fig and almond pies

  • 1.2kg figs (about 16 figs), cut into wedges
  • ¼ cup (60ml) lemon juice
  • 1½ cups (330g) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • ⅓ cup (40g) almond meal (ground almonds)
  • ½ cup (40g) flaked almonds
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons raw or Demerara sugar

pastry

  • 4½ cups (675g) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
  • ½ cup (110g) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons sea salt flakes
  • 300g cold unsalted butter, chopped
  • 1½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup (180ml) iced water

 

  1. To make the pastry, place the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl and mix to combine. Add the butter and, using your fingertips, rub into the flour mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the vinegar and water and, using a butter knife, mix to form a rough dough. Gently knead to bring the dough together, shape into 2 equal discs and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.
  2. Roll out each pastry disc between 2 sheets of lightly floured non-stick baking paper to 3mm thick. Cut 2 x 16cm circles from each piece of pastry, reserving the trimmings, and use them to line 4 x 9cm round pie tins. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. 
  3. Line a large tray with non-stick baking paper. Re-roll the trimmings to 3mm thick. Using a 4cm heart-shaped cutter, cut out 56 hearts, re-rolling the pastry as necessary. Place the hearts on the tray and refrigerate until needed. 
  4. Place the fig, lemon juice, caster sugar, vanilla bean and seeds in a large saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil and cook, stirring, for 16–18 minutes or until thickened. Strain, discard the vanilla pod, and refrigerate the syrup and fig mixture separately until cool.
  5. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Divide the almond meal between the pastry cases and top with the fig mixture. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the syrup into each pie and top with the flaked almonds. Brush the rim of each pie with egg and top  with the pastry hearts, overlapping and trimming any excess. Brush all over with egg and sprinkle with raw sugar. Place on oven trays and bake for 25–30 minutes or until golden brown. Stand for 10 minutes before serving. Makes 4
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