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overhead photo of fresh sliced figs on cream cheese filling and match green crust on glass cake stand with bowl of figs to the right and books and decorative mask to the left all on red table cloth

Matcha Fresh Fig Tart Recipe

By Brenda Ponnay

You know that saying when life gives you lemons, make lemonade? Well, I have a saying that says: When life gives you an abundance of fruit, make a tart! Making fruit tarts has become one of my favorite things to do. It’s a super simple activity and they look like a million bucks. If you are the hostess who likes to have the compliments flowing, then tart-making might be your next superpower.

close-up photo of a white bowl filled with about 20 fresh ripe figs

If you don’t have an over-producing fig tree in your yard as I do, you can usually find figs in your local market between June and October. Figs are such a gentle fruit. I used to not even like their sweet and mild flavor until I started to imagine them as the inverted flowers that they are. We won’t talk about how they are pollinated by wasps, because while it is a wonderment of nature it’s also kind of off-putting to me. What we do know is that figs are a gorgeous fruit when they are cut open and displayed like art.  And what better to do with a beautiful fruit than to make art on top of a tart! Let’s get started, shall we?!

How-To Make a “Matcha Fig Tart” (adapted from this recipe by Paula Deen)

Ingredients broken down by the tart’s components:

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1½ sticks of butter (softened and sliced)
  • 1 tbs culinary matcha powder

Filling:

  • 1 (8oz) package of cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (please let your guests know this tart includes a tree nut ingredient, a common allergen)

Topping:

  • 8-20 ripe figs, sliced thin and halved

Glaze:

  • 1/4 cup apricot jam (any jam will do)
  • 1 tbs orange liqueur or water

Tools you’ll need: a 10-12 inch tart pan, a food processor, and a fine strainer or sieve.

Don’t be intimidated by this list, making a fruit tart is really quite simple when you break it down into manageable steps!

four photos showing how to make the green crust for a matcha fruit tart. photo of figs and matcha powder and almond extract; lots of sliced butter; overhead photo of ingredients making green matcha crust in food processor; photo of woman's hand pressing green dough into tart pan

Step 1: The first step is to make the matcha shortbread crust!

Directions to make the shortbread crust:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350º F.
  2. Combine your confectioners’ sugar, flour, matcha*, and sliced butter in a food processor until the mixture forms a ball.
  3. Press your shortbread dough into your tart pan gently, making sure to push the crust up into the fluted sides. (I love to use a 10-inch tart pan instead of 12 because personally I think the crust is the best part, and the thicker the better. But a 12-inch pan is what Paula Deen recommends in her recipe.) Pat until the crust is even.
  4. Bake for 10-15 minutes until your crust is lightly browned.
  5. Set aside to cool.

*A note about culinary matcha powder: You don’t have to put matcha in your crust. It has a very subtle flavor that I like combined with figs but it’s definitely something you could leave out. Personally, I include it because I LOVE the color, and making a tart is all about aesthetics, right? Let’s make something Instagrammable!

close-up of bowl of fresh figs in background and half image of baked green matcha crust in foreground

Step 2: Now the fun part: Filling your tart and decorating it! While your tart is cooling, mix your cream cheese filling.

Directions for the cream cheese filling:

  1. Beat the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and almond extract together until smooth.
  2. Spread evenly over your cooled matcha shortbread tart.

That was easy, right?

overhead photo of sliced fresh figs and knife on cutting board in foreground with full bowl of whole figs in background

Now for the not-so-easy part but it’s oh, so satisfying:

Step 3:  Find the biggest, plumpest figs you can and slice them into thin slices with a sharp knife. Then slice those slices in half. Or you could reverse that step: slice your fig in half and then slice the halves into thin slices. Same difference. You’ll figure out pretty quickly what works best for you.  What you want are slices that are whole and pretty and not too mushed up. You’ll have to discard a few ends here and there if they aren’t too photogenic but have no fear, those bits can be made into a quick jam later and spread on toast or just popped into your mouth. There’s no need to waste them. 🙂

overhead photo of making of sliced figs being positioned around cream cheese filling on tart

Step 4: Starting at the outer edge of your tart, lay your slices around in a circle with the skin-sided edges facing the same way. Easy does it around and around you go until you get to the center and end with a pretty fig flower! (see photos above and below.)

photo of completed freshly sliced fig tart in front with scraps on cutting board in the background and fan on countertop to the right side

Rewarding right?! Who knew you could create such a masterpiece.

two photos with bottle of Grand Marnier liquor and apricot jam on left side; and photo of lady's hand glazing fig tart with pastry brush in right photo

Step 5: If you want to make extra sure your fig topping stays nice, a glaze is a good idea. You can skip this step if you plan to eat your tart right away but if you are like me and plan to bring it to a family brunch the next day, a glaze is a good way to gently preserve the fragile figs.

Directions for a simple jam glaze:

  1. Heat your apricot jam (or any jam you think will pair nicely with your figs – spicy jam might be fun) and orange liqueur (or water if you want to skip the alcohol) in a small saucepan until it liquifies (melts).
  2. Remove from heat and strain through a fine strainer to remove any fruit lumps.
  3. Let cool slightly and glaze your fruit tart lightly with a pastry brush

That last step will really make you feel like you are painting a masterpiece. Because you are!

photo of fresh sliced fig tart with green match crust on glass cake stand with bowl of fresh fig in foreground and stack of books and decorative mask in background

Just wait until you show up to your party and hear the guests rave about the taste. Then you’ll really feel like a master chef. Just don’t tell them how easy it was actually to make!

More dessert recipes from Alpha Mom:

1- Candied Kumquat Citrus Cake (My Grandma’s Yummy Recipe)

2- Best Apple Cupcakes (with cinnamon frosting)

3- Yummy Greek Yogurt Blueberry Lemon Muffins!

About the Author

Brenda Ponnay

Brenda Ponnay is an author and illustrator who loves to craft and make big messes when she’s not working on her books. Whether it’s painting, baking, drawing, making castles out of card...

Brenda Ponnay is an author and illustrator who loves to craft and make big messes when she’s not working on her books. Whether it’s painting, baking, drawing, making castles out of cardboard boxes or just doing the laundry with flair, Brenda Ponnay has learned that what really makes her happy is being creative every single day.

You can read about all her crazy adventures on her personal blog: Secret Agent Josephine.

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