Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Fig and Blue Cheese Tartlets

Of all the great appetizer I picked up from Ruth-Anne Adams while working at Casablanca in Cambridge, this one is my favorite. These little tartlets are great crowd pleasers and reheat beautifully if made in advance. What better way to welcome your guests to the holiday table than a combination of musky figs and creamy blue cheese! Serve them with a bold, fruity Shiraz as an hors-d'oeuvre or the first course.

Makes 18 tartlets

Fig Filling
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup sliced shallots (about 2 large)
3 cups dried figs, quartered
1/4 preserved lemon (or zest of 1 lemon plus 1/2 tsp salt)
2 rosemary sprigs
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp honey
1/4 cup red wine

  1. Set a heavy pot over medium-low heat. Add oil and shallots and cook stirring occasionally until shallots are tender and golden brown, 6-8 minutes.
  2. Add figs, lemon, rosemary, balsamic vinegar, honey, and wine. Cook on low stirring occasionally until the mixture thickens and turns deep brown, about 15 minutes.
  3. Take off heat and cool slightly. Figs can be prepared several days in advance and refrigerated.

To assemble tartlets
Cooking spray
1 Lb package fillo dough, thawed
Olive oil for brushing dough
Fig filling (see above)
4 oz mascarpone cheese
1/2 Lb “Great Hill Blue” cheese (or other mild blue cheese), crumbled

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Set the racks in the middle and bottom-third positions.
  2. Spray muffin pan with cooking spray or brush with oil.
  3. Lay out 5 layers of fillo dough brushing with olive oil between each layer. Keep the rest of the fillo covered with a damp paper towel.
  4. Cut the dough into squares 4 inches on each side. Fit the squares into muffin cups and repeat to make a total of 18 tart shells.
  5. Fill each tart with 1 Tbsp fig filling and top with 1/2 tsp mascarpone and 2 tsp blue cheese.
  6. Bake tartlets in the middle of the oven for 8 minutes. Move to the bottom-third and bake another 4 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Let the tarts cool for 5 minutes, remove to a serving platter, and serve hot.

Tartlets can be made up to a day in advance, cooled, and refrigerated. To serve reheat at 375F for 8-10 minutes.


Pyewacket said...

Those look fantastic! I happen to have a big chunk of Great Hill Blue in my freezer (I know it's a crime to freeze it, but what can you do when someone gives you four pounds?) and now I know what I'm going to do with it. Now I just need an occasion.

Molly said...

These do really look amazing! I am itching to make them myself.

And also, your blog as a whole is wonderful - interesting and very informative. I've learned a bunch just in the little time I've had to read it over today - Thanks! (I was thinking about signing up for an art class at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education this winter - but perhaps I should look into your cooking classes as well, they look very fun.)


Anonymous said...

Looks delicious!


JeanneB said...

Helen, I just reviewed your shallot slicing video. Thank you! I am a fair cook and fairly competent, but no one has ever shown me how to cut an onion or a shallot! I feel enlightened.

These tarts also look like something I may want to serve on Thanksgiving. Could I substitute goat's cheese for bleu. Not a fan of the veiny cheese!

Helen said...

Hi Jeanne,

Yes, goat cheese would be lovely :)