Black Mission Fig Tart

About the only thing I miss about our old house in LA is the black mission and heirloom zebra fig trees we left behind. I was seriously contemplating digging them up and bringing with us on the moving truck. Seriously. I actually had to be talked out of it.

Figs are one of my favorite fruits. Might even be my favorite. Fresh, dried, baked, roasted, jammy, sweet, savory, any which way I’ll happily devour them. Little did I know that the place we were moving to would actually have an even better more abundant fig tree than the trees we left behind. Score.

For the past few weeks, the tree has been exploding with ripe beautiful sweet figs. We’ve been enjoying picking and eating them sun-kissed and tree ripened or slicing them over some morning yogurt. But the tree is popping with so many ripe figs I was inspired to pick all the ripe ones off before the birds got to them first and make a tart.

When I was in Italy, a common treat I seemed to find in many bakeries were freshly dried large white figs stuffed with 2 blanched almonds inside. So simple, naturally decadent, nutritionally rich and utterly divine.

Almonds pair wonderfully with figs and I had bought some fresh marzipan at the farmers market and thought it would be a lovely addition sprinkled on top of the figs. I was right (!) but if you don’t have any it’s delicious without as well.

When ever I make a crust that uses butter, as this one does, I always make it the day before since it has to chill in the refrigerator before baking – making the tart come together in a flash the next day. And for those that don’t eat dairy, you can substitute this crust with this one.

 

Black Mission Fig Tart

  • 1 stick (8 TB) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup muscavdo sugar
  • 1 large egg 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup whole spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup white spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup stone-ground cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • about 20 fresh black mission figs or enough to cover, stemmed and quartered
  • 2 oz marizpan (optional) 2 TB raw sugar

Beat together butter and sugar until well-combined. Mix in the egg, egg yolk and almond extract.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking powder. Gradually add the dry ingredients, just until the mixture just comes together.

Pat the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic, and chill in the refrigerator overnight.
Preheat oven 350.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow to room temperature slightly. With the heel of your hand, press the dough into the bottom and sides of an unbuttered removable bottom tart pan (9″ or 10″), patting it evenly.

Scatter the sliced figs, flesh side up, evenly over the dough. Sprinkle marzipan on top of figs. Then generously cover with coarse raw sugar, about 2 TBS.

Bake on a cookie sheet until the pastry is golden brown. 25-30 minutes. Let cool before serving, and serve at room temperature.