By Carolyne

Read the recipe and think through what you need before you begin. Mis en place.

Preheat the oven to 450 F. Use your oven thermometers and your smartphone timers. Turn the oven heat down to 400 F when you put the pastry-wrapped pork loin into the oven on a parchment lined buttered sheet pan.

Be sure to remove all vestiges of the silver skin. You might find a boning knife useful. Always push the sharp blade side of any knife away from you, while holding the pork loin securely. Rinse the pork loin and pat dry with paper towel. Brush the pork loin with Dijon mustard and salt and pepper. Cut tiny slits in the pork loin at one-inch intervals and pop a paper-thin piece of raw garlic into each slit.

Prepare fresh homemade coarse breadcrumbs. Season the breadcrumbs with your favourite herbs and or spices. Sage, rosemary and thyme works, or use prepared poultry seasoning sparingly; it can easily overtake anything it comes in contact with. Add just a sprinkle of grated nutmeg.

Press out with your fingers, or roll with a rolling pin, several layers of store-bought frozen, barely thawed butter-made puff pastry so that sheets are larger (wider and longer) than the pork loin. You will tuck in the ends using egg wash when you wrap the pork loin to complete the package.

Sear the pork loins in just a little sizzling unsalted butter in a sauté pan. You aren’t cooking the pork loin, just browning all sides to seal in the juices so the pastry doesn’t get soggy.

Using the same sauté pan, stir-fry a half cup of finely chopped shallots in just a bit of butter, and stir in a teaspoon of your refrigerated homemade oven-roasted golden garlic purée. Sprinkle fresh thyme, salt, pepper and a little paprika. Mix in the breadcrumbs. You don’t want a mushy wet breadcrumb mix; keep the breadcrumbs as dry as possible. Line the pastry with lots of the breadcrumbs mix to help absorb juices – the same way you do when making apple strudel. Leave a one-inch border crumb-free.

Wrap the seared, cooled pork loin in the breadcrumb lined sheets of puff pastry. Place the pastry package on the oven sheet pan seam side down. Paint the whole pastry packaged loin with egg wash. Using a sharp pointed knife, poke a few small holes in the top of the pastry package.

Bake about 30-40 minutes for a medium-size pork loin. You don’t want to overcook. Like all things roasted, cooking continues in its own heat while resting. Tent and let rest before carving in generously thick portions.

While the pork is roasting in the oven, deglaze the sauté pan using a cup of Offley Ruby Port to get loose any brown bits stuck to the pan. Reduce the port by half.

Stir in a tin of drained Bing cherries. Or use frozen if you prefer. Add a quarter cup of sweet congealed cognac figgy jus from your black mission fig marinating jar. Add a half cup of minced macerated black mission figs. If you have it, add a tablespoon of my German Italian plum confit. Add a tablespoon of fresh-squeezed sweet orange juice.

Pour the cherries fig sauce over the wrapped, sliced roasted pork loin only when ready to serve.

NOTE: If you don’t have cognac figgy jus, you could substitute liquid top-grade maple syrup and maybe chopped prunes or Medjool pitted dates with the cherries.

Sugared, buttered nutmeg carrots and minty mushy peas make nice side servings; or use any of your favourite vegetables. It’s perfect with my piping hot whipped mashed potatoes or a serving of duchess potatoes, piped using a forcing bag, into separate side oven-proof dishes that you can pop under the broiler rack to just brown the peaks for a few minutes. Be ready to serve immediately.

Serve on an oversize warmed plate positioned on a larger charger plate on a placemat. Set a pretty table for eye candy. It helps digestion at any meal.

For those who imbibe, offer a cool glass of ruby port. What a beautiful paired meal. Make it for family or for entertaining. Just make multiples of the puff pastry wrapped pork loins, roasted simultaneously. If doubling up, make lots of sauce, but you only need a drizzle on the carved packaged puff pastry pork loin slices. This recipe is likely to become one of your favourites.

ALTERNATE: You could substitute a ruby port mushroom shallot sauce if you want to switch up the cherry fig sauce. But still add the black mission macerated figs.

A delicious surprise-side possibility:

Deep-fried breaded stuffing balls 

Using any of my bread stuffing recipes, most often made for stuffing poultry, try this interesting way to serve. You can make the stuffing well ahead of time, package in dozen-packs and freeze. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and proceed when ready to finish.

Initially divide the prepared stuffing mix into equal size balls, perhaps by using an ice cream scoop. Pack the stuffing with your hands into firm balls. You don’t want the balls to fall apart in the deep fryer.

Gently roll the balls in sifted seasoned all-purpose flour, then in egg wash. Next, roll the balls in coarse semolina flour or in fresh homemade coarse white breadcrumbs.

You could flavour the breadcrumbs with a tablespoon or two of dust-like ground fresh nuts. Walnuts, almonds or pistachio nuts whizzed quickly in your small kitchen machine work.

You could finely whiz-grind candied citrus rinds from your pantry sugar jar storage and mix a little with the breadcrumbs. This finishing touch is especially good if you have cranberries in your stuffing (in the black-olive bread stuffing). Creates a nice flavour marriage.

Deep-fry the bread stuffing balls in Mazola Corn Oil at 350 F just until the coating turns golden.

These treats are wonderful to add to your “watch the game” plates of goodies. They will just disappear.

Maybe add to a platter of holiday turkey balls as a side dish or add to your giant pig in a blanket plate. If so, maybe sprinkle a little poultry seasoning into your bread stuffing balls before shaping into balls or season the all-purpose flour with just a little poultry seasoning.

© “From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks” | Turning everyday meal making into a Gourmet Experience

The working title for Carolyne’s Gourmet Recipes cookbook is From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks. This kitchen-friendly doyenne has been honoured and referred to as the grande dame of executive real estate in her market area during her 35-year career. She taught gourmet cooking in the mid-70s and wrote a weekly newspaper cooking column, long before gourmet was popular as it is today. Her ebook, Gourmet Cooking - at Home with Carolyne is available here for $5.99 US. Email Carolyne.


  1. This is reasonably priced meat and for the price you can feed several people by preparing two pork loins – preferably don’t buy large ones; sounds a similar recipe, but is actually quite different. This pork cut actually is often on sale.

    Stock up then, freeze and you will always be ready for a fast meal, as the loins thaw quickly. It’s helpful to remove the silver skin before the loin thaws completely. Easier to handle.

    You can even cut the loin in several thin pieces, sliced on the diagonal, just before completely thawed, and sauté just once over lightly in sizzling butter treating it as an instant pan-fry. You could even add the pork loin sautéed pieces to my Peas in Cream Sauce.

    But this additional puff pastry recipe below offers a great secondary way to prepare pork loin in puff pastry.

    Pork en Puff

    Start by marinating a medium pork loin (see my bell pepper marinade recipe). Sear all sides of the marinated pork loin in sizzling unsalted butter. Remove pan from heat and let the loin rest.

    Cut the pork loin in one and a half inch pieces. Start by cutting the loin in half. Then cut each half in half again. Repeat.

    The meat is not cooked, just seared on surface. Use a very sharp thin-blade knife.

    Prepare a few sheets of readymade frozen store-bought butter puff pastry, smearing each sheet in-between with brushed unsalted butter. You will have to move quickly.

    Sprinkle the pastry with a light layer of fresh, coarse, homemade breadcrumbs the way you do when making strudel. This helps to prevent the pastry from getting soggy. Lay the cut pork loin lengthwise on the buttered pastry sheets.

    Between each pork loin coin, in position on the pastry, place a cognac marinated split black mission fig from your marinating jar. Choose figs that are still quite solid. The garlic bits in the pork loin really go wonderfully well with the brandied figs.

    Wrap the pastry around the pork loin reconstructed and tuck in the ends of the pastry. Cover with a clean cotton kitchen tea towel (not terry towel). Refrigerate for about twenty minutes in coldest part of your fridge.

    Paint the pastry with egg wash just when ready to go into the preheated oven, to help the pastry brown beautifully.

    Bake in a preheated 400 F oven on a parchment-lined sheet pan, until the pastry turns golden. Perhaps for fifteen minutes. The meat should still be pink inside but cooked; there’s very little moisture in pork loin.

    While the loin enclosed pastry log is baking, reheat the searing sauté pan and add a little cold butter to the hot pan. Using the marinated bell peppers, onions, and lemon, cook till mashable. Mash the pan-served veggies and put into a waiting dish.

    Deglaze the hot butter-stained sauté pan with a half cup of brandy. I use Asbach Uralt, but use your favourite. The bouquet is amazing. Scrape the pan to get any stuck on bits. Reduce just a little. Salt, pepper and a sprinkle of sweet paprika.

    Add a cup of half and half cream and reduce to thicken. Add back the mashed marinating veggies. Sprinkle with thyme, a little nutmeg, and a quarter cup of fresh basil chiffonade (or use the fresh freeze-dried LiteHouse Brand bottled basil from Germany). Add a quarter cup of chopped fresh parsley or again use the fresh freeze-dried LiteHouse Brand bottled parsley from Germany. Their amazing products really are like fresh.

    Pour the sauce into a gravy boat, ideally with its own saucer and little ladle. Use a rubber spatula so as not to miss a drop of the terrific sauce

    Remove the pastry log from the oven and only let rest about five minutes. Cut the pastry wrapped pork loin in half, and each half in half again. Serves four.

    If you have a BBQ, prepare ahead of time, while the puff pastry log is in the fridge, a generous tinfoil package of sliced potatoes and onions to serve alongside the pastry wrapped pork loin for a terrific accompaniment.

    You could always serve with my special whipped mashed potatoes.

    This combination will stand up well to my wonderful Caesar Salad, served to end the main course. The French often serve salad after the main course. The idea never really caught on in North America.

    If you must have a dessert, a Bing Cherry Clafouti will be appreciated. You can use drained tinned bing cherries. Delicious, warm and easy to digest, the Clafouti can bake while you enjoy your meal. You might want to marinate the bing cherries in Offley Ruby Port ahead of time.

    Simply butter individual au gratin dishes. Place bing cherries on bottom of each dish. Sprinkle with sugar. Add a quarter cup of minced citrus from your pantry candied citrus sugar jar. Take sugar from there, too. Add a quarter cup of shelled fresh green pistachios.

    Pour your favourite crepe batter over top of the fruit. Set the timer on your smart phone and bake for twenty minutes on middle oven rack at 375 F.

    When cool enough to serve warm, dust with sieved icing sugar, and maybe add a spoon of homemade bing cherry ice cream from your freezer, or use my (always in the freezer) plum jam figgy frozen cream balls.

    NOTE ALTERNATE: You could substitute brandy marinated black mission figs from your refrigerated jar, and drizzle with congealed figgy jus when ready to serve. Perhaps add a dollop of Chantilly Cream.

    I’m thinking a Chianti might enhance all the mixed flavours. Choose your favourite.

    © “From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks”
    Turning everyday meal making into a Gourmet Experience

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