Ramadan recipe: Melissa Hemsley's fig, feta and almond tart from #BakeForSyria

Highlighting a cookbook for keen bakers who enjoy whipping up every­thing from cookies, cakes and desserts to savoury tarts and pies

#Bake For Syria by Lily Vanilli, Serena Guen and Clerkenwell Boy. Courtesy SUITCASE Media International
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#CookForSyria is the international movement that set out to both showcase and preserve Syrian culture, while raising funds to help Unicef in its work ­protecting Syrian children and families. Much of this was achieved through themed supper clubs that gained worldwide traction and interaction, and the well-­received #CookForSyria cookbook.

The second instalment of this global charity campaign started last year and is known as #BakeForSyria. As well as street-party-style bake sales and pop-up events, this includes a cookbook, too.

The #BakeForSyria Recipe Book is a one-off collection of desserts and bakes influenced by the country and its surrounding area. It features recipes contributed by Syrian families and refugees, alongside dishes from high-profile chefs, bakers and bakeries. All proceeds from the book’s sales go towards Unicef’s appeal for the children of Syria via Unicef Next Generation London.

Best-for: Keen bakers who enjoy whipping up every­thing from cookies, cakes and desserts to savoury tarts and pies.

Must-try ­recipes: Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh's tahini brownies; boreka with labneh and pomegranate jam by Bill Granger; and Melissa Hemsley's gluten-free fig, feta and almond tart.

Recipe: Melissa Hemsley’s fig, feta and almond tart from ‘#BakeForSyria’

Fig, feta and almond tart 
Fig, feta and almond tart 

“This fig, feta and almond tart is one of my favourite new dishes to make and share,” writes Hemsley. “I love it served warm with a big, tangy lemony pile of dressed green leaves or eaten the next day as a snack. Because of the almond pastry case, it’s also naturally gluten-free. ”


For the pastry case

375g ground almonds
2 tsp sea salt
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
30g butter, at room temp
2 medium eggs

For the filling

1 tbsp butter
1 large (red) onion, finely sliced
2 fat garlic cloves, finely diced
5 eggs
250ml almond milk or regular milk
100g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large handful fresh parsley
1 tsp dried thyme or oregano
1 tsp sumac
Sea salt & black pepper, to taste
125g feta
4 medium figs, halved


Mix the pastry ingredients by hand to form a dough and then roll into a 3mm-thick disc between two sheets of baking parchment. Line a 24cm-diameter dish or tin with the almond pastry, trimming away excess. Line the case with greaseproof paper, fill with baking beans and chill in the fridge for 20 mins.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Put the tart case in the oven for 10 minutes, then remove the baking beans and paper, and cook further until slightly browned. Set aside and reduce the oven temperature to 170°C.

Fry the onion in the butter for 12 to 15 minutes until caramelised. Add the garlic for the final few minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and almond milk, add the onion and most of the crumbled feta before seasoning with salt and pepper, thyme and sumac.

Pour the egg mixture into the tart case. Top with the halved cherry tomatoes and halved figs (cut side up), and push them down slightly. Crumble over the remaining feta and a sprinkling of parsley, and cook for 35 minutes until golden brown on top and just set in the middle. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.