fig and almond pies

  • 16 figs (1.2kg), 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 sugar 

sweet pie pastry

  • 4½ cups (675g) plain (all-purpose) flour 
  • ½ cup (110g) caster (superfine) sugar 
  • 1½ teaspoons sea salt flakes 
  • 185g cold unsalted butter, chopped 
  • 115g cold lard, 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 lard and, using your fingertips, rub into the flour mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the vinegar and water and, using a butter knife, bring the mixture together to form a rough dough. 
  2. Lightly knead to bring the dough together, shape into 2 discs and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm. 
  3. Roll out each pastry disc between 2 sheets of lightly floured non-stick baking paper to 3mm thick. Cut 2 x 16cm circles out of each pastry sheet, reserving the trimmings, and use to line 4 x 9cm metal pie dishes. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. 
  4. Re-roll the trimmings to 3mm thick. Using a 4cm heart cutter, cut out 56 hearts, re-rolling the pastry as needed. Place on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and refrigerate until required. 
  5. While the pastry is chilling, place the fig, lemon juice, caster sugar and vanilla bean and seeds in a large saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil and cook, stirring frequently, for 16–18 minutes or until thickened. Strain, reserving the syrup and discarding the vanilla bean. Refrigerate the fig mixture and syrup, separately, until cool. 
  6. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Divide the almond meal between the bases of the pastry cases and top with the fig mixture. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the reserved fig syrup into each case and top with the flaked almonds. 
  7. Brush each pastry rim with the egg, top each with the pastry hearts, overlapping and trimming any excess. Brush with the egg and sprinkle with the raw sugar. Place on baking trays and cook for 25–30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Stand for 10 minutes before serving. Makes 4. 

+ Lard is a common addition to pastry dough, as it has a higher melting point than butter so will help the pastry keep its shape when cooking. We’ve used a combination of butter and lard in our pastries to give a rich, sweet flavour and a nice crisp crust. Find lard in the chilled section of the supermarket.

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