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Karimah’s Fig Frangipane Tart


KARIMAH NUTRI CARD texcorrectSweet, succulent figs, I find, are an absolute delight. When they are in season in Jeddah, I can’t get enough of them. I love their simplicity – no peeling, nor preparing. Just a quick wash, and then enjoy the freshness and richness of flavour packed with nutritional goodness which is totally unlike any other fruit.

On the way back from my local store, having indulged in figs galore, I emailed Karimah bint Dawoud, clinical nutritionist and guest blogger at JB, and author of Heavenly Bites, the Best of Muslim Home Cooking, asking if she would share a recipe from her new book, Happy Healthy Halal. Kind soul that she is, she promptly sent me the most delicious Fig Frangipane Tart recipe, exclusively to share with Jeddah Blog readers.

Find out more about Karimah, best-selling author, photographer, former model and makeup artist who converted to Islam eleven years ago on her website. She is a sought-after nutrition coach and is working on her new book, Happy Healthy Halal.

At-Teen in Arabic means “fig”. The fig is symbolic of the lands that it grows in, mainly Turkey, Palestine and Syria. We often think of figs as part of various sweets and biscuits, but these interesting fruits also have amazing medical properties.

  • They help lower high blood pressure
  • They a sweet way to lose weight; nibble on a dried fig with a cup of tea rather than biscuits.
  • They are a fast food; carry dry figs around when you are out and about and on the go outside the home.
  • They contain fibre that protects against postmenopausal breast cancer
  • They promote bone density
  • They protect against macular/eye degeneration

This recipe is part of my new book Happy Healthy Halal that features foods of the Holy Quran, and their contemporary uses. The fig is such a special fruit that it has its own chapter in the Quran called Surat At-Teen, chapter 95.

fig frangipane raw

Delicious fresh figs – Photo by Karimah bint Dawoud

Almond is a flavour that perfectly complements figs, and ground almond flour is used in the baking of many praline patisseries. Now frangipani is a sponge mix using ground almonds or pistachio nuts as well as flour, to form the sponge mix which is used as a tart filling. Frangipane or franchipane is said to have originated from France. Frangipani compliments fresh figs beautifully, and with the clever, skillful use of eastern spices we can elevate this exquisite French celebratory patisserie to a heavenly helwiyat (dessert).

Desserts are generally not healthy, however in nutrition circles there is a 80/20 rule that allows 20% of naughtiness and this dessert is certainly cheeky. As a nutritionist, I advise home baking rather than shop bought cakes as it is less convenient to make cake. You can’t just go to the cupboard whenever you feel like it and eat. You are sure of the ingredients when you bake at home, and you can always gather friends and family to sample your delicious delights.

Try the Fig Frangipane Tart recipe below and leave a comment to tell me how it turned out.

fig frangipane

Mouthwatering Fig Frangipane Tart – Photo by Karimah bint Dawoud

Fig Frangipane Tart

Preparation time 45 minutes

Serves 8

Ingredients

For The Pastry Crust

  • 375g/13¼oz/1.5 cups unbleached all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 15g/½oz sugar
  • 125g/8oz /1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 5 tbsp ice-cold water
  • 1 tsp of mixed spice

For The Frangipane Filling

  • 200g/7¼oz unsalted butter
  • 200g/7¼oz  sugar
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 200g/7¼oz ground almonds
  • 45ml/3 tablespoons of flour
  • 1 tsp of powdered ginger
  • 1 tsp of turmeric
  • 1 tsp powdered cinnamon

For The Tart Filling

  • 4-7 ripe black figs, washed and cut in half

Preparation Of Sweet Short Crust Pastry

  1. For the pastry, sieve the flour and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Add spices. Cube the butter and add to the flour spice mix. Rub the butter and the flour between your thumb and fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. If you have hot hands use 2 knives to cross chop butter and flour mix.
  1. In a jug or small bowl, beat the egg together with 4-5 tablespoons of ice-cold water. Pour into the flour mixture.
  2. Slowly bring the ingredients together with your hands or metal utensils to form a dough, do not overwork it, short crust should be made quick and kept cool or it becomes elastic.
  3. Knead the dough lightly on a clean, floured work surface, then wrap it in cling film and put in the fridge at least 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Dust the work surface with flour and roll out the chilled pastry to about ½ cm/1/4 inch. Use it to line one large 25cm/10in tart ring. Trim away any excess. Don’t worry if your pastry is falling apart. This happens sometimes with short crust. Short crust pastry can be a bit crumbly and you may need to patchwork your pastry into the greased backing tin, pressing in evenly, then trim off excess around the edges. Don’t worry, it will be super when it comes out of the oven, insha’allah.
  5. You are going to have to do blind baking, which means make the tart without filling and bake first before adding the filling. This is to stop the base of the tart rising or going soggy and not cooking properly, in this case when a wet filling is used.
  6. Line the inside of the tart case with a circle of greaseproof paper and put some dried beans on top like kidney beans to weigh the paper down. Place in the oven at 180C/350F/Gas 4 for 15 minutes.
  7. Take out and cool for 10 minutes.
fig frangipane blind baking

Blind baking the tart base – Photo by Karimah bint Dawoud

The Frangipane Almond Tart Filling

  1. For the frangipane, beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and creamy. Crack the eggs into the bowl one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the ground almonds, flour and spices and mix well until combined. This is in effect a sponge mixture.
  2. Spoon the frangipane into the tart case so that it comes about halfway up the sides. Smooth over the surface with a spatula. Place the halved figs, seed side up evenly on top of the frangipane and press down lightly. The almond filling will lightly rise around it.
  3. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the sponge is golden-brown, a skewer or tip of a knife is placed inside sponge and comes out clean and the fruit is tender.
  4. When the tart has cooled to warm temperature, add a glaze of apricot or similar smooth jam using an icing spatula or blunt knife to smooth it over the surface of the tart.
fig frangipane glaze

Fig Frangipane Glaze – Photo by Karimah bint Dawoud

Enjoy alone or serve warm with healthy crème fraîche.

fig frangipane slice

A slice of heavenly Fig Frangipane Tart – Photo by Karimah bint Dawoud


 

Read up on Karimah’s previous blog posts at Jeddah Blog:

Karimah’s Guide to a Healthier Ramadan

and

Jewels of the Desert, Saviours of Ramadan

 

Al Baik: The Mann-o-Salwa of Modern Arabia


My very good friend Ms. Q, a regular contributor to Jeddah Blog and an expert on all things Saudi recently began her own blog Quezz Lifestyle. Having moved away from the Kingdom, she has been looking back with nostalgia on the most memorable parts of Jeddah, one of the most important being Al Baik fried chicken.

In her latest blog post which she has very kindly agreed to share here on Jeddah Blog, she not only takes a delicious trip down chicken memory lane, but even tries out a home made recipe, which she then generously shares with her readers.

Read through the post below, and if your cravings get the better of you and you do attempt the recipe, leave us a comment and let us know if it worked its magic.

(Editor’s note: I love Al Baik’s burger buns, split in half, toasted and buttered. Closest thing I’ve had to a bagel here in Jeddah).

Think Arabia… imagine dates, qahwa , exotic dishes, roasted lambs. What one does not imagine is Fried Chicken!

A standard Al Baik takeaway box.

A standard Al Baik takeaway box.

Al Baik has taken the lead in the Makkah region, by serving fried chicken with a tangy Garlic Sauce, for over two decades. I grew up with memories of us buying a box of Al-Baik, which would have half of a chicken, lumpy fries and a bun, with Garlic sauce, and driving to the sea side for an instant picnic. Anyone visiting us for Umrah would surely be treated to this food of the land, and told, “No Al Baik means that pilgrimage is incomplete” (just joking ). I would even further the comical situation by retelling, how my younger brother and I, when taken on Hajj, would say “Al-Baik, Al-Baik” instead of “Lab-Baik, Lab-Baik” at times of eating. Please note that, we were both in our teens and meant no blasphemy.

Coming back to the present day, Al Baik has evolved to include Fish and Shrimps, along with the choice of purchasing extra Garlic Sauce. You cannot even imagine the evils that come forward in all Al Baik eaters at the time when the last Garlic Sauce is to be snagged. In my last few days in Saudi, Al Baik was one of the few must-eat items on my list. However, having arrived in Canada, and tried all versions of halal fried chicken, I took on the quest for making a home-made version. Back in Saudi, I would have scoffed at this notion!

Being part of a wonderful cooking group called ‘Indulge Spices’ on Facebook, I was soon gifted by a fail-proof recipe. This recipe came from a fellow cook Rabia Jurial. I tried and I was converted!

The recipe is copied as is from the group page:

METHOD

1 chicken, cut into 8-10 pieces (with or without skin, up to you)

Wash and drain the chicken well. Using a fork, prick the chicken pieces all over.

Then marinate them in:

INGREDIENTS

1 beaten egg
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp corn flour
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tbsp garlic paste
1 tbsp soya sauce
1 tsp vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tbsp paprika
salt to taste
½ tsp Chinese salt
½ tsp black pepper powder

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cover with cling film and put the bowl in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  2. Next, mix half a cup of flour with half tsp. salt and half tsp. chili powder. Put this in a plastic bag.
  3. Now, 2 pieces at a time, put the chicken in the flour bag and shake to make sure each piece is well coated with the flour. This helps give the chicken a perfect rough and crispy surface.
  4. Heat oil on high, add the chicken pieces without crowding the pan. You can do them in 2-3 batches. Lower the heat and deep-fry each batch for about 15 minutes, making sure to turn the chicken pieces once or twice in the oil in order to get them golden on all sides.
  5. Drain on kitchen towels and serve with fries and some garlic sauce!

My results are as follows:

Ms. Q's perfectly home-fried chicken.

Ms. Q’s perfectly home-fried chicken.

The Garlic Sauce I use is as follows:

1 whole boiled potato, peeled and cooled. I put it in blender with a clove of garlic, pinch of salt, and some vinegar to blend. Then I add around 1/2 cup of Vegetable oil till its creamy and fluffy.

If you fancy a visit to the actual menu, check their website.

In meanwhile, tell me how your Al Baik chicken turned out 🙂

*For those curious about the title, Mann-o-Salwa means ‘heavenly food’.

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