Fig and Chevre Crisps

Serves

It's great to find an interesting party hors d'oeuvre, something elegant and unique that doesn't require an entire day in the kitchen; these bite-size "crisps" — topped with a creamy goat-cheese mousse — are the perfect answer.

Paper-thin slices of sugar-coated fresh figs are dried in the oven to concentrate their flavor. To balance their sweetness, a simple combination of crème fraîche and goat cheese is piped onto the figs just before serving.

For the best results, choose figs that are ripe but still firm; super-soft figs will be too difficult to slice. The fig crisps can be made a day ahead unless you live in a humid climate. Select a garnish that's convenient for you: snipped chives or mint leaves, chopped pecans or pistachios, sliced almonds or diced crystallized ginger, for instance. For a pretty presentation, arrange the crisps on a platter lined with grape or fig leaves.


Ingredients

6 medium ripe, firm figs (preferably Kadota or Brown Turkey)
1 tablespoon superfine sugar
5 ounces soft chevre (goat cheese)
3 tablespoons crème fraîche
1 teaspoon milk
  Garnishes (optional)


Directions

Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat liner or parchment paper.

Cut each fig into paper-thin slices (about 1/16 inch thick) with a mandoline or by hand with a very sharp knife. Each fig should generate 5 or 6 useable slices; discard the small rounds at the top and base of the fruit.

Carefully transfer the slices to the baking tray and re-shape the figs into rounds with your fingers, if needed. Sprinkle sugar over the top of each slice and smooth with the back of a small spoon to create an even layer. Bake the figs in the oven for 5 to 8 minutes, then remove the tray to a wire rack and allow the crisps to cool completely. If your fig slices are thicker than 1/16 inch, it will take longer to dry them in the oven. When cool, the crisps should be firm and the bottom side should be golden brown.

Combine the crème fraîche and chevre in a small food processor and pulse until the mixture is smooth. If the mousse is dry and stiff, add a bit of milk to thin. The mousse should be stiff enough to pipe, not runny. Transfer the mousse to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and refrigerate until serving time. The mousse can be made a day in advance.

To serve, arrange the fig crisps on a platter, golden-brown side up. Pipe a rosette of mousse onto each crisp. Garnish each fig with a sprinkling of the garnish of your choice. Serve at room temperature.

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