Figs Glorious Figs – Chieti Fig Orange & Fennel Seed Tart

Fig orange and fenugreek tartWhat do you do when a collection of luscious Henry Mooresque-shaped fruits sit seductively winking from the counter?

Figs Glorious Figs

This year’s first figs are bountiful here in Abruzzo at the moment.  I’d been enjoying a recently presented windfall of them for breakfast with yoghurt and roasted almonds but then what seemed another lorry-load arrived and I realised that I had to coax my nil-by-fig partner to make any sort of inroads into them, and even I personally don’t really like fig jam…


In true Abruzzo style we couldn’t let them go to waste…we’re still getting through last year’s jars of baby figs preserved in a simple syrup that are beautiful with a medium pecorino cheese, so that route was out…

I did try roasting some figs with fat Abruzzo sausages and a dribble of peperoncini oil to make a sweet rich sauce that glistened over whole-wheat pasta; very nice but during Italy’s hottest summer for 10 years perhaps a little much for current weather.  I did though want to find something sweetish to do with them outside the much-hated ‘jam option’.  After much searching on Google, I found a little link on an Italian cooking portal Cibochepassione with an article listing some traditional recipes from Chieti that included one for a Fresh Fig, Orange & Fennel Seed tart!  Jackpot! A combination of exquisite flavours that would work well in the summer heat and alongside a large glass of chilled pecorino, and that would not become too sweet or sharp.  Did it tempt the nil by fig partner … you bet!

2023 Tart/Cookie Update!

Do try these out using the upside-down technique that seems to be taking cooking sites by storm, it really works with this recipe!  Instead of making 1 ptart, cut out large circles. On baking parchment on your baking tray, add a couple of teaspoons of the syrup onto the paper (don’t worry if it runs a little the other cookies will absorb it), add a sprinkle of fenugreek seeds, lay the thinly sliced orange on top, then on top of the orange tower the slice of fig.  Finally, add your cut-out pie crust over the top, squeeze down around your precious contents and bake till golden.  Leave to cool, peel off the paper and dada a little September sun cookie!  I used brown sugar for this version.


Chieti Fig Orange & Fennel Seed Tart Recipe

200 g Flour
1 whole egg & 1 egg yolk
100 g butter
200 g caster sugar
3 oranges
1 k of fresh figs, washed and peeled
2 tsps fennel seeds


Sift flour onto a pastry board and make a well in the centre, add eggs, butter and half the sugar and and knead together.  Let rest in the fridge.
Pierce the rind of the oranges with a fork and boil in water for a couple of minutes. Repeat this boiling 3 times, each time changing the water. Dry the oranges and cut them into thin slices without removing the skin.
Put the orange slices in a saucepan with the remaining sugar and half a glass of water. Cover and cook over low heat for ten minutes. Drain the slices from the syrup.
Roll out your dough to fit a lined baking tray. Cover the dough with orange slices and slices of your peeled figs.  Pour the syrup over the fruits and sprinkle with fennel seeds.
Bake at 180 C for about forty five minutes.
Serve with vanilla ice-cream.

Sam Dunham
Author: Sam Dunham

Sam is a very lucky midlife 'mamma' to A who is 12 and juggles her work as a self-employed freelance SEO food and travel copywriter and EFL teacher. She is the founder of the Life In Abruzzo Cultural Association, co-founder of Let's Blog Abruzzo. she is the founder of the 'English in the Woods' initiative, teaching English outdoors in a forest style school.

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20 July 2011 14:09

I am going to try this!!! it looks delicious!

21 July 2011 08:18
Reply to  rachel

Let us know what you think… it’s quite rich but refreshing at the same time somehow

27 September 2011 18:12

made this today finally! I didn't quite use that many figs or oranges… in fact I only had 1 orange, so I used 1 lemon as well. I had about 8 figs. Turned out to be plenty on a round pie pan.
I loved it!

The fennel seeds made it perfect.
Great recipe. Thanks!

29 September 2011 22:06
Reply to  rachel

So glad you like it, the fennel seeds do seem to add something don't they!

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