Fig Tarts, basted with Honey

Medieval Fig Tarts


These are slightly addictive little morsels, and with good reason. Take a fruit as tasty and decadent as figs, dice them, spice them, put them in buttery pastry, then fry them? Yes. The unique spice forte mix gives the tarts a really unexpected bite without interfering with the innate sweetness of the figs. I used a Killer Bee honey to baste mine, which upped the flavor to a wonderful new level. 

Why it should be in the Next Book:

It’s figs! It’s fried! All it’s really missing to be the ideal GRRM dish is bacon. Which isn’t that bad an idea… Overall, though, this is a great medieval recipe, and well worth a try at home!

Medieval Fig Tart Recipe

Take figus & grynde hem smal; do þerin saffron & powdur fort. Close hem in foyles of dowe, & frye hem in oyle. Claryfye hony & flamme hem þerwyt; ete hem hote or colde. Curye on Inglish: English Culinary Manuscripts of the Fourteenth-Century 


  • 8 oz. fresh Figs
  • pinch of Saffron
  • 1 tsp. Powder forte – a Medieval blend of strong spices. For this recipe, use 2 parts cinnamon to one part each a combination of pepper, ginger, mace, and clove, to your taste.
  • 1 Tbs. your favorite variety of honey, plus more for basting
  • Pastry dough- enough for 2 9″ shells (see this recipe)
  • Oil enough to coat the bottom of the pan

Finely dice the figs as small as possible by hand or purée with a processor; mix in the saffron, powder forte spice mixture, and the 1 Tbs. honey. Roll out the pastry dough and cut into medium-sized circles. On one pastry circle place a spoonful of figs, then cover with another circle of dough; seal the edges well. Fry the pies in hot oil until lightly browned & crispy; remove from heat and allow to drain. In a pot, heat the honey, skimming off any scum that rises. As soon as the pies have drained, brush on the honey. Eat hot or cold.

26 thoughts on “Fig Tarts, basted with Honey

  1. ryanahorst

    How did you get the hole in the top of your tarts? Did you cut it after frying? I think doing it before would cause problems when trying to fry both sides…

    1. Needs Mead Post author

      We did actually cut the hole before. I had some concern about the filling coming out, but the hole was just small enough, and the filling just packed enough, that it seems to have worked out for the best. And it just looked better with the hole. :)

    1. Needs Mead Post author

      We used fresh figs, because they’re in season. If you’re limited to using dried figs, I’d suggest soaking them in wine first to juicy them up a bit. Very medieval. :)

      Would love to hear how they turn out, in any case!

  2. Kim Knapp

    I was totally delighted to find this blog; I’ve been a long-time fan of medieval and science fiction / fantasy cooking. These fig tarts will be a great addition to the potluck Christmas brunch I’m attending in two weeks!!

  3. Anneke

    Just saw a picture of the these delicious looking tarts on Pinterest. So, it had a web address on the bottom and I looked you guys up. WOW! So glad I did…
    Was just talking to my mum going up the visit parents on the weekend, planning to have a go at making some… Can’t wait…

  4. OllieFace

    I just got the cookbook and it is gorgeous!

    You guys must be so proud of yourselves… and with good reason!

    I can’t wait to try out the recipes, and hosting my first ASOIAF feast!

  5. OllieFace

    I just made these, alongside the quails drowned in butter recipe (Except with spatchcock instead of quails), and white beans and bacon. So very, very tasty!

  6. David Friedman

    The pastry recipe is 16th c., the fig recipe is 14th c. I’m never sure when doing the 14th and 15th c. recipes what “dowe” or “paste” means. If it doesn’t specify “short paste” or something similar, it could be a simple flour and water dough, more like a pizza dough than a pastry.

  7. Angela

    I just made these by baking them in a mini-pie-maker and they turned out great! The puree was very nice since I love the taste of figs but not the texture. I plopped a little whipped cream and chopped up candied nuts on top too because I have a sweet tooth. I’ll be trying out all the other fig recipes soon while my family’s huge fig tree is full of ripe figs.

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