The wine mixture used as a poaching liquid for the figs is reduced to create a rich sauce that is drizzled over the finished tarts. Briefly poaching the figs infuses flavor and makes them even more tender, but you can skip this step and just make a sauce to drizzle over raw figs. You can also make this in a 9-inch round removable-bottom tart pan and increase the baking time to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
1 cup Zinfandel or other fruity dry red wine
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
12 fresh figs, halved (about 3/4 pound)
1/2 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough (such as Pillsbury)
3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons honey
Fresh mint sprigs (optional)
How to Make It
Combine first 5 ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Add figs. Reduce heat; simmer 2 minutes. Remove figs with a slotted spoon, and place in a shallow dish. Cover and chill. Bring the cooking liquid to a boil, and cook for 15 minutes or until reduced to 1/2 cup. Cover and chill.
Preheat oven to 450°.
Roll dough into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface; cut dough into 8 (4-inch) circles, rerolling dough scraps as necessary. Fit each dough circle into a 3 1/2-inch tart pan. Bake at 450° for 7 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Combine ricotta and honey. Spread about 1 1/2 tablespoons ricotta mixture into each tart shell. Arrange 3 fig halves, cut sides up, inside each shell. Drizzle each tart with 1 tablespoon of the wine mixture. Garnish with mint, if desired.
I prepared this to use the figs as a topping for cornmeal crepes - absolutely delicious! Hope there will still be enough sauce left for the dessert crepes after all my tasting. I omitted the water increasing the oj to one cup & used fresh lime juice instead of lemon juice. Fantastic sauce; I'll make this again with other fruits.
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