Monday, 29 August 2011

Petit Feuilleté Boeuf et Figues

In honour of dear friends moving away and inspired by our recent holiday in France, this dish was the first course of a four course French themed feast for the occasion. My wife and I had this at a restaurant in France, La Ferme Ladouceur, and all I had to go on was my memory of the dish and a photograph I took at the restaurant.

First of all, what is a 'femlleté'? I've searched, run various derivations through Google translate and have come up with nothing at all that is food related. The nearest was 'femmellete' which apparently means 'sissy'. So 'sissies' they are. Help me out here, please. (Mystery now solved... see comments below).

The filling is made from seasoned pureéd beef, and a piece of fresh fig, all wrapped in a shortcrust pastry. Seeing what I was doing, my wife stepped in with her artistic talents and actually made them look like figs. Impressive work. The sauce is a rich beef stock reduction and the garnish a simple leaf salad topped with redcurrants. I had recently bought some fig balsamic vinegar which was perfect for the dressing.

INGREDIENTS:

(Makes 10)

- 650g sirloin steak, trimmed and finely pureéd in a food processor
- 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
- 6 small fresh figs, quartered
- Salt and pepper
- Shortcrust pastry (1 'Jusroll' pack was good for 4)
- 500ml good quality beef stock (this was from Waitrose)
- 1 desert spoon of plain flour
- 1 desert spoon of butter
- Mixed soft leaves
- 1 tub of redcurrants
- Thick balsamic vinegar
- Beaten egg for brushing on to the pastry
- Parsley sprigs to garnish (I forgot this bit)

METHOD:

Start by making the filling. Trim the thick fat rind off the sirloin, cut it into chunks and put it in a food processor. Add salt, pepper and the chopped parsley to taste. (it tastes great raw so don't be afraid). The pureéd beef needs to be really well seasoned, but not too salty.

Divide the seasoned beef into ten balls (each should be the roughly the size of a golf ball). Lay each ball on a square of shortcrust pastry, put a quarter of a fig on top, brush beaten egg on the inside of the pastry, fold up the sides and then do your best to make them look like figs (or whatever your creative talents desire). Brush the outside with more egg before laying them onto a buttered baking dish.

Pre-heat the oven to 200 deg C and allow 30 minutes for them to cook. While they are in the oven, prepare the sauce by putting the flour and butter in a saucepan over a low heat to make a roux. Then add the beef stock, bring it to the boil, and then reduce it down at a low simmer until it is nicely glossy and just a little thickened. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

Lay the leaves on the side of the plate, dress with some balsamic vinegar and place the redcurrants and a quarter of a fig on top. Finally, plate up the femlletés and drizzle over plenty of sauce before garnishing with a fresh sprig of parsley.

We followed this with coq au vin blanc (I found a brilliant recipe at The Gourmet Traveller), a cheese course, and a refreshing 'le colonel' (Bombay Sapphire version). The evening was topped off by burning some of my treasured foraged oak in the brazier as a treat for the South African majority (well, for all us blokes actually).

14 comments:

Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen said...

Femmelette = sissy? Well there is absolutely nothing sissy about this dish. Those look like very hungry people just about to devour something very delicious. Sounds like you had a great evening and thanks for the introduction to a new dish!

Toby said...

love the idea of figs and beef, and your wife's artistry at making them little fat figs is just wonderful.

Fig season is just beginning here and I can't wait to put this to work.. Thanks for sharing!

Kim said...

Hmmm.. Interesting. I speak pretty good french, but am from quebec. I've never hear that word, and the spelling looks somehow unlike usual french structure. It might be some combination of words stuck together in a strange way...

Kim said...

On second thought, I just saw the writing. It's Feuillete. Feuille means leaf or sheet. Feuillete is a pastry term, I just checked it out.

firefoodie said...

Horray! The mystery is solved. Thanks so much Kim. I shall rename the blog accordingly.

Jay said...

sounds absolutely divine...
first time here...nice space you have with interesting presentation..
Am your happy follower now..:)
do stop by mine sometime..

Jay
Tasty Appetite

Kim said...

Happy to help!

momdecuisine said...

I've never thought of figs and beef. This is beautiful, you have some very lucky friends!

Dzoli said...

What a great dish,It doesn't only look fantastic but must taste grand.Ingrediebnts are chosen to complement each other.The only thing..technology hasn't reached that stadium that you can pick it from the monitor and eat:))

Lola Lobato said...

I like your Petit Feuilleté Boeuf et Figues surprising and creative. Délicieux!

mjskit said...

What a beautiful meal! Lots of wonderful and interesting flavors - beef with figs, currants - sounds wonderful! Gorgeous website!

Kim Bee said...

I am in awe. And I want to come have dinner with you and your wife something awful. This is incredible.

Ann said...

Wow - That's an AMAZING dish! I love the idea of salted beef, figs and pastry crust! Brilliant! I bet everyone just LOVED it! Thanks for sharing!

Tiffany said...

The first word that came to my mind was stunning!

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