These are individual rustic tarts that shouldn’t look too polished or fancy – perfect for amateur bakers, like myself, who have never mastered the art of the elegantly crimped pie shell. They may be humble, but they are beautiful, with the dark purple skin of the figs outlining the rosy red flesh, and with sugar glistening on the rims. In season, use the same recipe to make galettes of peaches, apricots, plums or mixed fruits.
For the dough:
For the filling:
To make the dough:
In a food processor, combine flour and salt. Pulse three or four times to blend. Add butter pieces and pulse a few times, just until fat is evenly distributed and coated with flour. Add shortening pieces and pulse a few times, just until fat is coated with flour. There should still be pieces of flour-coated fat about the size of large peas. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Drizzle with ice water while tossing with a fork just until it begins to come together into clumps, then gather the dough together with your hands. You may have to knead it slightly to get it to hold together, but that’s better than adding more water. Handle dough as little as possible, then wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C; Gas Mark 7).
To make the filling:
Quarter figs through the stem end or, if large, cut them in sixths. Set aside in a bowl. Just before you are ready to assemble the galettes, sprinkle the figs with 6 tablespoons sugar and toss gently to distribute.
Divide dough in 6 equal pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time, roll dough out on a lightly floured board into a circle about 1/8-inch thick. Use an upturned plate or a cardboard template to trace a neat 7-inch circle. Transfer circle of dough to a heavy baking sheet. Arrange one-sixth of the figs attractively in the center, leaving a 1-1/2-inch edge all the way around. Fold the edge over to create a border, making sure there are no cracks in the dough or the fruit juices will seep out during baking. Patch, if necessary, with bits of trimmed dough lightly moistened with cold water.
Brush the border with a little egg wash, then sprinkle the border generously with sugar. Repeat with remaining dough to make 6 galettes. You will probably be able to fit only half of them on the baking sheet at a time. If you have only 1 oven, assemble and bake 3 galettes at a time rather than baking 2 sheets at once. Bake until crust is golden and fruit is bubbly, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool slightly before serving.