FIGGY AND DIVINE

Joo Lee Chang brings us sweet delights from her kitchen that are easy to make, and divine to eat. Find more about Joo Lee on her website https://cjllatter.wordpress.com or follow her here at My Grey Nomads.

Joo Lee says “Over the years I have learnt that when experimenting with deserts, it is wise to have forgiving guests! As like all impetuous, slightly OCD characters, I tend to think that I can handle the disasters IF there is one and that IT will turn out alright. No one is perfect and while the wringing of hair and beating of chest is called for at times, it is always best to set out to cook with the fundamentals stuck firmly in mind. When things go horribly wrong, a glass of wine can always encourage the grey cells to improvise.
Oh…there have been many occasions when I have failed spectacularly. Like the time when my chocolate bombs decided to fall apart before I could even plate them. Obviously should have known better than to make chocolate bombs desert in the HK summer. Or the other time when I was reducing canned coconut milk to put on top of my mango and sticky rice dessert and did not realise that reducing coconut milk to a thick sauce makes it quite salty and obviously, I forgot then the most fundamental thing about cooking……TASTE, TASTE and TASTE before serving.
When you have exhausted any ideas whatsoever to rescue and serve your failed desert after a couple of attempts. File in darkest corner of kitchen and use the universal cure. Always have some cheese in the fridge and biscuits in the pantry and a nice box of chocolates as well. They always, always go down well!
While figs are of Middle Eastern and Western Asian origin, they are now grown quite fairly all over the world. Did you know that the first fig trees was found almost 9200 BC ago? And that only one special insect can pollinate the fig tree….a fig wasp! (What else).
Figs do not seem to be common in HK and when I do find some, I always like to see if I can make something out of them. I have once roasted it with a rosemary twig threaded through 3 of them, basted with balsamic vinegar and served with lashings of honey. If you opt out of the honey, it can be used as a side to your meat dish.

Fillo pastry.
Preheat oven to 180C.
Butter your patty tins with melted butter. Keep enough melted butter aside to brush your pastry with. You will need about 100 gms.
Half the sheet of filo pastry lengthwise and then divide each length into 3 squares.

Line each cup of the pastry tin with about 4-5 pieces of the cut up pastry with the corners standing up from the edge of the cup. Brushing with the melted butter with each layer. You should be able to cover the whole cup with about 4 pieces of pastry. With the help of the melted butter you can make the leaves of your pastry cup stand up. Brush the pastry with a final coating of melted butter.
Bake in oven for about 10 mins or until golden brown. Remove from oven and leave the oven on. Do not remove the pastry cases from the tin.
Figs goes with blue cheese, camembert or even cheddar. In this particular recipe, I am using goats cheese.

Crumble your goats cheese to over half the level of the cases. Drizzle with honey. Make a cross on your fig and place it on top of the cheese. Drizzle with more honey. Return to the heated oven for another 10-15 mins.
Remove from oven. Allow to cool for about 5 mins. Very carefully remove the pastry cases from the tin. Be gentle, these guys are fairly fragile.

Serve with a sprinkling of nuts; almond flakes, crushed macadamia, or even a nut brittle. Drizzle with a bit of honey to put a glaze on. Dust with icing sugar or as in my case, I used palm sugar instead and it worked out just fine.”

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