Blue Cheese, Fig, and Walnut Tartlets

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Nearly any type of blue cheese can be used to make these tartlets. The trick is to add enough half-and-half or milk to make a spreadable paste that will cover the pastry smoothly. I like to use bleu d’Auvergne, which is moderately strong in flavor and blends well with the splash of dairy.

Ingredients

  • 12–14 soft fresh figs
  • All-purpose flour for dusting
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, about ½ lb (250 g), thawed according to package instructions
  • 6 oz (185 g) blue cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp half-and-half or whole milk, or as needed to create a spreadable paste
  • ¼ cup (1 oz/30 g) finely chopped walnuts
  • ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
  • ½ tsp minced fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil

Method

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Trim off the hard tip from each fig stem. Cut the figs lengthwise into slices ¼ inch (6 mm) thick.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the puff pastry into a rectangle about 10 by 12 inches (25 by 30 cm) and about ¼ inch (6 mm) thick. Using a pastry cutter about 5 inches (13 cm) in diameter, cut out 4 rounds. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer each pastry round to the prepared pan and, using your thumb and forefinger, lightly crimp the pastry edges to form a rim.

In a small bowl, using a fork, mash together the cheese and half-and-half, and then mix in the walnuts. Spread one-fourth of the cheese mixture over the bottom of each tartlet shell. Arrange the fig slices on top in a single layer, overlapping them slightly. Sprinkle with the pepper and thyme, and drizzle with the olive oil. Place the tartlets in the freezer for 10 minutes to help the pastry puff nicely when it bakes.

Bake the tartlets until the crust is lightly golden and the figs are soft, 15–20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool for about 15 minutes. Remove the tartlets from the pan and serve warm or at room temperature.

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