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Recipe: Walnut mini tartlets with figs and blue cheese

Camilla Schneideman, Managing Director of Leiths School of Food and Wine has kindly shared with us one of her favourite recipes.

 

"I love strong flavours, as well as the combination of sweet and savoury in one dish. These contrasts exist in every cuisine, from Thai to Japanese. This recipe is a British version of this balance, and perfect with a glass of champagne."

 

Walnut Mini Tartlets with fig and blue cheese filling

 

  Larger than canapés, these small tarts are ideal to serve with drinks before dinner, perhaps in place of a plated starter. Use a different blue cheese if you prefer. You will need two 12-hole shallow bun tins.

 

Makes 24 small tartlets

 

FOR THE WALNUT PASTRY

 

120g shelled walnuts

250g plain flour

Pinch of salt

120g chilled butter

1 egg

 

FOR THE FILLING

 

4 eggs, plus 2 extra yolks

275ml double cream

125g Greek yoghurt

8 semi-dried figs

200g Stilton cheese

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

METHOD

 

  1. For the pastry, put the walnuts in a food processor and blend until evenly and finely ground, but still with a little texture. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Cut the butter into small cubes and rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the ground walnuts.

 

  1. Beat the egg in a small bowl. Add half the beaten egg to the

walnut pastry mixture and mix well using a cutlery knife. Add

more egg as necessary, until the pastry starts to come together

in large flakes.

 

  1. Using your fingertips, bring the pastry together. Shape into

a fat sausage, roughly the same diameter as the tops of your

shallow bun tray holes. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge.

 

  1. To make the filling, break the whole eggs and yolks into a

large bowl and beat together using a fork to break them up.

Whisk in the cream and yoghurt until evenly combined, and

season well with salt and pepper.

 

  1. Chop the figs into 1cm pieces and crumble the Stilton into

small pieces.

 

  1. Remove the pastry from the fridge and slice off thin discs,

3mm thick. Use the discs to line the bun trays, pressing them

into the edges and patching together where necessary to give

a fairly even result. Try to ensure the pastry is no thicker than

3mm. Trim any excess from the edges and chill in the fridge or

freezer for 15 minutes, or until very cold and firm. Meanwhile,

heat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.

 

  1. Blind bake the pastry cases for 12–15 minutes

until crisp and golden around the edges. A little butter may

foam around the edges of the pastry, which is fine. Remove

the paper or muffin cases and beans and return to the oven for

2–3 minutes until the base is cooked through and sandy to the

touch. Remove from the oven and lower the oven temperature

to 150°C/gas mark 2.

 

  1. Allow the pastry cases to cool slightly, then pour in the

custard mixture until three-quarters full. Add the chopped figs

and pieces of Stilton.

 

  1. Return the tarts to the oven and bake until the filling is just

set, with a slight wobble in the very centre, about 15 minutes.

Remove and cool a little before un-moulding. Serve warm or at

room temperature.

 

Explore Leiths School of Food and Wine’s full range of Professional Courses and Enthusiast Classes at www.leiths.com

 

If you would like to learn more about Leiths Two Term Diploma, visit the school for The Leiths Two Term Diploma: An Evening of Inspiration, which will take place on 6th November 2019. You can find out more and book your space here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-leiths-two-term-diploma-an-evening-of-inspiration-tickets-76017094175