Puff Pastry Bites with Stilton, Fig Jam, and Candy-Glazed Walnuts

by feastonthecheap on May 5, 2011

Mary Anne here. Living in the Northeast, this wickedly wild winter left me wanting to hibernate. And while our spring has certainly had its fair share of dark and dreary days, we’ve also enjoyed intermittent bouts of sunshine and warmth. I am SO ready for real spring weather that I’m determined to dust off the china and salute the balmier days (that are hopefully) ahead. And nothing heralds a boisterous “howdy” to warm weather like an al fresco cocktail party, complete with buckets of chilled wine and a bounty of sweet and savory nibbles. Who needs dinner?

These little cocktail bites fit the bill perfectly when it comes to tickling one’s palate. The pastries are no bigger than a half dollar, crisp on the outside while light and airy on the inside. The homemade fig jam is just sweet enough to complement the bite of the cheese while the glazed walnuts – sprinkled with a hefty dash of cayenne – add their own snappy, sugar-coated crunch. And BTW, I realized as I assembled these treats, one could easily skip the pastry prep and slather crackers with the topping – who would know!

Wishing all moms and moms-to-be a Mother’s Day break from the kitchen with breakfast, lunch, dinner AND a few cocktail bites served by your own army of pint-size personal chefs! And for all you kiddos looking for inspiration, check out our Mother’s Day Menu or Afternoon Tea, both chock full of mom-pleasing treats.

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Puff Pastry Bites with Stilton, Fig Jam, and Candy-Glazed Walnuts
Makes approximately 72 Bites

Note: The un-garnished pastries can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. Re-crisp, if desired, in a 300-degree oven for about 3 to 5 minutes.

The fig jam and candy-glazed walnuts can also be prepared ahead of time. Seal each component in an airtight container; the jam in the fridge, the nuts at room temp.

Ingredients:
1 package of frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed – $2.29
4 oz. dried Mission figs, diced (tough stems removed)– $2.29
¼ Teaspoon dried rosemary or thyme – stock
½ cup water
1 Tablespoon olive oil – stock
1 ½ Teaspoons Balsamic vinegar – stock
½ Teaspoon minced garlic – stock
1/3 lb. Stilton cheese, at room temperature – $5.03
1/3 cup chopped walnuts – stock
½ Tablespoon butter – stock
½ Tablespoon light brown sugar – stock
pinch or dash of ground cayenne – stock
1 Teaspoon water

Egg Wash:
1 egg yolk – stock
1 Teaspoon water or light cream
Grand Total Assuming Well-Stocked Pantry: $9.61
Total Per Bite: $0.13

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line your largest cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2. On a lightly floured surface, unfold the pastry sheets and, using a floured rolling pin, gently flatten the pastry seams.

3. Using a 1½-inch round biscuit cutter, cut out about 36 circles from each sheet. Transfer to the prepared cookie sheet.

4. Whisk the egg yolk with the water (or cream) and lightly brush the tops of each pastry.

5. Place the pastries on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the pastry is puffed and the tops are golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

6. Meanwhile, prepare the fig jam and candy-glazed walnuts. In a small saucepan, combine the figs, water, and rosemary. Bring to a boil, reduce the flame and allow to simmer, stirring frequently, until the liquid is reduced to about 1 Tablespoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the garlic, oil and vinegar. Season with salt and freshly cracked pepper.

7. Transfer the fig mixture to a small mixing bowl and using a hand mixer, beat until the figs are a jam-like consistency. Set aside.

8. In a small sauté pan, melt the butter and stir in the brown sugar, mixing well. Add the chopped walnuts and cayenne to taste. Sauté over medium low flame, adding 1 Teaspoon water to encourage the glaze. Stirring frequently, continue sautéing for about 10 minutes until the nuts are fragrant. Transfer to a piece of waxed paper.

9. To assemble: Using a demitasse spoon or small measuring spoon, spread the fig jam over the tops of the pastries. Add a piece of Stilton and garnish with the candy-glazed walnuts.

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Nichol May 5, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Yum these sound really good. Puff Pastry treats are always a hit in our home!

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Maria May 5, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Fabulous appetizer!

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Lana @ Never Enough Thyme May 5, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Stilton and figs – what a combination! And love the kick from the spicy walnut in there. What a fabulous little bite!

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Blog is the New Black May 5, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Wow, looking great, ladies!

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Megan May 5, 2011 at 6:51 pm

You two never fail to impress me! This dish looks so elegant and expensive–! I love figs, and pairing them with cheese and puff pastry? Oh man, sounds so good!

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Rachel @ Rachel's Recipe Reviews May 5, 2011 at 7:06 pm

These are so pretty and fancy! Love them!

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Kathy - Panini Happy May 5, 2011 at 8:51 pm

These are the type of bites that, for me, quickly turn into mouthfuls! I love these flavors and a puff pastry delivery is always a hit. :-)

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Rhonda May 5, 2011 at 11:12 pm

I totally dig fig and cheese, a blue or brie being my favorites (course I take the easy way out and use fig preserves). Hmmm, some bacon with that would be good too, you got my little hamster running around pretty fast.

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feastonthecheap May 6, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Oooh. Bacon. Why didn’t i think of that. Will definitely add some next time! Have a great weekend! M&M

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Mandy - The Complete Cook Book May 6, 2011 at 7:30 am

Decadent little morsels – fabulous! I would have to use a milder cheese for my palette though. Hope you have a special Mothers Day. xo
:-) Mandy

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feastonthecheap May 6, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Thanks, Mandy. Hope you have a special day as well. And for a milder cheese – try brie or a smoked gouda. I don’t think you can go wrong!

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Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. May 6, 2011 at 9:45 pm

heavenly!!

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Julie M. May 7, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Those look wonderful Mary Anne! I’m sending some warm weather vibes your way. Hopefully you’ll be enjoying these beautiful bites outdoors sooner rather than later!

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feastonthecheap May 7, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Thanks, Julie! We actually had a gorgeous day today (your vibes at work!) and as the sun was melting into the horizon, we enjoyed the leftover pastries. So glad to finally open the windows and let the fresh air in. Makes everything taste even sweeter!

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Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen May 7, 2011 at 11:00 pm

I’ve never had anything like this, it looks fabulous!

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The Texas Peach May 8, 2011 at 6:11 pm

What a great appetizer to put out at a party! I love foods that are sweet and savory, and these sound just amazing!

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Megan May 9, 2011 at 9:43 am

Mention jam and cheese and I’m there. These little bites look and sound amazing! A must try.

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Linda May 9, 2011 at 3:22 pm

What a perfect combination and my favorites! I found your blog through A Spice Perspective and so glad I did. Great recipes!

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feastonthecheap May 9, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Thanks so much, and we’re delighted you found us! M&M

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foodtable May 15, 2011 at 11:48 pm

Hi there, I have a surprise for both of you. Come pick it up at my blog any time after 8 a.m. p/t tomorrow. By the way, this recipe is amazing-

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Elle May 17, 2011 at 11:11 am

I love Stilton! And figs, and oh heck, I love everything here! Would love a plate of these with a nice wine to go along.

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