Ah! The Figs...

For a delightful change in the classic French dessert, La Tarte Tatin,

try fresh figs instead of apples or pears. The figs pair very well with the caramel sauce, they also lend a nice mushy texture that is well balanced against the crunch of the toasted walnuts and that of the crust. It truly is a delightful late summer dessert. When served with vanilla ice cream or vanilla thickened cream – not that it needs it, the combination is just heavenly! I dare not make this tart, unless I have guests over, as I will end up having ‘just one more slice’, until it is done!

The term Tarte Tatin,

is classically given to a tart of caramelised apples that are cooked under pastry. It is essentially an upside-down tart, as instead of having a shell of pastry filled with filling, Tarte Tatin is done the other way around. You prepare the caramelised fruit filling and top with a lid of pastry then cook. The result is  a divine taste of caramel combined with the flavour of the fruits (classically apples or pears) under a golden crispy pastry crust that absorbs all the caramelised flavours! Need I say more about this amazing dessert?

More on the background of Tarte Tatin;

Although ‘upside-down’ tarts made with apples or pears are an ancient speciality of Sologne, the name ‘Tatin’ was given to it in reference to the Tatin sisters who – in the early 20th century – ran a hotel-restaurant in Lamotte-Beuvron. Story has it, that the sisters prepared a tart and dropped it to the flour then to salvage the situation, they picked it up and cooked it upside down,then served it as a Tarte Tatin! The name became used all over to refer to upside down tarts. The name, having become famous by the Tatin sisters, Maxim’s were the first to serve it as a tarte Tatin in Paris, where it remains their speciality to date.

If you haven’t tried the classic apple or pear tarte Tatin, you have really been missing. But hey, just replace the figs -in this recipe – with apples or pears and you have got the classic preparation of this tart. If you have had a Tatin before, then I find figs to be a very welcome variation to the classic, try it.

Here is how it’s done….


Serves: 8
  • 1 recipe pie crust pastry (on this link)
  • 6-8 fresh figs, quartered, or halved if small sized
  • 90g butter chopped
  • 110g light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped

You can use an oven proof saucepan to make this tart, or you can make the filling in a separate pan and transfer to oven proof pan when finished.

In a pan melt the chopped butter together with the brown sugar. Once all the butter is melted add the cream, and sour cream, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Then bring to a boil and let bubble for 3 minutes. Add the figs, reduce the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes, turning occasionally without breaking the figs.

In the meantime, make the pastry, as in the recipe in the link.

Preheat the oven to 425F-210C.

Place the cooked figs in the baking dish, then top with the chopped toasted walnuts, and then pour over the caramel sauce in the pan to cover. Top the filling with the rolled out Pastry and tuck the sides in between the sides of the baking dish and the figs. Prick the pastry with a toothpick to allow the steam to escape. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden.

Remove from oven. Let the tart set for 15 minutes. Then loosen the sides with a knife, and turn upside down over a serving dish. Serve alone or with vanilla ice cream or vanilla thickened cream.

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