Summer desserts have to fit a few criteria for me. First off, they better be worth turning on the oven for. Second, if you don’t need to turn on the oven? Even better. Third, make it quick, make it cold, make it refreshing. And lastly, if it incorporates any seasonal fruit, I’m way, way in.
This tart fits all those criteria and more.
Drawing inspiration from Middle Eastern sweets and ingredients, I used olive oil to make this crisp, crumbly press-in crust. The filling, delightfully reminiscent of cheesecake but decidedly less finicky, is a simple, no-bake mousse made of creamy labneh, rich heavy cream and a bit of sugar and vanilla. The filling firms up in the fridge, and once the tart’s set, it’s topped with sweet, pulpy figs and drizzles of lemon and cardamom-infused honey. Pop it into the fridge to set for a bit more and voila — you’ve got an impressive, stunningly simple dessert.
If you’d like to make this even simpler? Just skip the crust and layer the figs, cardamom honey and labneh mousse in little glasses. Another idea? Turn the filling and fruit into a trifle with the addition of cubed pound cake. The flavors are versatile, and any way you serve it, you’ll love the combination of the slightly tart labneh and the honeyed, floral figs.
For the olive oil tart crust:
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 cup mild-flavored olive oil
- 2 Tbsp ice-cold water
For the labneh mousse filling:
- 1 cup whipped cream, cold
- 1 1/4 cups labneh, cold
- 1/2 cup superfine sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the cardamom figs:
- 10 fresh figs, stems removed and sliced thinly lengthwise
- 1/3 cup honey
- 3-4 cardamom pods, crushed
- 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup crushed, salted pistachios
- To make the tart dough: Preheat the oven to 375F. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt and sugar.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and ice water. Pour this mixture into the flour mixture and mix gently with a fork, just enough to dampen; do not overwork it.
- Transfer the dough to a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
- Use your hands to pat out the dough so it covers the bottom of the pan, pushing it up the sides to meet the edge. It should be about 1/ 8-inch thick all around; trim and discard excess dough.
- Prick the tart dough with a fork and refrigerate it for 30 minutes. Then cover it with foil and fill it with pie weights or beans.
- Bake it for 15 minutes. Afterwards, remove the foil and the pie weights and bake the crust for another 8-10 minutes, until it is slightly browned. Let it cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.
- To make the labneh mousse: In the bowl of stand mixer, with the whip attachment, combine all the ingredients. Whip, on medium-high, until mousse reaches medium peaks and is light and fluffy. Refrigerate until needed.
- When the tart shell is cool, fill the tart: smooth the labneh mousse over the tart, smoothing the top. Refrigerate for 2 hours, or until mousse sets.
- While the tart sets, make the cardamom honey: Combine the cardamom, lemon and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and let bubble for a minute or two, until the flavors have infused the honey. Remove from heat and set aside until needed.
- To decorate: Cover the surface of the tart with circles of overlapping fig slices. Drizzle with the lemon cardamom honey and the crushed, salted pistachios. Serve.