Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Seasonal Recipe: Figgy Cheese Tart

Photo of figs cut in half and the interesting shape revealed
I love how the shape of the seeds inside a fig often resemble a leaf 

It's a great year for figs here at VP Gardens, though I fear some renovation pruning is required which will affect next year's crop. However, I'm staying in the present for now and the happy fact I have excess figs to deal with.

I'm continuing my experiments with seasonal tarts and quiches, and the thought of combining the sweetness of the figs with a salty blue cheese for a savoury tart for tea appealed. I don't usually go for combining sweet with savoury - ham and pineapple? Yuk. However, fruit with cheese is my exception to the rule, born out of the many cheese and apple sandwiches I had as a child.

It turned out to be a match made in heaven. Even NAH, suspicious at the thought when I suggested it, conceded the reality was very fine indeed.


Butter for greasing
Plain flour for rolling out
200g ready-made shortcrust pastry
2 tablespoons ground almonds
4 large figs, halved
100g blue cheese, crumbled
2 large eggs
150ml semi-skimmed milk
6-8 sprigs thyme, stalks removed (yields approx 2 teaspoons of leaves)
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Figgy cheese tart - the result


Regular readers will have spotted this recipe is similar to my recent one for apricot tart. Indeed, a sweet version could be made using that recipe - omit the baking of the fruit stage and the sugar on the fruit. Figs are sweet enough on their own and ripe ones are soft enough not to need baking. Substitute 5 halved figs for the apricots.

If you want to make your own shortcrust pastry, use this recipe first.

Now for the savoury version...

  1. Butter a 25cm diameter flan dish, ensuring both bottom and sides are well covered
  2. Coat the surface where the pastry's going to be rolled out with a thin layer of flour
  3. Roll out the pastry to a size a little larger than the dish's diameter plus its sides
  4. Place the pastry on the dish, ensuring it's pressed well into the sides
  5. Prick the pastry generously with a fork and allow to rest for 30 minutes in the fridge 
  6. Whilst the pastry is resting, pre-heat the oven to 200oC (170 for fan-assisted ovens)/Gas Mark 6
  7. When the pastry's well-rested, trim off the excess pastry, add some baking beans to the dish and bake-blind in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the base is crisp, but not browned.
  8. Remove the pastry base from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. 
  9. Place the base on a baking tray
  10. Add the ground almonds and ensure they form an even layer all over the base
  11. Place the figs on top of the almonds in a circle around the edge
  12. Arrange about two thirds of the cheese around the figs and in the middle of the pastry; also add a good blob of cheese to the centre of each fig
  13. In a bowl quickly whisk together the eggs, milk, thyme and black pepper, then pour the custard mixture over the figs
  14. Add the remaining cheese to the custard mixture, 
  15. Bake for 25-30 minutes at the same temperature as before, or until the top is browned and the custard mixture is set
Serves 4-6. Serve warm with a large mixed salad.


  • Substitute finely chopped walnuts for the almonds, for a richer, more earthy taste
  • Use any strongly flavoured, salty, crumbly cheese you have to hand, such as feta or a nice bit of wensleydale
  • It turns out one of my fellow Tomato Trials day attendees had a similar idea, though she used gorgonzola. This is the closest recipe I can find to what she described, which is more like a pizza than a tart. She said it went down very well with her family.


  1. oh my goodness, that looks wonderful. That is going on the menu this weekend., but unlike you, I must first buy my figs.....

    1. Thanks Bridget, we really enjoyed it. You may also like to try the gorgonzola version I've added to the variations section. It's more like a pizza and comes highly recommended.

  2. Your fig dish looks great. I have very little experience of figs but am coming around to the idea that they would be a great addition to any garden.

    1. Kelli, I loved my fig tree before it started to bear fruit last year. They're a bonus.


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