I was a (relatively) late entrant into the realm of goat cheese lovers as I did not even know it existed until I was about 26 and I’d met up with a group of friends at Dali – a tapas legend in the Boston area. There we had goat cheese rounds baked in a sweet red pepper sauce. The combination has been one that I’ve returned to time and again over the past 15 years. —cheese1227
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Pinch of sugar
2 tablespoons currants
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and slivered
2 large red peppers, roasted, peels and diced in ¼ inch pieces
¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 ounces of good quality goat cheese log at room temperature
Warm the sherry vinegar with the sugar and 1 tablespoon of water. Place the currants in the mixture to plump for about 15 minutes.
In a small skillet, dry toast the pine nuts until golden brown. Put the toasted pine nuts in a medium sized bowl. Use the same skillet to warm the olive oil and then lightly sauté the garlic slivers. Pour the oil and the garlic into the bowl with the pine nuts. Add the plumped currants and their liquid, the diced peppers, chili flakes and salt. Set aside for about an hour to let the flavors meld.
Thoroughly mix the goat cheese with the honey. Roll the honeyed goat cheese into a log inside a piece of plastic wrap (like you would a compound butter) and place it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes so that it will hold its shape when you need to cut it.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
On a floured surface, fold each of the sheets in half and use a rolling pin to lightly press the pieces together. You need to work with two cookie cutters or pastry shapes, one about 2 ½ to 3 inches across and one that is about ¼ inches smaller. The smaller cutter should be roughly the same size as the diameter of the goat cheese sitting in the freezer.
Take the larger cutter and press it all the way through the dough to your surface. Take the second one and press it only through one layer of the cut out dough so you effectively get a bit of well in the dough which will hold your compote and cheese. Just repeat the process until you’ve used up the dough.
Place the shells on a baking sheet.
Cut the semi-frozen goat cheese into ½-inch disks.
Put about a tablespoon of red pepper compote in each shell and sit a goat cheese disk on top.
Dip you finger in a bit of milk and run it around the top ring of pastry.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until the pastry is puffed and the cheese a bit caramelized on top. Serve warm garnished with a bit more compote and a basil flower.
I am an excellent eater (I have been all my life). I’m a pretty good cook (Ask my kids!). And my passable writing improves with alcohol (whether it's the writer or the reader that needs to drink varies by sentence.). I just published my first cookbook, Green Plate Special, which focuses on delicious recipes that help every day cooks eat more sustainably.