Fatima’s fingers with goat’s cheese, lemon, tarragon & thyme

Fatima’s fingers with goat’s cheese, lemon, tarragon & thyme

By
From
New Feast
Makes
16
Photographer
Alan Benson

These pastries are also popularly known as ‘cigars’, and are nearly always included as part of a Middle Eastern mezze spread. You can make them with filo pastry, but we find spring roll wrappers work very well and hold up better to deep-frying.

We include tarragon in the filling, which adds a lovely aniseed note that goes well with the goat’s cheese. Feel free to experiment with your own choice of soft cheese and fresh herbs.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
200g rindless goat’s cheese, crumbled
1 small onion, grated
2 tablespoons shredded tarragon leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 lemon, finely zested
1 egg yolk
salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 heaped teaspoon cornflour
3 tablespoons water
16-20 spring roll wrappers
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
green chilli relish, to serve (see note)

Method

  1. Combine the cheese, onion, herbs, lemon zest and egg yolk in a bowl, then season with salt and pepper and mash thoroughly with a fork.
  2. When ready to assemble, mix the cornflour and water together to make a paste.
  3. Work with one spring roll wrapper at a time, placing it on the work surface so that there is a corner pointing towards you (rather than a flat edge). Place a spoonful of filling across the corner closest to you, about a quarter of the way in. Roll this corner up and over the filling, and then for another couple of turns. Bring the two side corners in so they meet in the centre, then continue rolling, like a cigar. Brush the remaining corner with cornflour paste to seal. Repeat until all the filling and wrappers have been used. You’re aiming to achieve neat fingers, around 13–14 cm long and about 1.5 cm thick.
  4. To cook the pastries, pour vegetable oil into a medium, heavybased saucepan to a depth of about 6 cm and heat to 190°C. Fry the pastries, a few at a time, for 2–3 minutes, or until they turn golden brown. Turn them around in the oil to ensure they colour evenly all over. Drain them on kitchen paper and serve piping hot.

Note:

  • If you don’t have a candy thermometer, the oil will have reached the correct temperature when it is shimmering, and when a cube of bread sizzles up to the surface and turns a pale golden brown in about 20 seconds.

Note:

  • To make the green chilli relish, mix together 6 coarsely chopped pickled chillies, 1 small finely chopped garlic clove, 40 ml extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, salt and pepper in a bowl and set aside until required.
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