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What kind of dried figs should I use in Fig and Honey Cream Cheese Filling?

This is a matter of personal preference, as any Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California dried figs will work in this recipe. The sweet and intense flavor of Mission figs, however, is a favorite because it pairs perfectly with tangy cream cheese and delicate honey. The color contrast with the golden puff pastry and dark mission figs is also a selling point. If your figs are particularly dry and cannot be sliced, simply soak them in hot water for 10 minutes before slicing to rehydrate them.

Ingredients:

1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed but still cold

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 tbsp honey (plus extra for drizzling)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

9 Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Mission figs (about 1 cup)

1 tablespoon half and half heavy cream or coconut cream

1 tablespoon coarse sugar, turbinado sugar or granulated sugar

Preperation:

Preheat your oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set it aside.

Cut the thawed puff pastry (it should be cool to the touch, but workable) into 9 equal squares using a knife or pizza cutter. Arrange the squares evenly on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

In each square, cut an L-shape 1/2 inch from the edge in the upper right and lower left corners (opposite corners). Fold the top right corner to the inside L of the bottom left corner, then fold the bottom left corner over and up to the top right corner. You create a diamond shape. NOTE: You can shape the dough as desired; This is only a suggestion.

In medium bowl, mix cream cheese, honey, vanilla extract and salt until blended. Spoon 1 to 2 teaspoons of cream cheese mixture down the center of each dough.

Thinly slice each of the figs, not quite cutting off the top so they are still connected, then distribute the slices and arrange them over the cream cheese mixture (one fig per pastry). Brush the exposed edges of the dough with heavy cream, half and half or coconut cream. Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the pastries, making sure it sticks to the edges.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden and puffed. Drizzle with additional honey if desired and serve hot. Yields 9 pastries.

Note: Baked goods are best the day they are made, but they will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. To reheat, gently warm in a 300F oven for 5-10 minutes.

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