Place the flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, and pepper into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the cold butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse oatmeal. Add the egg yolk and ice water and pulse just until a crumbly dough starts to form – do not overwork, or your crusts will be tough.
Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 days. The dough freezes for 1 month if wrapped well and sealed in a freezer-safe bag.
When ready to continue, preheat the oven to 350 F and brush a baking sheet with melted butter.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow to sit for 10 minutes – just to come up to a workable temperature. Scatter a clean work surface with a small amount of flour and roll the dough out to about 1/8 to ¼ inch thick. Remember that the less the dough is worked and heated, the more tender it will be. So work quickly, and use your fingertips rather than the palms of your hands.
Using a 3 ½ or 4 inch round cookie cutter (fluted if possible), cut out circles of dough and transfer to the baking sheet. Roll out the dough scraps again and cut out more circles. Continue until you’ve used up the dough.
Prick the dough circles all over with a fork and bake for 8 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake for another 4 to 8 minutes until the crusts are dry and firm. Place the baking sheet on a rack to cool.
In a medium bowl, stir the mascarpone cheese until creamy. With a sharp knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Add them to the mascarpone with the Marsala wine and stir until well combined.
Just before serving, divide the mascarpone cheese between the tart crusts and swirl out with the back of a spoon. Arrange the fig slices (about 9 - 11 for each tartlet) with their tops pointing in to the center of the circle (see photo above), and sprinkle each one with a few strips of orange zest. Serve immediately.