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Mini Spinach Flower Tarts

I brought these pretty and tasty little morsels to a family Christmas party on Saturday night. I made a double batch so that I’d have them in my freezer for the rest of the holiday season, ready to pull out on a moments notice.

spinach flower tart

They were made of necessity, not only the need to bring something to a party, but also the urgency to use over 2 pounds of fresh spinach that I reluctantly had in my refrigerator.

Later in the week, I’ll share a Salmon and Spinach recipe that called for 2 pounds of fresh spinach. The recipe was from my day a Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland and I was sharing it with the students in my cooking class at Les Gourmettes Cooking School here in Phoenix.

2 plus pounds

Anyhow, I was doubling the Salmon recipe to feed sixteen – so according to the recipe, I’d need 4 pounds of spinach. That’s A LOT of spinach. While shopping for the class at Costco, I realized that would have been 4 boxes of Costco baby spinach. I had not realized that each box was 1 pound until I looked, so I cut back and only bought 3 boxes. Well, I didn’t cut back enough! In the end, I did not even use 1 full box of spinach (1 pound) to make the double recipe for the cooking class.

That’s way too much leftover spinach, so this recipe was born out of the wish to not waste food.  If you would rather substitute frozen chopped spinach for the recipe, rest assured, that is perfectly fine. A 10-oz package of frozen spinach is almost the same as 1 pound fresh spinach, once the spinach is cooked.

If you want to be extra smart, like me, make a double batch and freeze for your later entertaining needs.

to freeze

To Freeze: Place the unbaked filled muffin tins in the freezer for at least 3 hours. Once frozen solid, use the tip of a paring knife to pop each mini tart out and place in a freezer quality zip-lock bag. Write on the bag, not only what they are, but also the date and baking directions (Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.)

frozen adn baked

I did a test to see if it was best to bake the frozen tarts in or out of the muffin tins. The good news – you may bake them on a baking sheet, no need to dig out the muffin tins again. In the photo above – the top two were baked on a sheet pan and the bottom two were placed back in the mini muffin tin and baked. Fantastic, they hold their shape!

One more thing…

rolled not folded

Did you know that Trader Joe’s carries puff pastry during the holiday season? Yes, they do and it’s better than the Pepperidge Farm brand that you buy at the grocery store.

PF vs TJ

It actually has real butter in it… unlike that other brand (which is still pretty good stuff) that uses only shortening. Additionally, the TJ’s puff pasty sheets are rolled, whereas the PF sheets are folded in thirds. The rolled sheets are MUCH easier to work with.

I buy not only what I’ll use in December and January but at least another 8 packages to have for the rest of the year. Super Smart!

spinach flower tart

Mini Spinach Flower Tarts

  • 1 pound fresh spinach (or 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced dill
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs, divided
  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry (1 package) thawed and slightly rolled out to a 10″ square

 cooked

If using fresh spinach, place in a large pot and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons water. Cover pot and steam the spinach over medium high heat until wilted, stirring after the first minute or two. Transfer to a strainer and let cool, then using your hands, squeeze spinach until dry, forcing out as much water as possible. Then wrap the spinach in a double layer of paper towels and squeeze some more. If using frozen spinach, squeeze and dry the same way.

If using fresh spinach, place on a cutting board and chop. Frozen spinach is already chopped.

filling stuff

Mix spinach, feta, onion, olive oil, dill, basil and garlic in a medium bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

stir in egg

In a small bowl, beat 1 egg to blend; stir into spinach mixture.

16 squares

Cut puff pastry into four equal 2 ½ -inch long strips from top to bottom. Then cut into 2 ½ -inch squares, by cutting across, for a total of 16 squares from each sheet of puff pastry and a grand total of 32 squares from the two sheets.

Spray mini-muffin tins with Pam.

fill and fold

Place a pastry square in each mini-muffin cup, pressing into bottom and up the sides, leaving the corners pointing up. Divide filling among cups. Fold pastry over filling, making a little “flower.”

egg wash

Spinach flowers may be assembled 3 hours ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Or they may be frozen as described above.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Beat remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water to blend in a small bowl. Brush pastry with egg wash. Bake in preheated oven until pastry is golden brown and puffed, about 25 minutes.

32 flowers

Transfer to a wire rack; let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Run a sharp paring knife around pan edges to loosen; turn out puffs onto rack to cool slightly before serving.

Makes 32


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3 comments

1 Sheila { 12.16.14 at 9:14 AM }

Headed to TJ’s! These look delish

2 Marissa { 12.16.14 at 10:55 AM }

These look delicious! Did I miss Uncle Mike’s Christmas party this year?

3 Linda Hopkins { 12.16.14 at 11:46 AM }

… afraid so. 🙁

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