Figs are absolutely gorgeous. When I cut into some fruits, I’m in awe. The colors the textures, the perfect contrast in tones and shades make me *swoon*. Take a kiwi fruit for example, that lime green color and the black seeds are beautiful. The same goes for figs. I cut one of those babies in half and I stare at it and revel in its beauty like it were a real baby. Maybe I’ve got issues, but I’m all about the appearance of the food I eat. I love it when food is so well presented that it s a feast for the eyes. If you know me, you know I go absolutely gaga for jewel-tones. This probably relates to my love of figs, that deep, dark purple is one of my all-time favorites.
I just remembered that every time my husband and I walk by this new gelato place that is about to open, I gush about how I love the sign. I go on and on about how it’s so my style (because nothing in this town is my style hehe). Mind you, the sign only says “mia’s gelato” and I rave about it for a block until my husband says, “get over it!!!” The reasons I adore that sign are because the font is modern, in all lowercase and the colors work so well together.
I just mentioned the sign to strengthen my point about beautiful colors. Strengthening arguments: a very useful skill picked up in Grad school *insert sarcastic smiley here.* (Don’t get me wrong, Grad school is great but there are some things about it, I will never understand).
Anyway, the puff pastry is savory and sweet. I think I started this recipe with an idea for something more savory, but along the way it turned into a dessert. Oh well, that is what happens when you don’t use a recipe and just wing it. Regardless, when I took a bite, it was nice and warm. I thoroughly enjoyed all the flavors in it. They worked together even though I was skeptical about the combination I had come up with. The chevre I used was so mellow that it did not overpower the other delicate flavors. The honey and brown sugar caramelized beautifully and resulted in a nutty and sweet taste. The thyme also melded beautifully in unison with all the other ingredients, creating a lemony perfume throughout. The fruits, oh yes the fruits, figs and strawberries were warm and rich in flavor. I’m sure everyone loves puff pastry, how could you not, so flaky and buttery and the perfect vehicle for just about anything, yum.
I admit, this dish is a little more work than most of my recipes, but it is definitely worth it for a special occasion. You can also substitute the figs or strawberries with other fruits, you switch the cheeses I used with mascarpone cheese. It is so versatile, make it your own or try it this way. Either way, it’ll be tasty.
Sweet and Savory Fig and Strawberry Puff Pastry
7 ounces of puff pastry, rolled into an 8″ by 10″ rectangle
15 strawberries, sliced
15 figs, sliced
honey, for drizzling
2 tablespoons brown sugar, or more depending on how sweet your fruit is
2 tablespoons pine nuts
3 sprigs thyme, leaves removed from sprig
2 tablespoons on butter cut into small pieces
for the chevre/ricotta base:
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
2 1/2 ounces mild chevre, softened at room temperature
1 tablespoon fig white balsamic vinegar (or plain white balsamic or white wine vinegar)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
fleur de sel, to taste
black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a food processor pulse together all the ingredients for the ricotta/chevre base until smooth. (Or mix together by hand in a bowl). Next, place the rolled out puff pastry on a cookie sheet and spread the cheese mixture on top evenly, all the way to the edges. Then, assemble the fruit in an attractive pattern. I did two rows of figs and two rows of strawberries on the diagonal. When the fruit is placed on the puff pastry, sprinkle it with the brown sugar, pine nuts, and thyme. Drizzle the honey on top and dot on pieces of butter all over the pastry. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Serve warm with a dollop of ricotta cheese and a drizzle of honey, if desired.