These fig and ricotta puff pastry tartlets combine sweet, savoury and creamy elements into a delicious, versatile and elegant appetizer. Easy and simple to make, with a fancy appearance and luxurious taste, these fig bites are a crowd pleaser that will certainly impress your guests. Creamy ricotta cheese, combined with honey, thyme and lemon zest, pairs wonderfully with the sweet, honey-like and fruity taste of fresh figs encased in a crunchy, airy puff pastry.
Why you will love these ricotta & fig tarts
- They can be made up to 2 days in advance.
- These tartlets are simple to make with little effort yet you end up with impressive results which are perfect to impress your guests at an elegant dinner party or during the various festive holiday seasons.
- Admittedly, the combination of fresh figs, ricotta, honey and thyme are not your everyday appetizer yet this particular recipe will leave a great impression on anyone.
- They are highly customisable. You can add a variety of other flavours or toppings.
Ricotta in puff pastry
Ricotta is an Italian whey cheese with a creamy, soft yet slightly grainy texture. It has a mild, creamy taste with a subtle sweetness, making ricotta a versatile ingredient in both sweet and savoury dishes. The mild flavour of ricotta cheese can be enhanced by combining it with other ingredients to make it either more sweet or savoury.
Ricotta cheese holds its consistency well when heated as it doesn’t melt or go gooey which is why it works great when using it in puff pastry tartlets. Moreover, the combination of roasted figs with ricotta, honey and thyme is a match made in heaven. It can be eaten both as a savoury appetizer or a sweet dessert.
Which ingredients to use
- Puff pastry: You can make your own puff pastry but store-bought puff pastry sheets are just fine and are what I use. You can find puff pastry in most supermarkets either frozen or in the cold food section.
- Butter: I use butter to grease the muffin tin to prevent the puff pastry from sticking to it. You only need a small amount of butter to be brushed in the tray. Just make sure that the butter is at room temperature to allow better coverage. Or use a cooking spray to grease the muffin tin.
- Figs: Select ripe fresh figs that are slightly soft to the touch and that have a sweet and fragrant aroma to give the best sweetness for making this fig tart recipe.
- Ricotta cheese: Use whole milk ricotta cheese for the best, creamiest results.
- Honey: Depending on the sweetness of the figs you can adjust the overall sweetness of this dish by using more or less honey. Use any type of honey you like.
- Thyme: Use either dried thyme or fresh thyme leaves.
- Lemon: This fig and ricotta tart recipe only calls for lemon zest. Wash the lemon well and grate the peel until you get the desired quantity. Lemon zest adds freshness to the ricotta and counterbalances the overall sweetness of the dish.
- Almonds: Gently toast some flaked almonds in a dry pan and sprinkle them over the ricotta tartlets to garnish before serving.
- Pepper (optional): Adding a just pinch of pepper can cut neatly through the sweetness of the dish, but this is completely optional in this recipe. Preferably use freshly ground pepper for better aroma.
How to make fig puffs
Ricotta and fig tartlets with puff pastry are rather easy and simple to make. While the puff pastry is pre-baking in the oven you can prepare the other elements of the dish.
First start by preheating the oven to 350 ℉ or 180 ℃.
- Prepare the puff pastry: When using frozen puff pastry, start by thawing the pastry according to the instructions on the packet. Unfold the thawed puff pastry on a lightly floured surface to prevent it from sticking. When buying a puff pastry roll from the non-frozen fridge section of the supermarket it usually comes with baking paper so just unfold the cold puff pastry with the baking paper.
NOTE: Don’t take the puff pastry out of the fridge too early as it will be more difficult to handle when at room temperature
- Cut the puff pastry into squares: Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut the puff pastry sheets into equal squares that will fit in the cavities of the muffin tin.
- Grease the muffin tray: In order to prevent the puff pastry from sticking to the muffin tray we will need to grease the tray. Greasing can be done by using either cooking spray or by brushing a thin layer of butter in to each cavity. Make sure the butter is at room temperature for easier brushing.
- Make and bake the cups: Fit one square in each cavity of the greased muffin tray and press down gently in the center to create a cup. With a fork, pierce holes at regular intervals in the puff pastry. This will prevent the pastry from puffing too much while baking. Place the muffin tray in the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes until lightly browned. When taking them out of the oven they will have puffed up, which is quite normal. Just gently press with the back of a wooden spoon in the centre and the puff will go down a bit.
- Prepare the ricotta and figs: Meanwhile, add the ricotta, honey, lemon zest and thyme to a medium bowl and stir to combine. Gently wash the figs and place them on a cutting board. Slice off the stem and cut into 4 to 6 pieces, depending on the size of the whole figs.
- Bake the fig ricotta tartlets: Spoon the ricotta mixture in each of the pre-baked puff pastry tarts. Add a few pieces of fresh figs on top. Drizzle with a bit of honey and sprinkle some thyme, then place in the oven and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and cooked through.
- Garnish and serve: Toast some almond flakes for a few minutes in a dry pan on low heat while stirring regularly to avoid burning, then sprinkle the toasted almonds on the tartlets and serve.
These puff pastry tarts with ricotta and figs are really versatile and can be adjusted and customised to taste.
- Ricotta cheese can be replaced with mascarpone or goat’s cheese.
- Use rosemary instead of thyme for a different aroma.
- Add ham or prosciutto for some extra saltiness.
- Replace fresh figs with peaches or apricots.
- For garnish use roasted walnuts or pine nuts, after you add a dollop of sour cream or goat’s cheese on top, or drizzle with some homemade balsamic glaze right before serving.
These fig tartlets with ricotta cheese can be served as an elegant canapé or as gourmet finger food at an elegant dinner party or during the holiday season. Place the tartlets on a large beautiful plate and let everyone take as they like. Serve garnished with toppings or serve toppings to the side so everyone can add sour cream or any other topping as they please. You will surely impress your guests with these fancy bite-sized appetizers.
Serve these fig tartlets as an appetizer during a family dinner or holiday meal. Place one or two tartlets on small individual plates and decorate with arugula salad or other leafy greens with a light olive oil dressing.
Another option is to keep the fig ricotta puffs sweet and serve as a small dessert after dinner.
More recipes with fresh figs to try
Looking for more elegant appetizers?
- Marinated mozzarella balls
- Smoked salmon tartare
- Feta stuffed Padrón peppers
- Smoked salmon with pineapple salsa
- Chestnut hummus
Fig and ricotta tartlets with puff pastry
- 1 sheet puff pastry thawed
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter room temperature
- 6 figs cut in pieces
- 8 ounces (or 250 grams) ricotta cheese
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ½ tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- handful flaked almonds toasted
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 ℉ (or 180 ℃).
- Spray a muffin tray with cooking spray or brush with a thin layer of soft butter.
- Unfold the thawed puff pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface or on top of a sheet of baking paper. Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut squares of approximately 3 inches or 7.5 cm. Place one square into each muffin cavity and gently press it in to form a cup. Pierce the pastry all around with a fork.
- Place the muffin tin in the pre-heated oven and bake the pastry for 10 minutes until slightly puffed and golden brown.
- Meanwhile, combine the ricotta cheese with thyme, honey, lemon zest in a bowl and mix well. Optionally season with freshly ground pepper to taste.
- Take the muffin tray from the oven. If the dough has puffed up too much, gently press down in the middle to form a cup again. Spoon the ricotta filling into each pastry and place a few pieces of fresh fig on top.
- Place the muffin tray back in the oven and bake for a further 10-15 minutes until the puff pastry is golden brown and cooked through.
- Remove from the oven and carefully take the cups out of the tray. Serve with toasted almond flakes on top and a drizzle of honey.