To make the crust
Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl and then cut in the butter until the mixture forms very fine crumbs. You can also do this by pulsing in a food processor. Sprinkle in enough of the ice water for the dough to come together, and then shape it into a disk. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for about 15 minutes. Roll the dough into an 11-inch circle and put it in a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Pinch the dough edge so that it's slightly thick, even, and rises just above the rim. Prick the bottom with a fork in 6 or 7 places, and then put the pan in the freezer for 20 minutes while you heat the oven to 425°F. Put the chilled tart shell on a baking sheet, line the shell with foil, and fill with beans or pie weights. Bake until it's lightly colored, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the tart and reduce the oven temperature to 400°F; remove the weights and foil.
To make the filling
Cut the stems off the figs (leave the skins on) and slice the figs in half -- if they're large, you may choose to quarter them. Set aside one-quarter of the figs (to be added after you pour in the custard). Arrange the remaining figs, cut side up, on the tart shell; this will leave room for the custard to spread evenly when you pour it.
Whisk the egg yolk, crème fraîche, brown sugar, and orange flower water until combined and then pour carefully around but not over the figs. Add the remaining figs. Bake the tart on the baking sheet in the 400°F oven until the custard is lightly colored and set, about 30 minutes. Serve slightly warm.
nutrition information (per serving):
based on eight servings;
Photo: Laurie Smith