Middle Eastern Fig Tart Recipe

Middle Eastern Fig Tart Recipe

Figs grow in abundance in the Middle East. The bright sunshine and dry desert climate yield some of the best bourjassotte grisse variety of figs in the rocky desert of Egypt; and in places such as Palestine and Lebanon, smaller fig varieties such as the calimyrna fill up peoples’ fruit baskets at the markets. Making jams from these abundant yields of figs results in people eating figs throughout the year in some form or another. Although fresh figs are delicious, particularly when plucked straight off a tree, it’s hard not to wistfully dream of figs in the winter long after the last fig has been harvested. 

This pie recipe is unusual because it’s not made from fresh figs but fig jam, and not from pie dough but phyllo pastry. It relies on simple ingredients: phyllo, a good fig jam, butter, a Middle Eastern sugar syrup and ricotta cheese. The assembly takes a bit of patience but is well worth it in the end. We recommend a glass 8 x 8 pie dish. Working quickly with the phyllo dough is essential so it doesn’t dry out. We recommend unrolling your phyllo pastry on the counter and covering it with a damp kitchen towel so that the phyllo doesn’t dry out.







1 Hour 30 Minutes




1 packet phyllo dough 

2 ½ cups ricotta cheese 

2 cups Dukkan Fig Jam

1 stick butter 


For the sugar syrup:

3 cups of sugar

½ cup of water (or enough to just cover the sugar by a hairline) 

A squeeze of lemon juice 

2 teaspoons of rose water



For the sugar syrup: 


Step 1:

Add your sugar to a small pot and cover it with water making sure the water isn’t more than a hairline above the sugar. On a medium-low heat, leave the sugar to dissolve in the water. 


Step 2:

When the sugar dissolves, turn the heat to low and add a squeeze of lemon juice. This will allow it to get thicker. Leave it on low for 5 minutes and then turn off the heat. Mix in the rose water and give it a stir before letting it rest. The sugar will continue to thicken as it cools. You can prepare this ahead of time and store it in a jar for later use. It will keep for a month in the fridge.

For the pie:


Step 1:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 


Step 2:

Melt the butter in a bain marie, or else heat it in 5-10 second increments in a bowl in the microwave until it has melted. Be careful not to burn the butter by leaving it in the microwave for too long. 


Step 3:

Unroll your phyllo pastry and lay your pie dish on top of it and cut around it so that you can start working with the phyllo in the exact size and shape of your phyllo dough. Cover it again with the kitchen towel to keep it from drying out.


Step 4:

Using a pastry brush, butter the pie dish and its sides making sure to evenly coat it with a good amount of butter so the pastry doesn’t burn. Create layers of puff pastry by putting in 3-4 layers of puff pastry at a time, and then gently brushing it with some butter. Repeat until you get ¾ of the way up the pie dish. 


Step 5:

Spoon your ricotta and spread evenly. Pop the pie into the oven for about 25 minutes. 


Step 6:

Remove the pie from the oven and spoon the fig jamp on top in an even layer. Add a light drizzle of rose-flavored syrup before serving.

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