Fig, walnut and

Last year, just before the snow and Christmas whipped time up into a muffled frenzy, I went to an event hosted by Easy Cheesey Chèvre, a campaign devoted to asking: “Have you considered having some French goat’s cheese with that?”

If you’ve ever wanted to buy French goat’s cheese but held back because you didn’t know the difference between fresh goat’s cheese and mature goat’s cheese (rind and texture), or what wine to drink with it (crémant and champagne), or whether it’s the right time of year to eat goat’s cheese (it’s always French goat’s cheese time), then worry no more. Easy Cheesey Chèvre can answer your questions and stop you dithering in front of the chiller cabinet.

Or in the cheese room, if you happen to shop at La Fromagerie, who provided the cheese for the evening’s tasting. La Fromagerie’s range of goat’s cheeses is testament to the French goat’s commitment to lactation and the French cheese maker’s determination to do something marvellous with that milk. Hit of the evening for me was Cabécou du Rochamadour – a squashed round of velvety cheese that begs to be mashed onto a crispbread and devoured.

Goats cheese baklava 3

My mind abuzz, I went home to consider the possibilities. First, I thought about making a custardy goat’s cheese tart with figs and a walnut crust, but that required an event and a crowd of people. I lacked both of those, so I settled on baklava – combining my already acknowledged addiction to sugar with my burgeoning craving for goat’s cheese.

The assistant at La Fromagerie recommended Crottin de Chavignol for with figs and oranges and, eaten on the day it’s made, this baklava is light and tastes citrussy with a hint of lingering lactic muskiness. Matured for a few days and the flavours mingled, the goat’s cheese becoming both more obvious and less clinging. A piece or 2 (or 4) with a cup of coffee makes a good end to a meal.

Fig, walnut and goat’s cheese baklava
Makes 20 squares

 

3 cardamom pods
200g walnuts halves
Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
100g dried, ready-to-eat figs, finely chopped
80g goat’s cheese, such as Crottin de Chavignol, finely chopped
2 tbsp caster sugar
50g unsalted butter, melted
10 sheets filo pastry
HONEY SYRUP
200g caster sugar
3 tbsp clear honey
100ml water

1 Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C/fan oven 160°C. Bash the cardamom pods with a pestle to break them open. Discard the green papery skins and grind the seeds to a fine powder.

2 Blitz the walnuts in a food processor to coarsely chop. Stir in the cardamom, orange zest and juice, dried figs, goat’s cheese and caster sugar.

3 Brush a 20cm square cake tin with melted butter. Slice the filo pastry sheets into squares so they’ll fit the tin. Brush 1 sheet of filo with butter, cover with another sheet of filo. Repeat until you have layered 5 sheets of filo on top of each other. Lay in the bottom of the cake tin and spoon the nut mixture over the filo.

4 Cover the nut mix with another 5 sheets of filo, brushed with butter. Slice the baklava with a knife to make 20 squares. Brush the top with butter and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

5 Meanwhile, make the honey syrup. Combine the sugar, honey and water in a pan and gently heat, stirring, until liquid. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat.

6 Take the baklava out of the oven and pour over the syrup. Leave to cool in the tin. When cold, slice into squares. Store an airtight tub in the fridge. Eat within a couple of weeks.

Tagged with: BakingBaklavaGoat's cheese
 

13 Responses to Fig, walnut and goat’s cheese baklava

  1. Merinne says:

    Timing! I have half a packet of slowly hardening filo in the fridge from a recent (and highly tasty) spinach-and-ricotta-twists effort – now I know what to do with it! *scuttles off to buy goats’ cheese*

  2. LexEat! says:

    Such a beautifully written post!

    I agree re La Fromagerie’s goat’s cheese selection – just used a beautiful one of their soft French goat’s cheeses (the name escapes me) to make twice baked souffles.

    What an interesting recipe for baklava! I love it!

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ginandcrumpets, ginandcrumpets. ginandcrumpets said: New post: It's a dessert and a cheese course all in one go, how time economical: Fig, walnut and goat's cheese baklava: http://bit.ly/hClpbE […]

  4. London Lady says:

    These look so good! I did a fig tour or Spain last year and ever since I cant seem to get enough. Pairing them with baklava and goats cheese just seems like heaven!

  5. zee says:

    This sounds so good… but… would that “lactic muskiness” of the Crottin be the whiff of farmyard that puts me off goats cheese? If so, is there a substitute or should I just move on… 🙂

  6. Helen says:

    “testament to the French goat’s commitment to lactation”. Ace,

  7. Merinne says:

    Made it, ate it, loved it. Any more baklava-filling suggestions?

  8. Always meant to try making baklava, fabulous flavour combination I love it.

  9. Dylan says:

    Sounds fantastic. I’ve not thought of goat’s cheese in baklava, but it goes so well with things like nuts and honey it seems obvious now..

    I love the idea of the flavours maturing over a few days..

  10. ginandcrumpets says:

    @Merinne I’m so glad you enjoyed it! There’s so many different combinations for baklava, although having weird with goat’s cheese perhaps it’s time to get traditional with some almonds, rosewater and spices?

    @LexEat! La Fromagerie’s cheese room is genuinely remarkable. So much choice and, at the moment, some young lads who recommend cheese by saying: “This cheese is really cool.” Love it.

    @London Lady I have a shocking fig addiction that is stopped from becoming all consuming due to the price of figs in the UK. Like you, it began in Spain – picking figs off the trees for breakfast with bread and butter. Something I could never get bored of.

    @zee Maybe it’s a little goaty to begin with – just a little. But within a couple of days, the goatiness is gone and it’s just baklava that tastes a little bit like cheese. Nothing wrong with that. Could try it with a milder, fresh goat’s cheese and see what happens then.

    @Helen Thanks 🙂

    @Sarah Thanks, I am a baklava fiend given the chance.

    @Dylan The flavours do change over a couple of days, if you can hold out that long…

  11. SN 2 says:

    Some this weekend please! Birthday gift to me! 🙂

  12. JPW says:

    Baklava made with buffalo (US) milk is wonderful. I’d recommend it – it is a richer, nuttier flavor to dairy.

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