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In the Kitchen With: Leela Cyd’s Pickled Fig and Ricotta Tartines

by Kristina Gill

This week’s recipe from Portland-based photographer Leela Cyd has a picture-perfect backstory. Leela re-created the recipe after tasting something similar one cold winter day in a warm candlelit wine and cheese bar. As I type with numb fingertips, this makes me want to find an equally inspiring place to come up with a few recipes of my own. If your own home, unlike mine, is warm and cozy, you should invite friends over and prepare this for them! — Kristina

About Leela: Leela Cyd is a photographer and storyteller based in Portland, Oregon. She shoots food, culture, interiors and people for media outlets such as Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, the New York Times and Kinfolk. Leela also authors her own award-winning blog, Tea Cup Tea, on tea, gatherings, travel, little snacks and friendship. She uses photography as a means to explore the world, connect with others, share stories and play with pretty vessels and tasty food. Leela co-hosts a photography workshop each year in Italy; this year it will be held in May in Florence. For more information on the workshop, visit Italian Fix.

See Leela’s full recipe after the jump . . .

Pickled Fig, Pistachio & Ricotta Tartines
Makes approximately 24 mini tartines

For the pickled figs

  • 1 dozen dried Black Mission figs, sliced into thin discs
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme


For the ricotta

  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 baguette, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
  • olive oil
  • salt


For garnish

  • 1/2 cup pistachios, lightly crushed
  • drizzle of honey
  • sprigs of thyme


1. In a small pot over medium-low heat, bring fig slices, red wine vinegar, sugar, water and thyme sprigs to a simmer, for about 5 minutes. Turn heat off, cover and let steep for 2 hours or overnight in the fridge.

2. Preheat oven to 350. Line a pan with parchment. In a large bowl, toss baguette rounds in a light drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle with a few generous pinches of salt. Cook rounds for about 15 to 20 minutes, checking for desired doneness (I love a deep golden brown toast, but you may like them a little more blonde) every 5 minutes. Remove toasts from the oven when done and set aside.

3. Gather figs, toasts, ricotta, thyme sprigs and pistachios for assembly. Spread about 1 heaping tablespoon of ricotta on each toast, gingerly place pickled figs (about 2 or 3 per toast) atop the ricotta, and drizzle with honey and a hefty sprinkle of crushed pistachios. Finish with fresh thyme leaves and serve immediately.

Why Leela Loves This Recipe

Upon first bite of these tartines one cold, gray Portland winter day, I enjoyed, dissected and my mind was sent [in] a flurry on how I might re-create, modify and enhance this sensual little snack. Many a good idea has been born at the behest of a cozy space and a perfect little nibble, right? My version is slightly different than what I tasted that day in the wine and cheese bar, but it remains incredibly easy and terribly fancy for having friends around. It’s perfect any time of day and pairs well with a cocktail or a cup of tea.

Suggested For You


  • i absolutely love Leela’s blog (teacuptea.com) , this article has me drooling and laughing!! love that photo at the end, so much fun!!!

  • yummy! another use for my homegrown, dried in my car figs! Perfect for happy hour with friends…perhaps with Prosecco?

  • This past summer I canned about 30 pounds of fresh figs, half in balsamic vinegar, honey, thyme, rosemary, and orange peel, and the other half in brandy. Fig Balz and Boozey Figs. I’ve tried them with blue cheese and chèvre and walnuts, but I haven’t yet tried them with ricotta and pistachios. This sounds great. And yes, preserving figs is both easy and better than dried figs!

  • I love ricotta on my morning toast, especially the homemade kind :) Spread of ricotta, a spoonful of honey and bob’s your uncle. But this recipe is really stepping it up! Thanks for sharing.

    P.S. I loved this recipe so much that I featured it in my Awesome Brunch Ideas roundup.

  • Great recipe. I have done lots of substitutions with equally good results: honey for the sugar, balsamic for the red wine vinegar, goat cheese for ricotta and dried thyme for fresh (then I mix it in the simmering vinegar to soften it up). I have also used fresh figs – either you can simmer them down with the rest, or keep them raw and toss them in the vinegar mixture (or pour the vinegar on top of the toasts). Sometimes I just mix the fig and ricotta without any bread :P Thanks for an awesome suggestion.

  • I’m looking forward to trying this! What temperature would you recommend the figs be at when it’s time to “assemble” (cold? room temp?) Thank you!