As much as I adore cheesecake, an entire slice is just too rich and too much of a gut-buster. At least, to indulge in with regularity.
But a cheesecake pastry? Now, that’s something I can get down with morning, noon or night.
With the same luscious creaminess, a cheesecake pastry satisfies beautifully but with just a fraction of the filling, guaranteeing no food-coma afterward.
So when I was asked by Snofrisk, a Norwegian cheese company, to create a recipe using its product, I knew cheesecake pastry was where it was at.
Snofrisk is made with 80 percent goat’s milk and 20 percent cream from cows — all from small herds on Norwegian farms.
The soft, spreadable cheese is new to Bay Area Costco stores this month. The cheese comes in eye-catching, resealable triangular containers in a three-pack for $9.99. Each pack contains two containers of Original, and one of Red, Onion & Thyme. A 1-ounce serving of the Original has 73 calories; for the Red Onion & Thyme, it’s 67 calories.
The Original is as thick as cream cheese with a similar slight tang. The Red, Onion & Thyme is a little looser in consistency. It tastes almost like onion dip all on its own. Open a package and set out some crackers, and you have a ready-made nosh for all those upcoming sporting events on TV.
The Original is perfect for sweet preparations like these fig and almond cheesecake pastries, which are a breeze to make because they are made with frozen puff pastry.
I mix the Original Snofrisk with a touch of lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla or almond extract (whichever you prefer) to make it even more cheesecake-like in taste. I don’t even bother with a bowl. Just mix it all in the individual Snofrisk containers, and you are good to go.
This mixture gets spread generously in the center of each cut puff-pastry round, then rimmed with sliced almonds. Because figs are in abundance right now, I put a quartered one in the center of each pastry. Not a fig fan? You could swap in a few blueberries instead. Or even a dollop of your favorite jam.
You’ll notice I didn’t add any sugar to these pastries. Instead, after they come out of the oven all golden and crisp, I serve them with a pot of honey on the side. That way, everyone can drizzle on as much as they like to suit their preference.
With these elegant little pastries, cheesecake is right any time.
Cheesecake Pastries with Figs, Almonds and Snofrisk Cheese
2 containers Original Snofrisk (4.4-ounce each)
2 teaspoons lemon zest, divided use
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, divided use
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract, divided use
1-pound box of frozen all-butter puff pastry, thawed
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
4 fresh, ripe figs, stemmed and quartered
1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon of water, for egg wash
Orange blossom honey or your favorite type of honey, for serving
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Into each container of Original Snofrisk, gently but thoroughly stir in 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract. Reserve.
On a lightly floured work surface, unroll the thawed puff pastry. Using a cutter, cut 5 1/2- to 6-inch rounds. You can also make the rounds by inverting a small bowl, and tracing the outline with a paring knife. You’ll get two rounds from each circular puff pastry sheet. (Note: Don’t discard the trimmings. Instead, make pastry twists by twisting lengths of puff pastry, then brushing with leftover egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar or grated Parmesan, and bake until golden and crisp.)
Place puff pastry rounds on rimless baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Using the tip of a paring knife, lightly score a border around each round, about 1/2 inch from the edge, taking care not to cut all the way through. Next, with the tines of fork, prick the center of each round several times.
Spread half of each container of the Snofrisk mixture into the center of each puff pastry round, leaving the scored border area empty. Arrange toasted almond slices around the perimeter of the Snofisk mixture. Place the quartered fig in the center of each pastry, flesh-side up. With a pastry brush, apply the egg wash only on the scored border.
Bake in the oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until pastry is golden brown and the figs have softened slightly. Remove to a rack to cool for five minutes. Then, serve pastries warm or at room temperature, passing the honey at the table so each person can drizzle on as much as they like.
— From Carolyn Jung