Each month, I teach an Italian cooking class at a popular local Italian specialty market. My students and I meet in the morning, prepare a four course meal together and enjoy the fruits of our labor and each other’s company over a nice lunch. We have a lot of fun and we all learn a lot, myself included. A few months ago, my menu included a delicious appetizer inspired by one of my favorite food bloggers, Elaine from The Italian Dish. After being blogging buddies for a few years, I finally had the pleasure of meeting Elaine last Fall at BlogHer Food in San Francisco. She is sharp, funny and absolutely lovely, as I knew she would be.
Elaine’s dish was a crostini topped with chèvre, or goat cheese, fig jam, basil and prosciutto. For my class, I tweaked the recipe a little, adding mascarpone to mellow the goat cheese, and swapping out the basil for some minced sage and thyme. It was a big hit with the whole class, and I liked it so much that I even included it on my Christmas menu.
The other day I was searching for something in the fridge (other than my duck prosciutto), and came across a package of puff pastry that I had put in there to thaw and then forgot about. Not remembering how long it had been in there, I decided to use it before it went bad. Since I already had all of the crostini ingredients, I thought I’d try the dish baked in the puff pastry. Yes, I know. I’m a regular Indiana Jones in the kitchen!
First, I fluffed up my fig jam and whipped up my chèvre concoction.
Then, I cut each sheet of pastry into twelve, reasonably equal-sized rectangles. I spread a schmear of the chèvre mixture on half of the pastry pieces and plopped a little dollop of fig jam on top. After that, I placed a small piece of thinly sliced prosciutto on each. I left out the herbs because I was still in my PJ’s and didn’t want to go outside to pick them. If you’re not lazy like me, go ahead and add them in.
Once my twelve pastry rectangles were all dressed and sitting pretty, I covered them with the remaining twelve. I pinched them all around the edges with the tines of a fork so that none of that cheesy, fruity, meaty goodness would leak out. Then, I brushed them with a little egg wash so that they would get shiny and browned in the oven. Egg wash is like the bronzer of baking.
Et voilà! Toasty, tasty, flaky little pastries filled with chèvre, fig jam and pig! What could be better than that?
1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, thawed
4 ounces chèvre, room temperature
2 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons fresh orange zest
12 teaspoons fig jam
3 thin slices prosciutto, cut into 12 pieces
1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Beat the chèvre, mascarpone, cream and salt together in a medium bowl until light and fluffy. Stir in orange zest. Set aside.
Unroll one sheet of puff pastry and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat liner. Using a pizza cutter or a thin, sharp knife, cut into 12 small rectangles. Spread about 1 tablespoon of the chèvre mixture onto each of the rectangles leaving a thin border. Top each with 1 teaspoon of fig jam and a piece of prosciutto.
Cut the remaining sheet of puff pastry into another 12 small rectangles. Cover each of the filled rectangles with a rectangle of pastry. Crimp the edges with a fork and poke a few holes on top to allow for steam to escape. Brush each puff with some egg wash.
Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Remove and let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.