Jonathan’s mother, Isabel, came to visit this weekend from England. The weather is beautiful and Ferdinand has been charming, and I have not cooked. Meal after meal goes by, and they have been out to eat, or Jonathan has cooked, but what kind of scandal is that– you come to the United States of America in an airplane, and the cook makes no food, not even a biscuit. I don’t know what happens. When my best friend comes to visit it’s the same. When I first met Jonathan, it was the same. I moved in with him after knowing him mere hours, but I wouldn’t cook for him for weeks. Finally he said, “I feel it’s my right that you cook for me. I love ya.”
So there is only a lunch left, and there is no food in the house, not an egg. Thank the good Lord there is a fig tree in the back yard. I’m going to make a tart. You can serve it as a dessert, or you can serve it as part of a cheese platter, stuffed with gorgeous artisanal cheeses, a little pate, some dried dates and apricots, some fresh pears, a balsamic good enough to sip that you could drizzle onto Parmigiano, and maybe a bit of quiche with smoked bacon and Greyere.
To make the tart, start with a cup of flour, 1/2 a cup of cold butter cut into tiny bits, a pinch of salt, and a 1/4 cup of sugar. Mix it together with your fingertips until it is nearly uniform, and press it into a 9 inch pan. Bake at 450 degrees, until golden. Cool. Stir a little lemon zest, and about 3 tablespoons of sugar into an 8 ounce container of mascarpone or creme fraiche. Cut your figs in half and in quarters (the mix looks nice). On the stove, heat up a little honey with a cinnamon stick and a few pieces of star anice. When it comes to a simmer, turn off the heat. Spread the mascarpone onto the pastry. Right when you are ready to serve, top with the figs and drizzle ever so lightly with the honey. You can pass extra honey in a pitcher. Make pot of tea to have at the end, and pour glasses of champagne to start.