I finally struck gold at the local supermarket and found some tasty fresh figs.
Do you know how fast figs disappear off the shelves in the summer?
As soon as fig season rolls around, I am on the hunt for them, trying to gather as many as I can each time I hit the store. It’s funny how difficult it can be to get them where I live.
You really have to get to the store at the right time (or call ahead like a maniac, which is exactly what I do) to make sure you can grab a pint of them.
Thankfully, I rolled up to my local grocery store at exactly the right time to take advantage of the fresh fruit first arriving on the shelves. It was like the clouds parted and the sun shone down on me in that glorious moment. I didn’t even have to call ahead this time.
When I took a bite out of one, the evening after I bought them (I don’t know how I waited that long, honestly), it was like biting into plump, ripe magic. The fruit is so sweet and has such a unique flavor, especially when compared to the dried version.
It’s just the epitome of summer, and that’s exactly why this tart is the dessert that you should make for your next gathering. There’s apple tart for the fall, and this fig tart for the warmer months!
Now, I know that this tart might seem a little bit daunting. Honestly, I’m usually one to go for a rustic galette over a pie or tart because I fear that I will end up screwing it up.
But don’t worry, because this recipe is totally foolproof. The shortcrust pastry comes together easily in the food processor with a few dozen pulses. All you have to do is chill it and then roll it out to get it ready to be baked before the filling is added.
The biggest tip for the crust is to be sure that you blind bake it before you fill and finish baking. This means that you need to line your crust with foil and fill it with pie weights or dried beans.
This prevents the pastry from puffing up like crazy, and also helps the bottom of the tart stay nice and crisp on the bottom, which is exactly what you want with this kind of dish.
The filling is full of flavor from the tangy lemon zest, with warm notes of cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s creamy and cooling, so it makes a really tasty pairing with the sweet figs.
After you put it all together and bake it, drizzle it with some honey for an added touch of sweetness to balance out all the creaminess from the dairy in the filling.
You will really be surprised by just how simple this dessert is to pull together. It’s a stunning dish to serve at the end of a summer gathering, especially out on the patio.
I highly recommend serving it with some brut champagne as a nightcap to round out the evening. It’s just the right celebratory note to strike when this sometimes elusive fruit is finally available to enjoy.Print
A fig tart with ricotta filling is just the fancy dessert to make for your summer soiree. It may look difficult, but the dish couldn’t be easier.
For the Shortcrust Pastry:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 8 Tbsp chilled unsalted butter, cubed (or an equal mix of butter and lard), plus more for greasing
- 2–3 tablespoons very cold water
For the Filling:
- 2 cups ricotta
- 2 Tbsp honey + more for drizzling
- Zest of 1 large lemon (about 1 Tbsp)
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
For the Topping:
- 4 large fresh figs, sliced
- Add flour, butter, and salt to a food processor. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, for about 25-30 seconds.
- Through the funnel in the top, slowly drizzle in ice water a little at a time while pulsing the mixture together. Once the mixture comes together in a ball, stop pulsing.
- Remove pastry and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, or up to 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400˚F. Grease a 9-inch round tart pan with butter.
- While the crust is chilling, add ricotta, 2 tablespoons honey, lemon zest, cinnamon, and nutmeg to a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Roll out the pastry until large enough to fit in the greased pan. Add to the pan and trim edges. Line the crust with foil, then fill with pie weights or dried beans.
- Bake for about 10 minutes, until the crust is a light golden brown. Remove from oven and keep oven on.
- Add ricotta mixture to the tart shell. Arrange fig slices over the mixture.
- Bake for 20 minutes, until pastry is crisp and golden.
- Cool on a wire rack in the tart pan for about 15 minutes. Drizzle with additional honey and serve warm or at room temperature.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Tarts
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Dessert
Keywords: figs, ricotta, tart, summer, dessert
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Cube Butter, Zest Lemon, Slice Figs, and Measure Remaining Ingredients
Cube butter and return to the refrigerator until ready to use, to make sure it stays cold.
Zest one large lemon with your zester or microplane. You should have about 1 tablespoon of lemon zest.
Remove the stems from the figs and slice vertically.
Measure out all of the remaining ingredients on the ingredients list. To ensure the water stays very cold, I like to add water to a glass of ice and measure from there when I’m ready to use it.
Step 2 – Make Shortcrust Pastry
Add flour, butter, and salt to your food processor. Pulse the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. This should take about 25-30 seconds.
Slowly drizzle the cold water in a little at a time while pulsing the mixture. Stop pulsing once the mixture comes together in a ball. You may not need to use all of the water.
Step 3 – Chill
Remove the pastry and wrap tightly in cling wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, or up to 30 minutes.
While the dough is chilling, preheat your oven to 400˚F and grease a 9-inch round tart pan with unsalted butter.
Step 4 – Make Filling
Add ricotta, 2 tablespoons honey, lemon zest, cinnamon, and nutmeg to a medium bowl.
Stir to combine and then place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Step 4 – Bake Crust
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface. The crust should be large enough to fit in the prepared pan.
Place in the pan and press up the sides. Trim any overhanging edges.
Line the crust with aluminum foil and fill with pastry weights or dried beans.
Blind bake for about 10 minutes. The crust should be a light golden brown. Remove from oven but keep the oven on.
Remove the foil liner and the pie weights.
Step 5 – Fill
Add the ricotta mixture to the tart shell. Spread in an even layer.
Arrange the fig slices in your desired pattern over the mixture.
Step 6 – Bake and Cool
Bake for 20 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and golden.
Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes.
Drizzle with honey and serve warm, or at room temperature.
What Kind Of Figs Should I Use?
The magic of this tart is that you can use any kind of figs you want for this recipe.
In the pictures here you can see that I used black Mission figs. They are the easiest ones to find in the produce section in my experience, so those might be the easiest for you to acquire as well.
However, if you can track down velvety brown turkey figs or slightly less sweet Sierra figs (the ones that are green-skinned) those are fantastic varieties to try as well.
For more fruity desserts to try this summer, here are some of my personal favorites:
- Rustic Grape Galette with Fresh Thyme
- Old Fashioned Vanilla Wafer Banana Cream Pudding
- Big-Crumb Rhubarb Coffee Cake
- Dark Chocolate Blueberry Pie
What kinds of figs are your favorite? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to come back to rate the recipe after you’ve given it a try at home!
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Meghan Yager
Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.