Honeyed Fig and Mascarpone Puffs

Honeyed Fig and Mascarpone Puffs

Honeyed Fig and Mascarpone Puffs
I thoroughly advocate using ready-made, store-bought puff pastry for this recipe as it makes the whole affair a breeze.  Of course if you are inclined, please do make your own pastry.
By roasting the figs in a little lemon juice and honey it enhances their natural flavour.  However this recipe works just as well if the figs are raw and just trickled with honey before serving!  This recipe is great for catering large numbers as it is only limited by the number of figs you can get or whatever other yummy fruits you have around and the available quantity of mascarpone cheese..

I have an inclination for slightly quirky and if at all possible amusing, pun-laden food.  I therefore make these as fig leaf pastry puffs, placing the fig on top of a squishy swirl of masarpone.  Please don't feel obliged to race out and buy a leaf pastry cutter though - it tastes just the same on a plain round, square or even strip of puffy pastry!  Just make sure your pastry is very very cold (almost slightly frozen) when you are working with it and you will get a fabulous billowy puff when it goes into the oven as all the layers in the pastry steam up and separate.

Honeyed Fig and Mascarpone Puffs3 sheets butter puff pastry
6 figs
3 tablespoons honey
2 lemons, juice and zest
150 grams mascarpone cheese
100mls double cream
1 tablespoon butter, melted
generous gratings of nutmeg
tiny pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 200°C

For the figs:
Quarter the figs and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Trickle over about half the honey, the juice and zest of a lemon and some extra nutmeg with a tiny pinch of salt.  Add a few dots of butter - just enough to make the figs glossy.  Bake in a hot oven for 5 minutes or until the figs are just coloured at the edges. 

Remove from the oven and leave to cool.  Optional extra :  I always appreciate the opportunity to add a tipple, figs love a slug of marsala or calvados, you can even use Amaretto or Cointreau for an extra kick as they come out of the oven.  The syrup from these baked figs is WONDERFUL and should be reserved for trickling over the top of the finished puffs just before serving.

Cut your pastry into desired shape - my preference is for the slightly kitsch and possibly heretical fig leaf.  
Add some nutmeg and a tablespoon of honey to the melted butter.  Brush each pastry shape liberally with the melted butter
Bake in a hot oven for only about 7-10 minutes, or until just golden brown.   

Remove pastry shapes from the oven and immediately place on a wire rack to cool, being careful not to pop the puffy shapes.

To make the filling: 

Gently whisk the cream to soft peaks, then fold in the mascarpone, remaining honey, juice and zest of one lemon.  Use a piping bag to poke through the surface of the pastry puff and pipe filling into the centre of the pastry puff. 

Finish with an extra swirl of the mascarpone mixture on the top, top with a slice of fig, a few threads of lemon zest and a trickle of the fig/honey pan juices.