This elegant tart can be served as a cheese course after a fancy dinner, or can be a dessert unto itself. It truly is a wonderful balance of savoury and sweet.
Makes 1 rectangular tart (or 1 9-inch/23 cm round tart).
Hazelnut Brittle & Assembly
For the crust, measure the flour, cheese, sugar, rosemary and lemon zest into a mixing bowl and stir. Use a box grater to grate the cold butter into the flour and then stir to break the pieces into the flour further, until there are no large bits of butter visible. Add the water and stir until no longer tacky, then turn the dough out onto the counter and knead just to bring the dough together. If baking the tart in a rectangle, removable-bottom tin, shape the dough into a log and flatten a little before wrapping in plastic wrap. (If baking in a round tin, shape the dough into a disc.) Chill the dough for at least 2 hours before rolling.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle shape to just under 1/4-inch (6 mm) thick. Line your tart in with the pastry, press in place and trim away the excess. Chill this for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Dock the bottom of the chilled pastry with a fork and line the tine with foil and then top with raw rice or beans. Bake the tart shell for 20 minutes and then remove the foil and weights and bake until the bottom of the shell is dry, about 8 minutes more. Cool the crust on a rack.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF (180ºC). For the filling, beat the cream cheese by hand to soften. Break the blue cheese into pieces and then beat in (the mixture doesn’t have to be entirely smooth). Stir in the chives, honey and egg yolk and spoon this into the cooled tart shell, spreading to level it. Bake the tart for about 20 minutes, until the surface is set (but the filling will still jiggle a fair bit). Cool the tart on a rack.
For the hazelnut brittle, measure the water, then sugar and corn syrup into a medium saucepan, and have the other ingredients measured and on hand, as well as a parchment-lined baking tray. Bring the sugar to a boil over high heat without stirring, occasionally brushing the sides of pan with water, and continue to boil until it turns a light amber colour, about 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter and baking soda (it will bubble up). Quickly stir in the hazelnuts until they are coated and then immediately spread this onto the baking tray to cool and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Once cool, break off a few pieces and chop coarsely.
To complete the tart, arrange the fig quarters over the cheese filling and crumble the chopped hazelnut brittle overtop. Serve the tart at room temperature or chilled.