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There are many places to linger around the home. One particular spot that would be considered unusual to hang out in is a small alcove just outside the back door. It’s one of my favorite social spots to talk with neighbors and to view the shade garden from above.

On a whim, I set up a small table right outside and shared these delicious little afternoon treats with my next door neighbor.

Store-bought puff pastry can be notorious at getting the paper bag syndrome. If you don’t know what I mean, it is when the puff pastry develops large air pockets and resembles a blown up paper bag. To combat this unsettling moment, poke the air pockets with the tip of a sharp knife to deflate, bringing the layers closer together.

Sweet and savory treats slightly warm from the oven are perfect discussion food when gardening topics come up, or perhaps neighborly gossip.

Fig & Goat Cheese Tart Recipe

5 black figs, halved

¼ cup honey

1 Tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, tiny cubes


½ sheet puff pastry dough

4 ounces fresh goat cheese, room temperature

1 egg

1 teaspoon water


Preheat oven to 400ºF.


Preparing the tarts:

1. Unfold puff pastry on a floured surface and cut out 5-five inch rounds.

2. Place on parchment and chill for 10 minutes.

3. Beat the water and eggs together. Set aside.

4. Spread goat cheese evenly over the puff pastry rounds leaving a ¼ edge.

5. Chill tarts again for 10 minutes.

6. Brush egg wash on edges of pastry and bake for approximately 22-25 minutes.

-The tarts are done when they are golden brown and cheese starts to brown.

-Sometimes puff pastry dough expands so much as to ruin perfect puff pastry symmetry. To handle this common occurrence, midway through the baking process insert the tip of a sharp knife into the air pockets to help deflate the tarts a little.


Preparing the figs:

1. Place fig halves on a parchment lined sheet pan.

2. Drizzle honey over figs, dot with butter bits and sprinkle with thyme.

3. Roast figs for 10 minutes.


Assembling the tarts:

1. For each tart, place two roasted fig halves on top of cheese.

2. Drizzle any pan juices over figs.

-For roasting the figs I used a buttered small cast iron skillet; creating a good amount of liquid to generously glaze the fig tarts.


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