At this time of year leading up to Christmas, a predinner canape or starter which partners beautifully with a cold glass of bubbly, is just what we need. The silly season is underway. These bites can be prepared and cooked in the cool of the morning and stored in the refrigerator, and then just reheated and crisped up for 5 minutes in a hot oven before the party. In the Northern Hemisphere, avoiding the heat at this time of year isn't a consideration is it? Cook these just before the party and watch them disappear before your eyes. I can't buy reasonably priced figs so I buy my fig jam, a little indulgence, but well worth it. We have a fig tree growing, but when it decides to produce some figs, I doubt there will be enough for jam, we will be eating them fresh. I've made a few batches of these puff pastry bites, and each time the shapes are slightly inconsistent when cooked, which is the nature of puff pastry, but that doesn't matter. They do such a disappearing act, that nobody notices anyway. Who doesn't love puff pastry with a delicious filling?
I first saw this recipe on Sammie@the Annoyed Thyroid's blog, and after a few little changes, they have been a favourite of mine to bake ever since.
2 sheets butter puff pastry, defrosted
24 teaspoons fig jam
200 g brie, chopped into 2 cm pieces with rind left on
Preheat oven to 190 deg. C
Grease two, 12 hole mini muffin trays, the easiest way is with spray on olive oil
Cut each pastry sheet into 12 rectangles.
Then very carefully, using two fingers (second and third) gently press the pastry rectangles into the muffin holes. Be careful your nails don't pierce the pastry, it is quite soft.The pastry needs to cover the sides of the muffin hole.
Then prick the base a few times with a fork, so that the pastry doesn't puff up when it cooks. We want the sides to puff up, but not the base.
Bake for 12 minutes in your hot oven.
Carefully take the hot muffin trays from the oven, and lightly press down the base of the pastry. It will have risen slightly.
Start filling the pastries with the cheese bits. Press the cheese down lightly into the centre to fill the recess. Top with enough of a teaspoon of fig jam, so that the jam is encased in the pastry, not running over the edge.
Place the trays back in the oven, and bake for another 5 minutes, still at 190 deg. C., until the pastry is golden, and the cheese has melted. They will look and taste delicious.
Carefully remove the pastries from the muffin tins with a knife, and place on a nice serving plate, or allow to cool and store covered in the refrigerator.
- These little beauties will keep in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 5 days, however they never last in our home for that long. They can be kept in the refrigerator, and then you are always ready for impromptu get togethers with family and friends, with minimal effort.
- I recommend you buy the best puff pastry you can, preferably made with butter.
- Serve with finely chopped chives sprinkled over the plate, for a little extra colour and subtle flavour.
In this lead up to Christmas there can be a lot of hustle and bustle and pressure to get everything done in time. I'm staying away from the shops as much as possible, mask wearing is now mandatory here again, which is a wake up call that Covid is back in our community. So I think throughout all of this, it is important to be kind to ourselves, and to our family and friends, and to think simply.
This will be my last post until after Christmas. Thank you to my friends who regularly read my blog, and inspire me with your comments, it is always a pleasure to hear from you and to read your posts as well. I hope you all enjoy a festive and meaningful Christmas, with those you love, and that the New Year will bring health, happiness and good news.