Easy to assemble puff pastries filled with brie, fig and apple make a wonderful, sweet little appetizer to set out at your next gathering.
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When thinking about fanci-ish appetizers to set out for parties what comes to mind is brie. I recently attended a games-and-appetizers gathering and one of the treats we had was a pastry-wrapped wheel of brie, and a modest amount of fig jam in the center of the round.
The bite of brie, pastry and fig that I tried was wonderful, creamy and sweet.
That flavor combination stayed with me and popped to mind while thinking up appetizer ideas one could make for a New Year’s Eve party.
To keep my recipe for Fig & Brie Mini Pastries on the easy side, I use frozen puff pastry that is almost always to be found in the freezer case at the store. The puff pastry gets tucked into mini muffin pan wells. Into these I place a bit of brie, a bit of tart, diced apple tossed in cinnamon, and a bit of fig preserves.
You should be able to find fig preserves in the grocery aisle with other jams (top shelf, probably!) Stonewall Kitchen has a nice one as does Bonne Mamman.
You can also make your own quicky fig preserves, which is what I did! The steps to do this are part of my recipe for Ocracoke Island Fig Cake recipe (tap here). Follow the Step 1 directions and with dried figs, sugar and lemon you will have a quicky batch of fig preserves in no time.
After filling the puffs and pinching them closed I brush them with some egg white for a little shine – and I think it also helps keep the top of the puff from popping open. (That puff pastry sure does puff up… as the name implies!)
The result are delicate little puffs that you can set out warm on a tray for folks to help themselves. The brie gets melty, and the apples give a little toothsome bite.
The preserves are sweet with that beautiful flavor held by dried fruit like figs, dates and raisins.
A friend of mine who works for Vermont’s Lake Champlain Chocolates (and who has the enviable task of researching and testing new flavors) told me that the official name for that flavor is “brown fruit”.
However, I think that this lovely, deep, sweet taste really deserves a more evocative name, don’t you agree? We’ll have to work on that.
The recipe is below, and here are more appetizer recipe ideas for you!
Brie & Fig Mini Puffs
- 1 apple, a tart variety like McIntosh or Granny Smith
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 6 ounces Brie
- 3 tablespoons fig preserves
- 1 egg white
- Peel and core the apple. Slice the apple into small pieces and place them in a small bowl. Add in the cinnamon and toss the apples until they are coated.
- Cut the brie into 18 pieces – they should be just about .3 ounces each, or a generous teaspoon’s worth, but don’t be too worried if every piece isn’t exactly the same.
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Have ready a nonstick mini muffin pan (or 2 if need be, this recipe makes 18 puffs.)
- Have the ingredients ready: the diced apples, the brie pieces, and the fig jam, before you cut the puff pastry. Lightly flour a work surface.
- Unfold one sheet of the puff pastry on the lightly floured work surface. Roll it out just a bit with a rolling pin to make the dough a little thinner. Slice the puff pastry with a sharp knife of pizza cutter into 9 squares. Fit the puff pastry squares into the muffin pan, 1 square per well, fitting the dough down into the well with the edges hanging out. Repeat these steps with the second sheet of puff pastry so that you have 18 pastry shells ready. (If at any point the dough is getting too warm and difficult to work with, pop it into the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up.)
- Place a piece of brie into a pastry shell, topped with about 1 teaspoon of diced apple and then 1 teaspoon of fig preserves. Repeat this to fill the remaining pastry shells with brie, apple, and fig. On each pastry shell fold in two opposite corners of dough and then the other two. Pinch the dough together firmly at the top to seal it shut. Repeat these steps on all of the filled puffs.
- Mix the egg white with a teaspoon of water in a small dish. Brush the tops of the puffs with the egg white mixture. Bake the puffs for 15-20 minutes until they are puffed and browned.
- Remove the pan from the oven and place the pan on a cooling rack. Allow the puffs to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before taking them out. Place them on a decorative platter and serve them while they’re warm.