This Beet Walnut Fig combination is a marriage made in heaven! So easy to make and a substantial side or appetizer!
[ultimate-recipe-jump text="Take Me to the Recipe!"]
The Swiss company Firmenich (which I had never heard of until today) named Fig the 'Flavour of the Year for 2018'. Turns out they are quite a substantial company, that 'creates fragrances and flavors for the world's most desirable brands delighting billions of consumers every day'. Who knew??? Founded in 1895, with more than 7,000 employees world-wide, 4 R&D centers around the world in Geneva, Princeton, Shanghai and Gujarat, 2,900 patents currently in place. It is the largest privately owned company in the fragrance and flavour industry.
Check them out here if you are curious like I am... I will have to go back and check out their successes in more detail. A heading of Citrus, Vanilla Seafood has intrigued me!
So.. based on the above - I am expecting big things out of Figs this year!! I always have dried figs on hand because they go so well in port and cream cheese balls, on a dessert platter with dried apricots and port, a compote of dried figs and apricots to go with port. (Did I mention how well they go with Port? Lol!) I will have to experiment more with fresh figs when they're available.
In the meantime- this simple yet flavourful side can't be easier to put together. I cooked real beets in my pressure cooker. Beets only take about 13 minutes to cook in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot. Check out my Pressure Cooker - Which One is Best? if you want to know about pressure cooking. But you can certainly use canned whole beets for this - just drain them well to remove as much liquid as possible.
You can serve these slightly warm or at room temperature. This is best to bring out the subtle flavour of the walnuts and walnut oil.
Walnut oil totally adds a touch of umami to this side so it worth looking for it if you can. Walnut oil is also so good for you! If you can't find it use a neutral vegetable oil. Or you may be able to find hazelnut oil? I just would not recommend olive oil because it will compete with the other subtle flavours.
And guess what - they are MAKE AHEAD!! (which you know I love!) Store in the fridge up to a day ahead. Just let them come to room temperature or give them about 1 minute on low microwave setting to take the chill off before serving.
By the way - Napoleons are traditional French pastries with multiple layers - like a Mille Feuille with layers of pastry and whipped cream and icing. The term has been expropriated to refer to stacks of vegetables or other food items.
This makes a great side dish, winter or summer or an interesting appetizer course.
- 4 medium whole beets See Note 1 for notes on pressure cooking whole beets or using canned.
- 16 walnut halves plus a few more for garnish if desired
- 16 tsps room temperature cream cheese
- 8 thin slices dried fig (4 whole figs)
- 2 Tbsps walnut oil for drizzling
- picks for securing stacks
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast walnut halves on oven proof pan for approximately 10 minutes. Check often to prevent burning.
- If using canned beets drain them well and slice each beet into 6 equal slices. If using fresh beets add 2 cups of water to your pressure cooker or Instapot. Rinse beets and trim ends. Place whole unpeeled beets on the steamer rack above the water. Seal the regulator and cook on High about 13 minutes. Quick release when done and allow beats to cool. When cool enough to handle peel the beets and slice each beet into 6 even slices. (Adjust pressure cooker instructions as required for your specific appliance)
- Soak whole dried fig in warm tap water for about 5 minutes until just pliable. Drain well and pat dry with a paper towel. Cut each fig in half horizontally.
- Cut each beet in half horizontally. Slice beet halves into 3 equal slices.
- Cut thin slices off the block of cream cheese about 1 teaspoon per slice. Add 1 slice of cream cheese on the first beet layer.
- Reserve 16 toasted walnut halves. Roughly chop the remaining if using for garnish.
- Starting with the widest beet slice for the base layer - beet slice, cream cheese slice, beet slice, fig slice, beet slice, cream cheese slice. Press 2 walnut halves into the cream cheese top layer. Secure stack with pick.
- Arrange stacks on serving plate or platter. Drizzle with walnut oil and sprinkle with crushed walnuts. Serve at room temperature or slightly warm. (1 minute on low setting of microwave).
- Serving size = 2 per person.