Updated: Jan 9
Occasionally I come across a dessert that intrigues me and I have to try it. This is one of those recipes and I have to say this recipe was outstanding.
The small pastries are divine. The crisp outer filo pastry is followed by a soft and gooey ricotta-scented ricotta filling with a nutty bite. the rose water caramelised figs take this dessert over the top. It is a light dessert without too much coying sweetness, rather very delicate and mildly sweet. The Middle Eastern flavours of rose water, honey and almonds come together beautifully. I could eat a dozen of these, they are so addictive!
This is one of the earlier cookbooks from a husband and wife team of culinary explorers. They have been pivotal in moulding Australian and world cuisine. I absolutely adore all of the cookbooks that I have been able to get my hands on (some are impossible to find), they are not just a collection of recipes, but a history of the cuisine and the people. This is a set of cookbooks I highly recommend for everyone, chefs and home cooks alike.
For more recipes from this amazing cookbook, click here.
For the honey-curd filling:
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons dried black or red currants, soaked in 2 tablespoons Madeira wine or sherry wine
4 tablespoons blanched, sliced almonds, lightly toasted
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons butter or ghee
10 figs, stemmed and halved longitudinally
3 tablespoons rose water
1/4 cup sugar
Preheat the oven to 400° F.
Mix the ricotta cheese, soaked currants and any remaining wine, almonds, lemon zest, cinnamon, egg, and 1 tablespoon honey till well incorporated.
Melt the butter or ghee till liquid. Do not brown.
Cut the filo sheets to the size of the container you are using. I like to use a mini muffin pan to make small-sized desserts.
Layer a sheet of filo in the muffin pan and then a second at a 90° diagonal with the edges hanging over the sides. Fill with the cheese mix and then fold the excess filo pastry to make a small tight packet. Make as many packets to finish the ricotta cheese.
Brush the tops with melted butter. Place a lined baking tray on the muffin tray and invert quickly. Brush the bottoms and sides of the pastries with the remaining butter.
Bake for 10-15 minutes till the pies are just past a lovely golden and turning a light brown.
Meanwhile, toss the figs in a bowl with rose water and sugar. When the pastries are almost done, layer the figs on the side of the tray and bake for 2-3 minutes till the sugars are caramelized.
Serve hot in the oven with the pastries dusted with confectioners sugar and topped with a fig.