Friday, September 26, 2014

Phyllo ‘N’ Figs

While I await Mike Minassian's next lahmajoun report, I thought I'd share a dessert recipe my husband was eager for me to make. We'll get back to the lahmajoun experiments soon. 
My husband loves figs – fresh or dried; it really doesn’t matter. He spotted a fig dessert recipe in the New York Times which included the use of phyllo dough and ricotta cheese. He decided we (when he said ‘we’, he meant ‘I’) could put an Armenian twist on the original recipe, and post it on our website. After reading through the original recipe, I made proportion adjustments as well as some ingredient tweaks.

I must warn you, this dessert uses a generous amount of butter, and the cheeses are not low fat. To satisfy readers who seek a less decadent dessert, a short-cut, lower fat version of the recipe follows this one.
Single portion of Phyllo 'N' Figs
Presenting The Armenian Kitchen’s adaptation of …

Phyllo ‘N’ Figs
Yields 4 large or 8 small servings

Ingredients for the cheese filling:
  1/3 cup goat cheese, room temperature
  1/3 cup Mascarpone cheese, room temperature (cream cheese may be substituted)
    Zest of 1/2 lemon
    2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
    2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Directions for the cheese filling:

In a mixing bowl, combine goat cheese, Mascarpone cheese, lemon zest and juice, vanilla extract (if using) and powdered sugar, blending well. Set aside at room temperature until ready to use. The mixture should have a spreading consistency - like peanut butter.

Ingredients for the phyllo dough base:
    4 sheets phyllo dough, thawed and covered with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel
    1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

Directions for the phyllo bases:

1. Place a piece of plastic wrap the size of a sheet of phyllo dough on a flat work surface. Lay 1 single sheet of phyllo dough horizontally on the plastic wrap. Brush surface lightly with melted butter. 
Folded-buttered phyllo sheets
 2. Fold phyllo in half, from left to rightlightly butter the top layer. Then fold phyllo in half, from top to bottom, and brush the top lightly with butter again. Fold once more, from left to right. Brush top with butter and trim edges, if necessary. You should end up with a  rectangle approximately 4 inches-by-6-inches. 
 Repeat with remaining 3 sheets of phyllo, using about 2 tablespoons butter per pastry. 
3. Preheat oven to 375°F.
Adding and spreading the cheese mixture
 4.  Lay pastry rectangles on a parchment-lined baking sheet and spread each pastry rectangle with one fourth of cheese filling. 
Topping ingredients:
    8 ripe figs, stems trimmed (I used Mission figs)
    Granulated sugar
    ¼ cup pistachios, toasted and roughly chopped
    ¼ cup warm honey for drizzling

Directions for Figs and Toppings:

Cut each fig into a star shape, keeping base of fig intact
1. Cut each fig from stem end into quarters, without cutting completely through the bottom of the fig.  Spread figs open to resemble a star. Top each pastry rectangle with 2 figs. Sprinkle each portion with a little granulated sugar. 
Just out of the oven
 2.  Bake for 15 minutes or until dough is golden and crisp. Remove from oven; cool slightly. Sprinkle the top of each fig with chopped pistachio nuts and drizzle lightly with *honey. Serve at room temperature. 
Double portion...ready to serve
*I used some syrup from a jar of Noyan preserved figs, a product from Armenia, instead of the honey. Preserved figs in syrup can be purchased in most Middle Eastern stores.

NOTE: If desired, cut pastries in half to make 8 smaller servings.

As promised, here’s the shorter, lower fat version of Phyllo ‘N’ Figs:

For the Phyllo:
1 (15-count) package Phyllo cups (Fillo) – found in the freezer section of most grocery stores

Cheese Filling:
Use the same filling ingredients as above, but substitute low fat cream cheese for the Mascarpone.

 4 figs, cut into quarters (yields 16 pieces)
¼ cup chopped pistachio nuts
Honey to drizzle on top

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Mix together the cheese filling ingredients and set aside.
3. Place phyllo cups on an ungreased baking sheet. Fill each cup with a generous spoonful of cheese filling.
4. Place a slice of fig on top of each cheese-filled phyllo cup. (You can eat the leftover piece of fig!)
5. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is heated and phyllo cup is golden.
6. Remove from oven; allow to cool a few minutes. Sprinkle tops with chopped nuts, and drizzle with honey. Serve at room temperature

NOTE: Refrigerate any leftover cheese filling. It makes a nice spread for toast or crackers.


  1. It looks gorgeous and sounds delicious.

  2. I love Figs! I love your blog and look forward to many more wonderful recipes. I am new to blogging. I am 56 and in college for the first time. My blog started out as a school project but it is now one of my passions. please feel free to check it out at :

    Thank you,
    Lucille Clarke