Today's fig tartlets are not quite sweet and not quite savory, living in a delicious realm in between. The cream cheese and crunch of cornmeal in the crust tease out the earthy quality of the figs, and a drizzle of honey heightens the fruit's juicy, natural sweetness. I'm always a fan of recipes that work any time of day and these tartlets are wonderful for breakfast, tea or a not-too-sweet dessert.

INGREDIENTS makes 4 medium tartlets (I think each tartlet could feed two to four for dessert or tea, though I wolfed down an entire tartlet for breakfast one day. No problem.)

Note: Be sure to give your dough at least an hour to chill before assembling your tarts.

DOUGH: adapted from Annie Somerville's recipe, via Janet Fletcher's lovely piece in Sunset Magazine's August 2013 issue
  • 1/4 cup masa harina or corn meal
  • 1 cup all purpose flour {GF folks: as per usual, I use Pamela's Bread Mix}
  • generous pinch of sea salt
  • 4 tablespoon cold, unsalted butter cut into small pieces
  • 8 ounces cold cream cheese
  • 24 figs small-medium figs (1 1/4 pound)
  • about 4 teaspoons honey
  • about 4 teaspoons creamy goat cheese
  • a dozen fresh thyme sprigs
In a food processor, mix together masa harina/corn meal, all purpose flour, and salt. Add the butter and blend until you have a coarse, crumbly texture. Finally, add the cream cheese in little chunks. Let the processor whir, until a ball of dough forms.

Lay four squares of plastic wrap on the counter next to your food processor. Divide the dough into 4 balls of the roughly the same size. Wrap each ball of dough in plastic and use the heel of your palm to flatten the dough into 4 round disks. Refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 3 days.

After your dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 375.

On a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out each ball of dough into a 7 inch round. Transfer prepared crusts onto one or two parchment-lined baking sheets, and roll edges of the dough up and over, making a small border.

Trim stem ends from figs and slice the fruit vertically into 1/8 inch rounds. Lay the fig slices in an overlapping circular pattern on top of the prepared dough. Drizzle a little honey over the figs. Crumble on a bit of goat cheese. Tuck in a few sprigs of thyme.

Pop the tartlets into the hot oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate the baking sheets to ensure an even baking. Bake another 15-20 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the figs are soft and oozing with jammy goodness.

Eat warm or at room temp.