This tarte aux figues is a wonderful way to make use of an abundance of fresh figs. It features a buttery pâte sucrée (shortcrust pastry), a layer of fig jam, creme d'amande (almond cream) and a beautiful display of fresh figs. Baked until golden brown and caramelized, this French fig tart is bursting with fig flavor!
I love a good frangipane (creme d'amande in French, or almond cream) tart. The sweet, nutty filling is incredibly versatile and works with so many different toppings. I've used it in a rhubarb frangipane tart, a pear hazelnut frangipane tart, and even a peach galette with cornmeal frangipane!
When I recently brought home a box of 16 ripe Brown Turkey figs, I knew I wanted to make some of them into a tart. In this recipe, a buttery shortcrust pastry (pate sucree) tart shell holds a layer of fig jam. Next comes a layer of creamy almond frangipane filling flavored with freshly ground anise seed, in a nod to the popular anise liqueurs so common in France. The fresh figs are nestled into the almond cream and baked until they are caramelized.
This tart magically transforms in the oven. The pastry develops into a buttery, golden brown shell, while the fig jam bakes into a sticky, chewy layer. The tender almond cream puffs up around the figs, which release much of their moisture and turn into sweet bites bursting with concentrated fig flavor.
While this tart may appear complex, it's actually quite an easy dessert recipe. Each of the elements is quite simple to prepare, and several can be made in advance. With a bit of patience, you'll have a wonderful fig frangipane tart.
FOR THE PATE SUCREE (SHORTCRUST PASTRY)
- Unsalted butter - Using unsalted butter allows you to control the total quantity of salt in the recipe. Salt content in salted butter varies from brand to brand. The butter should be cubed.
- Granulated sugar - To sweeten the dough and help it brown.
- Kosher salt - for added flavor.
- All purpose flour - to provide structure.
- Egg yolk - as a binder to provide structure to the dough, as well as fat and flavor.
FOR THE CREME D'AMANDE (FRANGIPANE)
- Almond flour - I like to use finely ground almond flour for a smooth frangipane. You can also use almond meal, which is more coarsely ground. You can use them interchangeably here, though almond meal will provide a somewhat more rustic texture.
- All purpose flour - A bit of flour adds structure to the filling so that it's a bit more firm.
- Granulated sugar - Sugar adds sweetness and helps keep the frangipane moist.
- Kosher salt - for added flavor.
- Vanilla extract - for added flavor.
- Ground anise seeds - Anise has a marvelous licorice flavor that pairs well with figs. Anise based liqueurs such as Pastis are very popular in France, so I wanted to incorporate the flavor here. I used a mortar and pestle to grind the whole seeds into powder. Make sure to use anise seeds, not star anise; they are different spices. Omit the anise if you don't like the flavor.
- Eggs - Eggs provide moisture and structure to the frangipane, along with fat and flavor.
- Unsalted butter - It should be at room temperature so that it combines easily with the other ingredients.
- Fig jam - Spreading a generous amount of fig jam on the base of the tart shell creates a delicious additional layer of fig flavor. It bakes into a slightly chewy, caramelized layer that adds a wonderful texture and bite to the soft frangipane.
- Fresh figs - I used fresh, ripe brown turkey figs that I found in the produce section at my local grocery store Any variety of fresh fig will work for this recipe, although my preference is for the darker Brown Turkey or Black Mission figs. If you're lucky enough to have a fig tree or a neighbor who has one, this recipe is perfect for you! The figs should be soft to the touch, but not so squishy that they collapse into mush when cut into quarters. The quantity of figs required depends on their size. I made this tart with 10 small figs, and again later with 7 large figs. I recommend buying 12 to make sure you have enough. It won't hurt to eat the leftovers!
See recipe card for quantities.
Learn how to make a tarte aux figues!
Make pâte sucrée dough and place into tart pan. Freeze briefly to make sure it's firm.
Spread the fig jam onto the base of the chilled tart. Place back in the freezer for a few minutes to firm up the jam.
Add all almond cream ingredients to the bowl of a food processor.
Remove tart shell from freezer and spread almond cream into an even layer.
Pulse until blended into a thick, creamy paste.
Arrange quartered figs in concentric circles, starting from the outside row and working your way in.
Place tart on baking sheet and bake on middle rack of oven for 60-70 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177° Celsius, Gas mark 4).
Place a pie shield on the crust at around the 40 minute mark. This will allow you to continue baking the tart while protecting the exterior crust from burning. See equipment for a link to the pie shield I use. If you don't have a pie shield, substitute with strips of aluminum foil.
Hints: Freeze the tart shell for a short time both before and after spreading the fig jam on the base. It will help keep the dough from tearing and make spreading the almond cream on top of the jam much easier.
- Tart dough - If you're looking for a gluten free tart dough, try this recipe from Alanna of The Bojon Gourmet. She is a master of gluten free baking!
- Almond Flour - If you are not able to source finely ground almond flour for the frangipane, you can substitute with almond meal, which is more coarsely ground. The texture will be slightly more rustic. Some people prefer it!
- Flour in frangipane filling - If you'd like to replace the flour so that your filling is completely gluten free, replace with an equal amount of cup for cup gluten free flour mix or brown rice flour.
- Figs - Well, it won't be a fig tart, but it will still be delicious! If you can't source any figs, consider using another fresh fruit such as fresh plums or apricots. Dried figs don't have enough moisture and would likely burn before baking is finished.
Give these variations and serving suggestions a try!
- Chocolate - Make this into a fig chocolate tart by replacing the flour in the frangipane with 10 grams (2 Tablespoons) cocoa powder. You can use either natural or Dutch cocoa.
- Fresh rosemary crust - Add a few teaspoons of finely diced fresh rosemary to the crust when mixing together the dry ingredients.
- Orange - Grate the peel of an orange into the almond cream ingredients before mixing together. Omit the ground anise seed. For an extra orange punch, add ½ teaspoon orange oil. Orange oil is concentrated and helps provide a powerful citrus burst. I find it to be much more flavorful than orange extract. I often use this specific flavoring.
- With crème fraîche or mascarpone - Serve a spoonful of tangy crème fraîche or rich mascarpone on the side. Drizzle with honey or sprinkle with chopped pistachos (or both.)
- Á la Mode - Top a slice of tart with a scoop of vanilla ice cream - or your favorite flavor! Salted caramel or blood orange ice cream would both be great.
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For my tart recipes, I use this nonstick carbon steel tart pan with a removable base.
I use a pie shield to protect the outer crust from browning too soon. I ended up adding the pie shield at the 40 minute mark while baking this French fig tart. If you don't have a pie shield, you can use strips of aluminum foil to cover the outside crust.
A half sheet baking pan (18 x 13 inches) keeps the base of the tart from browning too quickly and catches any drips or spills. Sometimes a bit of butter leaks from the bottom of the tart. Save yourself the work of cleaning the oven and use a baking sheet underneath!
Store the fig tart in the refrigerator, covered in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.
To freeze leftovers, wrap in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month. Defrost in the refrigerator prior to serving.
- Make the pâte sucrée tart dough ahead of time, roll it out, place it in the tart pan, wrap well with plastic wrap, and freeze it unbaked. This could be done up to a week or two in advance (but only if you won't be using your tart pan in the meantime!) No need to let it defrost before baking.
- Make the almond frangipane filling up to 5 days in advance. Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before baking.
No! Hooray! This tart shell will bake fully in the oven without the need to blind bake (par bake the empty shell). Indeed, you'll probably want to use a pie shield to keep the outside crust from browning too much during baking. See the equipment section for the pie shield I use.
There are definitely recipes that use dried figs. This recipe, however, is designed to be made with fresh figs. If you only have dried figs, I'd recommend you use a recipe that has been tested for that specific ingredient. Specialty ingredients are expensive and I always test my recipes to make sure they will turn out for you!
Yes! To freeze tarte aux figues leftovers, wrap in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month. Defrost in the refrigerator prior to serving.
Tarte aux Figues (French Fig Tart)Print Recipe Pin Recipe
PATE SUCREE (SHORTCRUST PASTRY)
- 113 grams (½ cup, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 50 grams (¼ cup) granulated sugar
- 2 grams (½ teaspoon) Kosher salt
- 120 grams (1 cup) all purpose flour
- 1 large egg yolk
CREME D'AMANDE (FRANGIPANE) FILLING
- 150 grams (1½ cups) almond flour
- 15 grams (2 Tablespoons) all purpose flour
- 150 grams (¾ cup) granulated sugar
- 1 gram (¼ teaspoon) Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon anise seed, ground
- 2 large eggs
- 45 grams (3 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, cubed
- 120 grams (6 Tablespoons) fig jam
- 9 - 12 fresh figs, stems removed and cut lengthwise into quarters When testing the recipe, one tart used 7 large figs, and another needed 10 smaller figs. Buy a few extra to make sure you have enough!
PATE SUCREE (SHORTCRUST PASTRY)
- Into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter, sugar and salt. Mix well to combine, and continue beating on medium high until mixture is pale and fluffy, about two minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.113 grams (½ cup, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature, 50 grams (¼ cup) granulated sugar, 2 grams (½ teaspoon) Kosher salt
- Add the flour and mix until just combined. It will be coarse and grainy. Add the egg yolk and mix for about 30 seconds. The dough should start to pull together into a ball.120 grams (1 cup) all purpose flour, 1 large egg yolk
- Flatten the dough into a disc shape. Roll the dough out between two sheets of parchment paper to a 10 inch diameter circle. Slide parchment covered dough onto an upside down baking sheet and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Remove dough from fridge and place on a flat work surface. Peel the top layer of parchment off the dough. Replace the parchment, flip the dough over, and peel the second layer off. Discard it.
- Once dough is slightly malleable, carefully center and place rolled out dough on 9 inch tart pan. Gently press the dough down into the pan and up the sides, ensuring that no empty space remains between the dough and the pan. If any cracks or tears occur, patch with extra dough scraps.
- Trim the excess dough with a knife held parallel to your work surface to ensure the tart shell has a clean edge. Place tart shell in freezer to chill for 5-10 minutes.
- Remove the tart from the freezer. Spread fig jam on the entire base of the fig tart. Place back in freezer to firm up for 10 minutes.120 grams (6 Tablespoons) fig jam
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177° Celsius, Gas mark 4) with rack in center of oven. Meanwhile, make the creme d'amande filling.
CREME D'AMANDE (FRANGIPANE) FILLING
- In the bowl of a food processor, add the almond flour, flour, sugar, salt, vanilla, ground anise seed and eggs. Scatter the butter over the top. Process until well mixed. You may need to stop the processor to scrape down the walls partway through.150 grams (1½ cups) almond flour, 15 grams (2 Tablespoons) all purpose flour, 150 grams (¾ cup) granulated sugar, 1 gram (¼ teaspoon) Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon anise seed, ground, 2 large eggs, 45 grams (3 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, cubed
- Remove tart from freezer. Scoop creme d'amande into tart shell and spread in an even layer over the fig jam.
- Beginning at outer edge, place figs in a circle (thicker base facing out, thinner tip facing in) around the tart. Repeat with inner circle. Depending on size of figs, you may need a third circle in the middle, or to fill in the middle with a few figs.9 - 12 fresh figs, stems removed and cut lengthwise into quarters
- Place tart onto a baking sheet and bake in oven for 60-70 minutes, until frangipane puffs up and is golden brown, and pastry crust is also golden brown. You may need to add a pie shield to protect the crust starting around the 40 minute mark. (See equipment notes).
- Remove from oven and cool on a baking rack.
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