Cheese and Fig Tartlets with Natillas

Cheese and Fig Tartlets with Natillas
6 servings

Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice but you only need a tiny pinch to flavour any recipe. You can get saffron at specialty food shops and gourmet grocery stores. The recipe calls for the Spanish variety but any high quality saffron will work just as well. If you don’t feel up to making homemade puff pastry, buy the frozen variety at your local supermarket. Yield is 6 servings.




cup 35% cream (whipping cream)
small cinnamon stick
Pinch of Spanish saffron
Zest 1 lemon
large eggs
3 ½
Tbsp white sugar

Cassis Reduction

cup Cassis liqueur


6 5
by 5-inch puff pastry squares, ⅛-inch thick
16 5-inch
long, ⅓-inchwide puff pastry strips
1 475
g container ricotta cheese
lb(s) fresh figs, stems removed and cut into wedges


Step 1

Put the cream, cinnamon, saffron and lemon zest in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan on medium heat and bring to a boil.

Step 2

Turn the heat to low and cook 7 to 10 minutes or until you can smell the cinnamon and saffron and the mixture turns yellow in colour.

Step 3

Remove from the heat and set aside.

Step 4

Whisk the eggs and sugar in a medium stainless steel bowl until smooth.

Step 5

Remove cinnamon stick from hot cream and add cream to the eggs slowly, stirring gently with a wooden spoon.

Step 6

Put the egg mixture in a double boiler and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon.

Step 7

Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Step 8

Heat the cassis in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan on medium heat until simmering.

Step 9

Reduce by half, about 5 minutes.

Step 10

Set aside.

Step 11

Position the oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 450 degrees F. for 10 minutes then turn it down to 400 degrees F.

Step 12

Put the puff pastry squares on a board.

Step 13

Pierce the pastry squares with a fork and transfer to a baking tray lined with parchment.

Step 14

Beat an egg in a small bowl and brush the tops of the squares.

Step 15

You want to create little boxes of puff pastry with the pastry squares to hold the filling.

Step 16

To do this, for each square of pastry, lay 4 strips of pastry down on top of the pastry squares along the edges to create the sides of the box. (When baked the strips will puff up to create a hollow box for the filling and because the squares were pierced, they won’t puff up as much).

Step 17

Put the baking tray with the puff pastry boxes in the fridge and let pastry rest for 10 minutes.

Step 18

Then put the baking tray directly in the preheated oven.

Step 19

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until puffy and golden brown.

Step 20

To serve, place a puff pastry box on a plate.

Step 21

Put a dollop of ricotta in the puff pastry box.

Step 22

On top of the ricotta, place a few of the fig wedges.

Step 23

Drizzle the Natillas and cassis reduction around the plate.

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