Laurie Ellen Pellicano’s fig tart is a salty, jammy celebration of the fruit’s savory side.
Let’s recount what we know about figs. They’ve been wrapped in bacon and passed around at cocktail parties for ages. In the ’90s, we all ate a few of them showered with balsamic vinaigrette, tossed onto a plate of arugula. We’ve seen them turned into jam to pair with stinky blue cheese. And let’s face it—they can be perfect eaten completely raw, draped with a few slices of prosciutto or drizzled with a little bit of olive oil and some grains of salt. Yet there are even more chapters in the savory side of this story.
Raw, figs are juicy and tender, but with a touch of heat, their sugars caramelize, and they take on a slightly chewy texture. The fruit has a subtle, sultry sweetness that gets along perfectly with salty ingredients like meat and cheese, but it’s also a great match for a bit of acidity.
Recipe developer Laurie Ellen Pellicano likes to pair figs with briny feta for this reason, with a (just sweet enough) tart that packs a real savory tang. She starts with a nutty whole wheat pie crust and makes a rich filling by blending together some crumbled feta (use the good stuff if you can find some) with an egg and a few kalamata olives. It’s that simple. Figs are sliced thinly and fanned across the surface with a sprinkle of sugar (for maximum caramelization) before baking, and when the tart comes out of the oven, you can finish it with a drizzle of fruity olive oil, some honey, a few chile flakes, and a pinch of sumac for a kick of bright lemony spice.
The result is a custardy snacking tart that would happily take center stage on any brunch table or hors d’oeuvres spread. You could turn this into several smaller tarts to deliver around to neighbors, or just make one big tart to keep on the kitchen counter and chisel off a sliver here and there whenever the mood strikes.