Well, Mrs Portly’s only had one week off, but I wanted to share these frankly fabulous little filo pies while redcurrants are still in season.
Crisp, buttery pastry oozing with melty Baron Bigod cheese and redcurrant jelly, offset by the sharp tang of fresh redcurrants. They’re rich but they’re tiny, just a few bites, so they’re perfect as a starter with a few salad leaves or as a warm canape.
You can use frozen redcurrants if that’s what you have handy (but please don’t leave them out) and substitute a lesser Brie-style cheese for Baron Bigod. Fighting talk, I know, but the Baron is local to me and I love it. You’ll need a 12-hole mini muffin tin and a couple of pastry cutters, one 9cm diameter, the other 3.5cm.
Brie and Redcurrant Filo Pies
4-6 sheets of filo pastry, depending on size
A 250g round of Baron Bigod (you won’t need it all, remains are the chef’s perk)
6 tsp redcurrant jelly
A handful of redcurrants, about 25g
Heat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5. Dampen a tea towel. Unroll the filo and place it under the tea towel so it doesn’t dry out. Melt the butter and use some to brush the holes of the mini muffin tin.
Place a sheet of filo on your worktop and brush with butter. Lay another sheet on top and butter again, then top with a third sheet. Smooth them out and cut 12 circles with the largest of your two cutters. You may need to cut round them with a sharp knife. Line each of the holes in the tin and reserve the scraps of pastry, covering them again with the tea towel.
Using the small cutter, cut cylinders out of the cheese, pushing all the way through from top to bottom. Remove the bloomy rind top and bottom if you like. Slice each cylinder horizontally into three equal pieces.
This isn’t essential, you can just hack lumps of cheese if that’s easier, but don’t make them too big or the cheese will bubble out all over your oven.
Place a disc of cheese in each pastry case, followed by half a teaspoon of redcurrant jelly and four or five fresh redcurrants. Top with crumpled scraps of your pastry offcuts and brush again with butter.
Place the tin on a lined baking sheet in case of leakages and cook for about 12-15 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden. Check by prising one up gently to make sure the bases are done. Cool briefly on a wire rack then remove to a serving plate. Eat warm.
You can, at a pinch, pre-cook these and re-heat them for around 6-8 minutes in a 180C oven, but do please eat them the day you make them, otherwise the cheese will become rubbery and that would be a food crime.