Ricotta, Fig, Fennel & Ham Pastries with Honey & Thyme
The weather insists on being dull, relatively cold, damp and decidedly grey here in Frankfurt- it seems that we are going to skip Spring entirely and land in the middel of Summer at some point. Maybe. Or maybe not...
In any case, rain or shine, I am in the mood for some fun Summer cooking! Quick, simple, tasty and simply good food! Like these little pastries, which are perfect as appetizers, picnic fare, little snacks or even as a light lunch- you really can't go far wrong with them!
All you need to do is to simply cut your pre-made puff-pastry into squares of about 5x5" - make sure to use a very sharp knife- this does make a difference! A clean cut, rather than a cut that squashes the pastry down, will slice through the many layers that go to make puff-pastry, rather than to seal them- thus allowing the air that begins to expand as the pastry heats up, to escape and for all of those layers to lift and separate and for the pastry to rise.
Making sure to leave a border of at least 1" around the outside edge, spread the pastry with ricotta cheese, which needs to be seasoned with a little salt and pepper, as well a a squeeze of lemon juice and a drop of olive oil. Stir well and spread generously.
Now add finely sliced fennel, a little ham of your choice- this was again Bresaola, and thinly sliced fresh fig. Pop them into a pre-heated oven at 400° F for 10 minutes and then take them out and give then a light drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of coarsely-ground black pepper. Give them another 5 minutes and they should be lovely, golden-brown and lightly caramelized...and almost ready to enjoy... but not quite!
The finishing touch is a sprinkle of fresh thyme and some of the fennel greens... Now you are ready! And now you WILL enjoy! I am pretty sure of it- because I certainly did!