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(F) Crème Chantilly

Another common commodity we often encounter in pastry making. It involves whipping cold full cream aka double cream with more than 35% buttermilk content with granulated sugar. I would say the cream to sugar ratio varies from 10:1 to 8:1 depends on the level of sweetness one desires. I kept it to 10:1 as the figs were already sweet. Set aside by leaving in the fridge.

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(G) Decors

The last bits include an apricot glaze (nappage a l’abricot) infused with kirsch, fresh raspberries to crown the tartelettes and round disks of sliced silician green pistachios for embellishment.

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And this is workflow I’d used, working the tart up from the base.

(1) Prepare pâte sucrée and crème frangipane. These can be prepared separately the night before and rest in the fridge overnight. If time permits, prepare framboise pepins the day before as well.

(2) Slice figs into thin slices. Each fig should yield 16 slices. Lay them on a tray and sprinkle granulated sugar, followed by a generous splosh of kirsch over them. Sit the fig slices in the fridge for about 30 min.

(3) Lay pâte sucrée over tart moulds and pipe in crème frangipane. Return to the frdge for another 30 min.

(4) Meanwhile, prepare sirop d’imbibage and take framboise pepins out of the fridge to return to room temperature.

(5) Bake tart base at 170C for 20 – 25 min under a dark golden brown hue develops. While the pastry base is still hot and fresh out of the oven. Brush the surface with a layer of sirop d’imbibage followed by framboise pepins. Leave to cool down.

(6) Meanwhile, prepare crème chantilly and refrigerate to allow it to firm up.

(7) When everything is ready, bag crème chantilly and pipe a mould over the tart base. My largest nozzle is only 1 cm in diameter, so I had to do spirals instead of a molehill.

(8) Arrange the fig slices very carefully over the crème chantilly. Brush apricot glaze infused with kirsch over the fig slices in an upstroke direction. Crown with a raspberry and some slices of green pistachios.

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Though the tartelettes can be made in a day, I’d spread the workflow over two to take it in a more leisurely manner. It also gives me time to troubleshoot. The most difficult component in this tartelette is actually slicing the figs. One needs a very sharp knife and certain level of dexterity to get them properly sliced and peeled. That’s something which I definitely need to work on more.

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The other components are fairly easy to prepare and assemble. Just be very careful not to overwork the pastry dough which would cause it to become too crumble and hard after baking.

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The key to this recipe is really in getting good figs, which is probably why despite the numerous photographs shared by folks all over the world who had visited Sugino’s dessert boutique in Tokyo, none had showed this piece before.

Thanks for Chef Lynn Chen, my macaron class instructor for explaining to me the process of brushing sirop d’imbibage and framboise pepins over the hot tart base. And of course to Chef Hidemi Sugino, for this beautiful creation amongst so many others, which not only looked good, but tastes good!Looking forward to making his “Belle JardinièreTartelette aux fraises et fruits aux rouge when korean strawberries are in season again. 🙂

sugino tartelette aux figues


35 responses

  1. applaud your patience! beautiful tarts!

    November 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      haha Thanks!

      November 5, 2011 at 7:41 pm

  2. this is really amazing, ur knife skills are superb to get all those figs thinly sliced!
    i love your cute square tart molds.
    sigh, it’s so hard to find kirsch anywhere locally, super jealous of your huge bottle! can i ask where did u get yours from? 🙂

    November 5, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      Hi Michelle! I’d certainly got lots to work on in terms of knife skills. Spent almost an hour getting the fig slices for 6 tartlets and I’d lost count on how many figs I’d murdered.
      I love the square moulds too! I got my bottle of kirsch at a wine shop at the basement of Parkway Parade, Alternatively the gourmet shop, Toque in ToTT also carry kirsch.

      November 5, 2011 at 7:53 pm

      • hey thanks! if i really am desperate and not find it in DFS, i’ll check those places out. 🙂

        November 6, 2011 at 10:38 am

      • Alan (travellingfoodies)

        No probs 🙂 Let me know if you can get it at DFS. Cos I’d tried asking at Changi but they don’t have it. 😦

        November 6, 2011 at 9:28 pm

  3. Awesome bakes as usual 😉

    November 5, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      thanks Cathy. and you are supportive as usual 🙂

      November 5, 2011 at 9:18 pm

  4. I didn’t catch the earlier batches of figs but the turkish ones sure were quite good! and they lasted close to a fortnight in my fridge too. I totally agree with you about the slicing of the figs. I murdered many even when I was just quartering them for salad :/

    I do love the shape of the moulds – and the entire tart just looks like a flower on a pot, really lovely! just wondering about the pate sucree – have you tried pierre herme’s one as well? Which do you prefer? 🙂

    November 5, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      yeah…having a sharp knife really helps but even then… 16 slices for 1 fig… what was sugino thinking. lol

      I love the square tartlet moulds too. Finally got them after a long hunt.

      I’d tried Pierre Herme’s Pate Sucree for Tarte Ispahan which I’d entered for the AB you’d hosted. I like them both, but I personally found Pierre Herme’s recipe easier to handle. Sugino makes his tart crust really thin and that’s really difficult to emulate. So I think I’ll try to work more with Sugino’s recipe for practice and just for the kick of it! He has a Tarte rhubarbe which I think I’ll be trying next, given the amount of frozen rhubarb i have in the fridge, Then hopefully we see some korean strawberries soon to make his strawberry with redcurrants tart 🙂

      November 5, 2011 at 9:25 pm

      • ahh okay if u don’t mind me asking – where did you find the moulds at? I’ve been hunting for a good quality boat like mould but haven’t found any yet :/

        I see, I recently tried PH’s pate sucree and I quite like it, so am thinking I should try a couple more just to compare and see which I prefer. I guess I’ll have to wait for you to post the recipes then, since I can’t read Japanese for nuts! :p I’m headed to Sydney in a few days, so I’m hoping I can work with the berries that will hopefully be in the peak of season then 😀

        November 5, 2011 at 11:03 pm

  5. Charlie

    Hi Alan: How are you today?

    Another inspiration.

    Do you know if this book by Chef Sugino is available in English?

    Thanks for sharing!

    November 5, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      Hi Charlie, I’m good and thanks for asking!

      From what I know, Sugino’s book is only available in Japanese at the moment. He has another dessert book but that’s mainly plated desserts and not entremets or petit gateaux.

      Thanks for dropping by!

      November 5, 2011 at 9:30 pm

  6. Alan (travellingfoodies)

    Janine: The moulds, as far as I know are not available locally. The only company that I know of which manufactures them is Matfer and Sia Huat is their local distributor. I’d enquired with them about these moulds before and was quoted $104 for a package of 24 and that’s excluding shipping. But the price and the sheer number overwhelmed me. Thankfully my sis managed to find some for me from the States when she was in Seattle 2 months back. They came in a more manageable pack of 6.

    The recipe for Sugino’s pate sucree is in the blog post for Tahiti, the mango and passionfruit tarts I made for your hosting of AB as well. Like Pierre Herme, Sugino’s recipe requires the butter to be at room temperature, compared to Laduree’s recipe which needs them cold, using the rubbing method. Truth be told, I prefer Pierre Herme and Sugino’s recipes to Laduree’s. I don’t read much Japanese as well, but Sugino’s book is pretty picturesque, which certainly helped with deciphering the workflow. We have an edge, with the ability to read Chinese characters, similar to Kanji. A smattering of the highly phonetic Katakana helps to figure out the romanticised French and English borrowings like “Chokoleto” and “Kuremu”

    You seem to go Australia pretty often yeah? A second home over there? Should be spring over there now yeah? If you go in the right season, you could enrol yourself in the chestnut picking or truffles hunting tour. I thought that would be really cool and exciting. 🙂

    November 6, 2011 at 12:37 am

    • ah okay – there’s an awesome place selling all sorts of bakeware in sydney, maybe i’ll try my luck there 🙂

      yup I already bookmarked the post after your previous comment, gonna try it soon 🙂 And you just gave me reason not to try the laduree recipe yet hehe I was thinking between that or Sugino. Btw I got a recipe for Aoki’s pate sucree from a chinese book I have, I’ll try that soon and let u know how it goes ;p With all these posts from you and Evan, I’m definitely itching to get Sugino’s books to try!

      Nope no second home but my bf’s there, so I go over to visit as often as I can. Yup it’s spring and not sure about the chestnuts but I’m definitely gonna pick berries and figs if possible hehe. Truffles are not really located in Sydney (more in Western Australia), so I probably wouldn’t be able to hunt them (I’ve researched about them alr hehe)

      November 6, 2011 at 9:04 am

      • Alan (travellingfoodies)

        Wah…. so good. got someone to take good care of you whenever you are over in Australia!

        Mind telling me which chinese book title you are referring to that has Aoki’s pate sucree recipe? I’m curious to know how it goes too. 🙂

        Take lotsa photos of the berries and other fruits yeah? So exciting just to hear it!

        November 6, 2011 at 9:33 pm

  7. WOW! Your tarts are breathtaking. All that detail, they look exactly like in the book. You’re really good, super good at recreating Mr. Sugino’s bakes. He should employ u to open a branch in Singapore! LOL!

    November 6, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      Hi Sotong! Thanks for your compliments! Sugino would probably have a heart attack or seizure if he see the way I work in the kitchen. Probably get kicked all the way back from Japan to Singapore! LOL

      November 6, 2011 at 9:32 pm

  8. You can start a Japanese bakery! All your creations are just like from a book!

    November 7, 2011 at 10:56 am

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      haha I still have a long way to go Edith….

      but not heading in that direction at all la. when it gets dreary and becomes a chore, it’ll kill all the interest. 🙂

      November 7, 2011 at 10:20 pm

  9. WOW! This looks awesome!! Too pretty to eat 😀

    November 8, 2011 at 9:54 am

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      thanks ann! i gobbled down 2 during the photo-taking already. LOL

      November 8, 2011 at 11:46 pm

  10. 好吸引人~~~

    November 8, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)


      November 8, 2011 at 11:45 pm

  11. i’m really wowed by this creation of yours! You have outdone yourself again! now i know figs are sweet, i havent tasted figs and i was asking janine earlier in her salad post, are figs sour? haha! but really, alan, you are really so talented and i’m so impressed with all your work here!!

    November 11, 2011 at 12:12 am

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      Thanks Lena! Figs are sweet yes, but their sweetness is not unruly and unbashful like what you find in tropical fruits like mangoes and papayas. Its more subtle like in dates. I’m not very good at describing. Hope you get what I mean. hahaha

      November 12, 2011 at 8:23 am

  12. Stunning!! Is it fig season now? How come I don’t see any in the supermarkets here?

    November 12, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      Hi veronica! yes, figs were in season a couple of weeks back. we saw truckloads over here!

      November 13, 2011 at 10:19 pm

  13. Very nice tarts Alan! Inspiring I’d say 😉

    November 17, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      thanks Chef Michaud! the credit goes to Chef Sugino 🙂

      November 17, 2011 at 4:45 pm

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