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For Many Reasons | Yeasted Fig & Goat Cheese Tart

Yeasted Fig & Goat Cheese Tart | Delightful CrumbI’d long dreamt of making this tart, probably ever since I spotted it in the pages of Plenty More. Figs! Goat cheese! Almonds! Herbs! Gorgeous yeasted pastry! It’s certainly a beauty, and Yotam Ottolenghi always gets this sort of thing right. The vision sat patiently in my head (and on a scrap of paper along with several other culinary delights that couldn’t be realized in the absence of summer produce) for many months.

Finally, a couple of weeks ago, with beautiful, near-bursting figs fresh at my favorite source at the Saturday market, I pulled it together over the course of a lazy day. I tended to it carefully, kneading the dough, gently feeding it plenty of butter as it twirled around in my stand mixer, allowing the tart the necessary time to rise not just once but twice, timing things so that we could eat it slightly warm for dessert. It was the perfect punctuation to a simple, summery dinner of my favorite corn and zucchini fritters, blistered Jimmy Nardellos, a big salad and a pretty bottle of rosé. Just as I’d hoped, it hit all of the right notes—savory from the goat cheese and herbs, sweet from the almonds mixed into the layer between dough and figs, those perfectly sticky figs adding an amount of sultriness appropriate for a warm summer night.

Relaying my weekend activities to a coworker and friend the following Monday—simple excursions to my favorite wine bar and coffee shop, movies at home, boring errands, a good handful of culinary efforts like this—she asked if I’d made the puffed up figgy tart for any occasion in particular. None at all, I told her with a bit of embarrassment. Oh dear, I thought in a panicked moment of self-doubt. Is it silly that I make things so time consuming and indulgent as this, for no event whatsoever, for only the stomachs of myself and my (thankfully ever-hungry) husband? But she laughed and said she thinks it’s great, and after a moment of self-doubt, I remembered why I feel the same.

I cook and bake and make for many reasons. Sometimes it’s for a dinner party, or for a potluck or picnic contribution, or for feeding guests from out of town. Sometimes I cook for little more than sustenance, for dinner on the table—healthy and inexpensive and satisfying, I hope. But other times, it’s just for me. I do it for the creative rush, for the sense of satisfaction at making something so gloriously tangible with my two hands and five senses, for the very good feeling of feeding myself well, and generously.

I love that a recipe can catch my eye, be on my mind for weeks or months, over the dark days in which a particular ingredient is out of season or times when I can’t seem to find extra hours to dedicate to “unnecessary” kitchen endeavors. And then, at the serendipitous moment when the season, my schedule and inspiration align, I pull the book from the shelf or the recipe from my folder of clippings or the link up from the vastness of the internet, and the dream is realized. My sink fills with dishes, the kitchen with the scent of something delicious and our little apartment with an unmistakable feeling of warmth and abundance. A couple of hours, some dishwashing, cups and tablespoons and dashes of ingredients later and there’s a beautiful dish on the table that will fill our bellies. For me, there’s little so simple and constant and joyful as this.

Maybe you feel this way, too (a good possibility if you’re reading this site), or perhaps there’s something else that holds the magic for you. Regardless, once we’ve discovered that golden spark, what could we call it but necessary? We’d best hold it close and share it well, lucky as we are to have the chance.

Yeasted Fig & Goat Cheese Tart | Delightful Crumb

Yeasted Fig & Goat Cheese Tart

Slightly adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty More

Serves 8, generously

This tart is sweet but not too sweet, making it appropriate for dessert or breakfast or a snack. Thanks to its savory-sweet nature, I think it could even pass for an appetizer alongside something sparkling. Store leftovers, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator for up to a few days.


2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (265 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting (use up to 1 cup whole wheat flour if desired)

1/4 cup (50 g) natural cane sugar

1 teaspoon yeast

Zest of 1/2 lemon

2 eggs, beaten

5 1/2 tablespoons (75 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into cubes

Sunflower oil, for brushing



5 oz (150 g) soft goat cheese

2/3 cup (85 g) powdered sugar

Heaped 1/2 teaspoon orange zest

1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves, plus more for garnish

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup (100 g) ground almonds

1 1/3 lb (600 g) ripe figs (about 12 – 18), halved or quartered lengthwise, depending on the size

1 tablespoon natural cane sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

First, make the pastry. Place the flour, sugar, yeast and lemon zest in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix to combine. Add the eggs and 1/4 cup water. Using the dough hook attachment, work for a few seconds on low speed before increasing to medium and kneading for 3 minutes, until the dough comes together. Add 1/8 teaspoon salt and the butter, a few cubes at a time, until it all melts into the dough. Continue kneading on medium speed for about 10 minutes, until the dough is completely smooth, elastic and shiny. If the dough is sticking to the sides of the bowl, throw in a small amount of flour.

Place the dough in a large bowl brushed with sunflower oil, cover with plastic wrap and leave in the refrigerator for at least half a day, up to overnight. It will increase in volume, by about one-fourth.

To make the filling, combine the goat cheese, 2 teaspoons of the powdered sugar, the orange zest, the thyme and all but a couple spoonfuls of the beaten eggs in a medium bowl. Whisk until smooth and then stir in the almonds. Mix until evenly combined and smooth.

Lightly flour a clean work surface and roll the pastry into an 11-inch square (it should be about 1/4-inch thick). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer the pastry to the baking sheet. Spread the goat cheese mixture on top, leaving a border of about 2/3-inch. Brush the remaining egg over the border.

Top the goat cheese filling with the sliced figs, placing them cut side up and slightly overlapping, as they will shrink while cooking. Sprinkle with the sugar, cover the tart with aluminum foil and set it aside in a warm place for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the foil from the tart and bake for about 30 minutes, until the figs are caramelized and the base of the pastry is golden brown.

Whisk the remaining powdered sugar with the lemon juice until you have a thick yet pourable icing. Remove the tart from the oven and use a spoon to drizzle the icing over top. Sprinkle with thyme leaves and enjoy warm or at room temperature.