Feuilleté is a general term used to describe sweet or savoury pastries made from puff pastry. It usually refers to a simple square of pastry topped with a fruit, cream or whatever else tickles your fancy and is a great way to use up your offcuts simply roll out the dough, cut it to shape and freeze for later use. This is a great example of the fact that, more often than not, the best pastries are often the result of restraint and simplicity.
- Yield: 18
- 14 oz (400 g) fresh ricotta cheese, drained well
- 7 oz (200 g) Greek-style yoghurt
- 1 finely grated lemon zest
- 3½ oz (100 g) caster (superfine) sugar, plus extra, for sprinkling
- 3 vanilla beans, halved lengthways, seeds scraped
- 7 oz (200 g) honey, preferably lavender
- 9 ripe figs, halved lengthways
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- pinch of fine salt
- 1 lb 2 oz (500 g) cold Puff Pastry, 5 single turns
- Put the ricotta, yoghurt, lemon zest, sugar, vanilla bean seeds and 2 tablespoons of the honey in a food processor and process for 1 minute, or until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate. Sprinkle the figs generously with the extra sugar and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line two baking trays with baking paper. To make an egg wash, lightly beat the eggs, egg yolk and salt together in a small bowl, then set aside.
- Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface into a 3 mm (1/8 in) thick rectangle measuring about 25 x 35 cm (10 x 14 in). Remember to keep moving the dough and dust with extra flour when necessary so that it doesn’t stick to your work surface. If you haven’t achieved a perfectly shaped rectangle with your rolling pin towards the end of the rolling process, simply stretch and pull the dough into shape using your hands.
- Using a large knife, cut the pastry into eighteen 6 x 8 cm (2½ x 3¼in) rectangles. Try not to run the knife through the dough when you cut the shapes, as this damages the fragile layers of pastry. Instead, push the tip of the knife through the dough first, then let the knife roll down, following the curvature of the blade. Using a flat spatula, carefully place the pastries on the lined trays, spacing them about 4 cm (1½ in) apart.
- Put 1 tablespoon of the ricotta mixture in the centre of each rectangle, leaving as much exposed pastry as possible around the sides. Gently push a fig half into the ricotta mixture, placing them cut side up. Carefully brush the exposed puff pastry with the egg wash. When brushing egg wash over puff pastry, try not to drip any of the egg mixture over the sides, because this will make it harder for the pastry to rise evenly. Drizzle 1 teaspoon honey over the figs on each pastry.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until the pastry has risen and is golden. The cooking times will vary a little depending on your oven, so always check that the bottom of the pastries are golden before removing them from the oven. Serve at room temperature with a cup of coffee, or warm with thick (double/heavy) cream or yoghurt.