Starter: Dirt Lover Fig and Fresh Thyme Pastry Pockets

It’s hard to go wrong with something that resembles miniature Pop-Tarts pastries. The supple nature and mushroom-like flavor of this sheep’s-milk cheese is perfect for melting inside a puff pastry; add sweet figs and some fresh thyme, and you have a can’t-miss appetizer for cool weather.

Yields | 24 pastry pockets |

  • 4 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
  • 4 oz Green Dirt Farm Dirt Lover Cheese, cut into 24 equal pieces
  • 4 oz fig paste, ¼-inch dice
  • 12 dried Black Mission figs, halved
  • small bunch fresh thyme, leaves stripped from stems
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • small bowl of water, for sealing
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water, for egg wash

| Preparation | Preheat oven to 400°F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface, gently roll out one sheet of puff pastry into a 12-inch square; trim edges as needed with rotary pizza cutter. Cut into 3 sections along the seams, then cut each section into 4 equal pieces, for a total of 12 rectangles per sheet. With the long side facing the top and bottom of the work surface, place a slice of cheese in the middle of the right side. Place 2 cubes fig paste and 1 dried fig segment on top, and sprinkle a few fresh thyme leaves over; season with salt and pepper.

Wet fingertip with water and dampen the perimeter of rectangle. Working from left to right, fold pastry over the ingredients (as if you were closing a book) and press together; crimp edges with a fork to seal and use a skewer to poke holes in the top of each. Repeat with remaining pastry squares. Transfer to prepared sheet pan. Repeat with remaining puff pastry sheet and place pan in refrigerator to chill for 20 minutes.

Remove pan from refrigerator and transfer to work surface; brush each pastry with egg wash. Sprinkle a few thyme leaves down the center of each pocket.

Bake in oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until pastry pockets are puffed and golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly, 5 minutes.

Transfer to serving tray; serve warm.

Shannon Weber is the creator, author and photographer behind the award-winning blogaperiodictableblog.com, and her work has appeared on websites such as Bon Appétit, Serious Eats and America’s Test Kitchen.