Fig-Walnut Tapenade with Ricotta and Asian Pears

December 12, 2011
Author Notes

What is it about the holiday season that lends itself so well to appetizers? This is a tasty little bite that's a lovely addition to a party menu, and if you leave off the ricotta it is a vegan option. The tapenade combines olives, figs and walnuts for a salty, sweet and crunchy flavor. The slices of Asian pear provide a crisp, juicy alternative to crackers. —BlueKaleRoad

  • Makes about 12 individual appetizers, 1 1/2 cups tapenade
  • 1 cup dried figs, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup green olives, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped (plus a few sprigs for garnish)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
  • 1 large Asian pear
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese, store-bought or homemade (use Jennifer Perillo's recipe!)
In This Recipe
  1. In a small saucepan, combine the figs and water and bring to a simmer. Cook until the liquid evaporates and the figs are soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and when cool, puree until smooth.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the fig puree, olives, oil, vinegar, salt, thyme leaves and walnuts. Taste for seasoning. The tapenade can be prepared ahead of time. Cover it and set aside at room temperature.
  3. When ready to serve, slice the Asian pear cross-wise into roughly 12 1/4 inch slices (the very middle ones will have some core that you can cup out). Arrange the slices on a serving platter. Scoop about 1 tablespoon of ricotta cheese on to each slice and spread gently. Top each with 1 tablespoon of tapenade (you will have extra tapenade leftover). Garnish with a sprig of thyme and serve.

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  • Bevi
  • BlueKaleRoad
I am a passionate home cook for my family and friends. I recently started writing a food blog ( and love creating new recipes, writing about food and sharing stories. We are part of a CSA and really appreciate all the terrific produce grown in the Seattle area. In a continued effort to eat locally, we started raising backyard chickens (love our little flock!) and are enjoying the beautiful, fresh eggs. The Food52 community is inspiring and I find myself glued to the site checking out delicious recipes!