I worked for years in a fruit and veggie shop in Australia, helping customers go through the produce and decide what is ripe, and what is tasty. So usually I feel pretty confident choosing good produce. Bar figs. We never really had them at the shop and so I feel that I have this void in my fig knowledge. I know they come from tree's with funny shaped leaves, they come in various colors and sizes, that their season is nowish (though it seems that now is a little late). But I'm not sure which ones to eat and how I go about cooking them, because poaching them makes them taste and smell like the one room at an airport people can smoke. Any advice would be appreciated.
Anyway back to the tart, this is from my current favorite book 'Mes Tartes'. I love caramel, and I have a friend who loves caramel AND figs so I thought this was a winning combo until I smelled the stinky figs....as an alternative I used beautifully ripe Williams Pears, peeled, cored and sliced to around 4mm thick. They worked pretty well with the caramel. The base of the tart was as always a pate sucre, with an almond cream with creme fraiche incorporated, then it was baked until firm, caramel (with a amazingly subtle hint of vanilla bean in it) poured on top, then a layer of pears and then some more caramel. That's it, a really good tart. However, I think I'd like to use the caramel again with a more simplified (read cheaper base: almonds = expensive and creme fraiche = crazy expensive) because you can't really taste these with the caramel being so dominant. So I'll have to research and alternative.
Honestly though, you can't really go wrong with caramel.