I just realized the danger of winging a recipe. Victor declared this tart to be one of the five best things I have ever made – and while I have a pretty good idea of what I did, I didn’t measure or write anything down.

Curses, says I.

It was a bit of a clean-out-the-refrigerator idea. I had a pie crust made from Sunday, figs that needed using, some ricotta cheese that needed using, and a can of almond paste in the cabinet from Dubya’s first term. Time to make a dessert, eh?!?

Making a tart was my first idea because I had that single pie crust, so I started rooting around for what to do. I didn’t feel like making a pastry cream, I didn’t want to blind-bake a tart shell. I wanted something really good and I was feeling really lazy. I grabbed the step stool and found the can of almond paste on the top shelf of the baking cabinet – back in the corner behind some Wilton Meringue Powder I think we brought from San Leandro.

The can was in good shape, no rust, no bulges, and when I opened it, it actually smelled like almond paste. Score one for the lazy guy.

I thought mixing it with cream cheese would be good for the base but we didn’t have any – but we did have some ricotta left from when Victor made the eggplant rolatini. I thought some corn syrup might help pull it together, but I espied a jar of Lyle’s Golden Syrup with a few drops remaining, and went for it, instead. I almost added an egg yolk, and then decided against it. Some vanilla went in. Then it almost got pistachios on top – because figs and pistachios go really well together – but pistachios and almonds?!? I forewent the nuts.

The end result was nothing short of miraculous.

Victor’s first remark was that it reminded him of the holidays. We’ve done a lot of cookies and desserts with almond paste over the years so that makes sense. And it was light in texture and heavy on flavor. Not a bad combination.

So here are the measurements I think I used – and the ones I will use the next time I make this.

Fig Tart

  • pastry for single crust pie
  • 3/4 pound fresh figs
  • 1 8oz can almond paste
  • 3/4 cup whole milk ricotta
  • 3 tbsp Lyle’s Golden Syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Roll out pastry to about a 13″-14″ circle. Place on sheet pan – on parchment paper, if you have it.

Break up almond paste and slowly mix in the ricotta – making sure the almond paste is breaking up and mixing in. Add the vanilla and Golden syrup.

Spread the almond cream evenly over the crust leaving a 3″ border all around.

Thickly slice the figs and place then atop the almond cream.

Fold the pastry up over the filling, crimping as you go along.

Bake in a preheated 400°F oven for about 45 minutes.

Cool and serve!

Give it a try. It may be one of the best five things you’ve ever made!