Roasted Fig Tartlets


Prized since ancient times, figs marry well with countless flavors, including the cinnamon- and vanilla-infused port syrup in these tartlets. Spoon the fruit atop a tangy creme fraiche filling and you'll instantly understand why the Romans were so enthralled.


For the Dough

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt

  • 1 large egg yolk

  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

  • 2 tablespoons ice water

For the Filling

  • 6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

  • 6 ounces (¾ cup) creme fraiche

  • 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

For the Roasted Figs

  • 1 cup ruby port

  • 3 star anise

  • 3 cinnamon sticks

  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns

  • 2 strips orange zest (3 inches long and 1 inch wide), plus zest curls for garnish

  • ¼ cup granuated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 2 vanilla beans, halved lengthwise

  • 1 ½ pounds fresh Black Mission figs (about 24), halved lengthwise


  1. Make the dough: Pulse flour, granulated sugar, salt, and egg yolk in a food processor until combined. Add butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. With machine running, gradually add ice water, and process until dough comes together. Divide in half, and shape into disks. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate 30 minutes (or up to 3 days).

  2. Make the filling: Beat cream cheese with a mixer until fluffy. Beat in creme fraiche and confectioners' sugar until smooth. (Filling can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 day; bring to room temperature before using.)

  3. Roast the figs: Preheat oven to 350. Combine port, anise, cinnamon, peppercorns, zest, granulated sugar, and honey in a roasting pan. Use the tip of a paring knife to scrape vanilla seeds into port mixture, then add pods. Add figs, and turn to coat. Roast, basting once, until figs are soft and liquid is syrupy, about 45 minutes. Let cool. (Figs and syrup can be refrigerated up to one week.)

  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick. Using a 4-inch fluted tartlet pan turned upside down as a guide, cut out 8 rounds. Fit dough into tartlet pans. Prick bottoms with a fork. Place shells on a rimmed baking sheet, and refrigerate 30 minutes.

  5. Bake tartlet shells until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer molds to a wire rack. Let cool completely.

  6. Spoon 2 tablespoons filling into each shell. Top with figs, and drizzle with syrup. Garnish with orange zest. (Tartlets can be refrigerated for up to one hour.) Remove molds and serve immediately.

Cook's Notes

You will need eight 4-inch fluted tartlet pans for this recipe. Fresh figs are available in June and again from late July to October. Ripe fruit is soft, fragrant, and quite perishable, often lasting just two or three days in the refrigerator; firm, under-ripe figs will soften and sweeten slightly if left at room temperature for a day or two. Figs also bruise easily, so be sure to handle them gently.

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