Friday, January 6, 2012

Fig Tart

When my brother turned nineteen last summer, I promised to make him a Fig Tart. The thought of dealing with a sweet shortbread pastry crust irked me, since my last experience had not gone well. In between summer co-op, volunteering, and the start of school, I never found the time or energy to try a new crust recipe. After a couple weeks, the fruit tart was pushed to the bottom of the to-bake list, transferred from list to list each month, but never crossed off.

A couple weeks ago, I made a fruit tart during my weekly baking lessons. It wasn’t particularly delicious because the cream filling was overly starchy, but the sweet pastry crust had me sold. I brought the leftover dough home and promptly stowed it in the freezer.

With school out and the holidays in, I finally have the time to catch up on my baking. After making some Homemade Granola, a half-successful Lemon Meringue Pie and an Orange Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Italian Meringue Frosting, I made a simple fruit tart, filled with pastry cream and decorated with fresh figs. The tart is super simple to make and can be assembled in stages.

First the pastry is made and then allowed to rest. At this point, the pastry can be frozen, or rolled out and then frozen in the tart shell. Then the vanilla pastry cream is thickened over the stove-top and left in the fridge to cool. Again, this can be done the day before. The tart shell is baked until golden and then filled with pastry cream lightened with whipped cream. Sliced figs are placed on top for a beautiful finish.

This Fig Tart might be four months late, give or take, but I don’t look upon birthdays as strict deadlines for gifts. To me, occasions are just reminders to cherish the people you care about. If the sheer volume of baked goods I make for others is any indication, I do that all the time.  

Click below for the recipe.

Fruit Tart Filled With Pastry Cream and Topped with Fresh Figs

Adapted from: George Brown Baking Arts Manual and The French Chef by Julia Child

Note: The recipe for the shortbread pie crust makes enough pastry for two 10-inch tart shells. Just divide the dough in half and freeze the other one for convenience.

  • 150 grams sugar
  • 225 grams (½ pound) butter
  • 4 grams salt
  • 5 grams vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 440 grams pastry flour
  • 5 grams baking powder
Pastry Cream:
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour  
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • figs, for garnish


For the crust: In a large bowl, cream the sugar, butter, salt, and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs gradually and mix until combined. Add the milk. In a separate bowl, sift the flour and baking powder together. Add the flour to the butter and blend until smooth. Knead the dough until it just comes together. Divide the dough into two discs and wrap individually. Chill one (if using immediately) and freeze the second disc for another use.

Preheat the oven to 425F. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out to 3/8-inch thick and line a 10-inch tart shell with pastry. Dock the bottom with a fork and line with a layer of tin foil. Fill with pie weights (or dry, uncooked beans) and bake for 10 minutes until set (longer if your pie crust was frozen). Remove the tin foil and pie weights and continue to bake for 5-7 minutes until the dough has browned lightly. Once the tart shell is cool, unmold and place on a serving platter.

For the pastry cream: Pour the milk into a medium saucepan and sprinkle about half the sugar onto the bottom of the pan. Do not stir (the sugar will keep the milk was burning at the bottom, meaning you don’t have to scrub out the pot). Using a paring knife, split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds out. Drop the vanilla bean and the seeds in the milk and bring to a simmer on medium heat.

Meanwhile, in medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, flour, and remaining sugar together. While beating with a whisk, gradually pour the hot milk in a thin stream. Strain the custard back into the pot and cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, until the cream thickens. Once the cream is thick, immediately scrape into a cool bowl, cover (with the plastic wrap directly on the surface of the cream), and chill. The pastry cream can also be frozen.

In a large bowl, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold in the cooled pastry cream and pour into the cooled tart shell. Slice the figs into quarters or eighths and arrange over top the cream. Keep chilled. 


  1. Your beautiful fig tart would be most welcome on my tea table!

  2. Have you tried Dorie Greenspan's Incredible No Shrink Tart Crust? Because I swear it is one of the most amazing things to ever come out of my oven. It tastes like short bread but is so easy to make. I just love the color of figs. I think they are one of the prettiest (and underused) fruits. I love that they really have a chance to shine in the tart.

  3. Like Deanna, I use Dorie Greenspan's tart crust. It's amazing!!!

    Your fig tart looks beautiful!!! Aren't figs just so stunning!

  4. So inviting tart,looks very delicious.

  5. What a beautiful tart!I bet it tastes amazing.

  6. This looks so good!!! Yummy!

  7. Really beautiful. Thanks for stopping by my blog, Kyleen. My husband's about to visit Toronto and you make the city sound very inviting.

  8. I can't believe how delicious it looks! so fresh and beautiful

  9. Reading the way you talked about this crust I'll have to try it soon! and the filling, oh, i'd lick the spoon clean!
    Beautiful tart!

  10. Yea... I am making a birthday present for my brother that is late as well. He's gotten into mixing cocktails and I am making him some chocolate bitters for that. Glad to know that I'm not the only one with birthday presents for bro in the works and running a little late.

  11. I love figs, this is just gorgeous looking. Fruit tarts are my favorite, but I have yet to have a fig tart. Will have to add that one to the list :)

  12. ...I have never had a Fig Tart but this just may inspire me to make one. Gorgeous photos too! :o)

    ...I popped back over here from your "About Me" page which I loved btw. It's so funny because when I was in Jr. High and High School, I baked. That was my hobby or past time and still is today. Back then while my friends were all out partying and carrying on, I was home baking. I was an introvert then and still am today. I guess that is something that never leaves, we just learn to realize it, live with it, learn from it and embrace it, yes?

    ...Thank you so much for stopping by my place and commenting. It means more than you know. I love your blog here and will be visiting again.

    ...Thank you for the recipe!

    ...Blessings :o)

  13. Your fig tart looks gorgeous. I so much like fog tarts, I'd love to get it for my birthday, even with some delay, I would be very happy, so must have been your brother.

  14. This reminds me of a fig tart recipe I saw on "Simply Baking". It looks so tasty!

  15. Your fig tart is stunning with such perfectly ripe fresh figs! I'm pinning this one!!!

  16. This looks great! I love fresh figs - I wish I could get them here! They taste so yummy and they're so pretty!

  17. That crust looks beautiful - loving it. Are you able to get figs at this time of year? Lucky you :( No figs for me right now :(

  18. Those fresh figs look just gorgeous and your photos are beautiful. I am definitely bookmarking this for the day I get my hands on some fresh figs!

  19. I feel exactly the same way about baking! Kind of lame, but instead of doing normal teenagery things on Friday nights, my best friend and I take baking lessons at a local college. I'm cool (:

  20. that looks sooooooooooooo delicious..
    Tasty Appetite

  21. Oh, yumminess! It looks pretty too :)

  22. Love your beautiful photos. Fig tarts are awesome & you've just reminded me that I need to make one again. Try almond pastry cream - it tastes very good with all summer fruits. I did a fig tarts a couple of months back with frangipane (almond cream) & found the latter to be super delicious.

  23. That tart looks so beautiful. And I love that you used figs!

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