Mocha & Fig Tart With an Almond Pretzel Crust




About: Cathi Iannone is a Brooklyn-based, designer, Italian-American home cook, and creator of the Italian-American food & lifestyle blog, The Brooklyn Ragazza. She specializes in local and seasonal, Cucina Povera...

A playful mingling of sweet, spicy, and savory best describes this rich dessert.   What works best about this dessert is the texture and saltiness of the almond-pretzel crust, which provided a light enough foundation to contrast the heaviness of the filling. The espresso-chocolate and cream smoothes out the texture while adding a lovely, dark, deep canvas against which the fig firmly stands. This dessert plates very elegantly and would make an impressive, unexpected dessert for guests.

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Step 1: Mocha & Fig Tart With an Almond Pretzel Crust

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and organize all ingredients in appropriate measures:


1 1/2 cup mini pretzels (pulsed to large crumbs in food processor)

2/3  cup almonds (pulsed to large crumbs in food processor)

2 tablespoons of sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of espresso granules

5 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)


1 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup whole milk

10 ounces semi sweet chocolate morsels

6-7 mission figs (stems removed and pulsed in food processor to form a thick paste)

2 large eggs (beaten, room temperature)

1 tablespoon of espresso (finely ground)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon extra fine sea salt

Step 2:

Pulse pretzels and almonds in a food processor. Add sugar, cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of espresso granules and butter, then pulse a few times.

Step 3:

Press the pretzel-almond crumb mixture into either a 9 inch tart tin, or 6 small individual tart dishes. You can use the bottom of a glass to press the crumbs firmly to the bottom and a half inch up the sides.

Step 4:

Bake the crust for 10-12 minutes (375 degrees),  and remove from the oven to cool while you make your filling.  Turn oven down to 325 degrees.

Step 5:

Pulse figs in a food processor until they form a thick paste.

Step 6:

In a medium saucepan, heat the heavy cream and the milk until it simmers

Step 7:

Once it simmers, remove from heat and stir in the chocolate bits, along with the cinnamon, and salt.

Step 8:

Stir in the fig paste, and the espresso granules, and continue to stir until the fig has loosened up and is fully incorporated with little or, no lumps.

Step 9:

Add  a couple tablespoon of the hot chocolate mixture to the beaten eggs to temper the eggs so they do not scramble when added to the chocolate.

Step 10:

Add egg mixture to the chocolate mixture and stir to thoroughly incorporate. (about one minute.)

Step 11:

Fill your prepared, baked crust, or individual dishes with the filling mixture. Bake the tart(s) for 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven. If the tart(s) begin to show signs of bubbles or cracks on top, quickly remove them from the oven, as this is a sign of an over- cooked tart.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15-20 minutes. Serve warm from the oven, or chilled.
Garnish with whipped cream or fig (optional)

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    34 Discussions

    spark master

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Nice recipe, next time you make one, stick an instant read thermometer in it at the center! The hole can be disguised with an almond or a blop of cream!

    I had already decided to make this, but I do have a question.... my figs aren't in yet, in fact with this winter I may have lost the tree entirely. Can dried mission figs be used? I really like the idea of the saltiness of a pretzel crust too. It just really looks good to me!

    5 replies

    Oh, absolutely! If you notice in my photograph, I have dried mission figs. You can use any variety, really. Actually, dried are preferred, as the fresh might add too much moisture to the mix. I have yet to try this recipe with fresh figs, but will in the future, for the sake of comparison.
    This dessert is a really old-school Italian dessert. I grew up in a very Italo-American populated town, and everyone has fig trees and cooks and bakes with figs, so I am always incorporating them into my dishes. Of, course, coffee is very popular in our desserts, as well, so I decided to marry the two. Good luck, with your dessert! I know you and your guests will just love it!!

    :). I thought they looked a bit dried up. I've actually never seen a dried one except the outside of a package in the store.
    This is going to give me a perfect chance to work with some and try them. I didn't even know I liked figs until by chance I bought a fig tree for the back garden. The silly thing must like it here, it had produced non-stop since 2 weeks in. Even after a freeze killed it to ground level I had figs coming out 5 inches from the ground. Hoping if the winter got it once again I will have the same luck in how much it produces. I have learned to make a variety if both savory and sweet dishes with them as well as jams, but I have never made a pie or tart with them., so i think niw is the time! I'll get some dried ones for this, and might even try the fresh as well just to see (and use up some figs).
    You might know, is there any other ways besides canning and drying to preserve the figs? They seems to only keep a day or two after they are picked.

    Haha. You are so cute! I know exactly what you mean! The dried figs are, in fact, shriveled compared to the fresh ones.

    As far as preserving them another way, hmmm.. maybe freeze?

    You know, my favorite little snack is to slit open a dried fig, jam a walnut half in there and dip in melted chocolate. To die for!! I know it sounds really simple, but the flavors and textures together really work.

    I am so going to have to try that! Except might try with pecans since I always have loads of those. Seems like walnut is used more with figs but surely it will work. No matter what it has chocolate and that makes EVERYTHING delicious :)