In Australia Christmas falls in the middle of summer, so many of the foods that are traditionally associated with a European Christmas feel strangely out-of-place in the heat. When I was living in the UK and celebrated Christmas in Scotland, finally these food traditions started to make a lot more sense. In Australia, a lot of cooler weekend destinations such as the Blue Mountains and Southern Highlands celebrate Christmas in July, when you get to snuggle up in front of a log fire and enjoy Christmas pud, mulled wine and roast dinner.
Stilton cheese is one thing that is associated with Christmas in the UK, where it is normally served with port. Stilton has achieved protected designation of origin status, meaning only cheese produced in a specific region can lay claim to the name Stilton (similar to only wine produced in the champagne region can be called champagne). I was unable to track down authentic Stilton cheese, so substituted with an excellent Australian produced blue cheese, Berry’s Creek Tarwin Blue. You could of course, use your favourite blue cheese.
I made my own pastry cases from a sheet of frozen puff pastry, but if you wanted to take a shortcut you could use pre-bought pastry cases or that seventies canapé favourite the vol-au-vent. If you are lucky enough to be able to track down fresh figs, use them. Fresh figs are in short supply in Sydney at the moment, so I resorted to dried figs.
What I was cooking this time last year: Spicy Bean Soup
Blue Cheese and Fig Tartlets
- Cooking oil spray
- 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, defrosted
- 4 dried figs
- Cranberry sauce
- 100g blue cheese
- Turn the oven on to 200°C.
- Spray a baking tray with cooking oil spray.
- Cut the sheet of pastry into quarters, then each quarter into quarters again.
- Cut a smaller square inside each piece of pastry square.
- Flip the outer corner of the pastry square to the inside corner, and repeat with the opposite corners to create a tartlet.
- Push down the ends, and repeat until all of your pastry squares have been converted into tartlets.
- Cook for approximately 10 minutes.
- Take the pastry tartlets out of the oven and push down the center of the tartlets.
- Return the tartlets to the oven and cook for another 10 minutes or until golden.
- Once the tartlets are golden, add some chopped fig, blue cheese and a small dollop of cranberry sauce to each tartlet.
- Cook for approximately 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
- Your tartlets are ready to serve. Enjoy.
What is your favourite canapé? Has this post inspired any new ideas?