Puff Pastry Parcels of Perfection!
These Spinach and Ricotta Parcels came about this week for two reasons. Firstly, there is that insane need to create, freeze and store as much food as possible in the weeks preceding Christmas, regardless of how many people I am expecting to come through my door. Secondly, after a shopping trip last weekend, returning famished at lunch, I pulled out some and Lamb and Fetta Sausage Rolls out of the freezer and came across some Spinach Parcels bought from the supermarket. Yum I thought. WRONG!! There was no green in sight and the pastry was a disappointing glug. So after a trip to Costco resulting in a massive amount of ricotta cheese (and pesto, and pretzels and the list goes on..) I decided to make them myself. Quality control for the control freak.
I found this recipe from Recipe Tin Eats and truthfully, anything that Nagi makes looks delicious. Could I leave it alone though? Come on; do you not know me at all yet?? I love the look and shape of these parcels, and was only mildly freaked out about using frozen spinach. (NB – frozen spinach actually compares favourably nutritionally to fresh spinach and is vastly more convenient to store a large quantity. It also cuts out a step, but please feel free to steam drain and chop fresh spinach if this is your heart’s desire) I changed up the sort of cheese included and added in some fresh dill which really had an impact. WOW!
So to making the Spinach and Ricotta parcels. Take two sheets of puff pastry from the freezer and place on the bench to defrost while you make the filling. While you are getting yourself organised, lightly grease some muffin trays as well. In a bowl, combine the ricotta (fresh is best but use a tub if you have to!) grated cheddar and parmesan cheese. Defrost the spinach and squeeze out all the excess moisture. Add to the cheeses along with an egg, the chopped fresh dill, some salt and pepper and nutmeg.
How gorgeous does that look! By now your puff pastry will be thawed, so cut into 9 squares and place into the muffin tin. (great job if you have little helpers)
Spoon the spinach mixture into the pastry, being careful not to overfill – about a tablespoon is enough and will make about 18.
Fold over the edges of the pastry to make a little parcel, pressing gently in the centre. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with poppy seeds (or sesame seeds, or leave plain- up to you)
Bake in a moderate oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
Not bad for a first attempt – a little rustic looking, but the taste! Divine! Crisp, crunchy pastry with a creamy spinach filling and a real punch from the fresh herbs. can’t wait to experiment with other herbs as well – perhaps some basil next time. After tasting a few, the rest have been popped into the freezer, a standby for unexpected guests or a quick and delicious lunch during this busy season.
Happy Happy Christmas ! Looking forward to a great 2017 !
- 200g ricotta
- ½ cup grated cheese, such as cheddar
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese, finale grated
- 250g frozen spinach, defrosted and excess moisture squeezed out.
- 1 tbs fresh dill, finely chopped
- salt and pepper
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 2 sheets of puff pastry
- extra egg for egg wash
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease muffin tins (or line with paper). Place puff pastry on bench to allow to thaw.
- Place ricotta, drained spinach, parmesan, cheddar, dill, nutmeg and egg in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine well.
- Cut the pastry sheets into 9 squares, and place each square into a muffin hole. Divide spinach filling evenly between pastry, being careful not to overfill. Fold over edges of pastry to form a parcel, brush with egg wash and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
- If freezing, allow to cool completely and place in a container, separating with baking paper