Well, these little pockets of scrumptiousness would have been perfect to bring to holiday parties this year. Sadly, gatherings of any kind (except with people in the same household) have been cancelled in the Bay Area due to the alarming surge of coronavirus cases. As of yesterday, December 18, the entire Bay Area consisting of 11 counties have been placed under stay-at-home order. San Francisco and the county where I live in have been under that order since two weeks ago already. Not having Christmas parties and family gatherings are small sacrifices if it would mean that I will get to see and hug my friends and family again when the pandemic is over.
Enough of sad times…. Although I cannot show these little tarts off at a holiday party this year, there will be next year, God-willing. These little spinach and feta cheese tarts/pockets are so easy to make. Unless you undercook or burn the puff pastry crusts, they are guaranteed to please any cheese lover and foodie. These are perfect accompaniments to wine, bubblies or mocktails. They are so gobbable and poppable in hungry, happy mouths that they will make the perfect appetizers. In my case, they were good enough for my dinner. I brought my team mates the rest and I got text bombs letting me know how much they loved them. The next time I saw them at work, I got a “We are bowing down to you, Chef L!” Now, if that is not proof enough that these tarts are fabulous, I do not know what else! 🙂
SPINACH AND FETA TARTS
*This recipe is for 1 sheet of puff pastry which will make 9 tarts. You may double the recipe if using 2 sheets which will yield 18 mini tarts.
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 12-ounce bag of triple-washed fresh spinach or 10 ounces of frozen spinach (See my notes.)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano or freshly chopped parsley (See my notes.)
- 1 egg, beaten for filling
- Plus 1 egg, beaten for egg wash
- 8 ounces plain or herbed feta cheese, crumbled (See my notes.)
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 sheet (1/2 box) puff pastry
- Cooking spray or melted butter for the muffin pan
TO PREPARE THE SPINACH FETA FILLING
- Preheat the oven to 400º F.
- Grease with butter or spray with cooking spray a regular size muffin tin. (Or use muffin liners, just like what I did.)
- In a large sauté pan over medium heat, cook the garlic until soft, about 3 minutes.
- Add the spinach to the pan and cook for 2 more minutes or until wilted.
- Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.
- Once the spinach has cooled down, add the oregano or parsley, beaten egg, cream cheese, Parmesan cheese and crumbled feta. Mix until incorporated.
- In a small bowl, beat 1 egg. Set aside for egg wash.
TO ASSEMBLE AND BAKE
- Allow the puff pastry to defrost.
- On a lightly floured surface, gently roll out puff pastry sheet.
- Cut the pastry into 9 squares.
- Line muffin tin with the pastry squares.
- Spoon 2 tablespoons of the spinach mixture into each cup.
- Bring the 4 points of the pastry together over the filling like a little pocket. Gently press together to seal. (No need to seal entirely.) Repeat with the remaining puff pastry and filling.
- Brush top with egg wash.
- Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown.
- Let the tarts cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
- To loosen from the muffin tin, gently run knife around the edges to loosen.
- Best served hot out of the oven.
- I used herbed feta cheese instead of adding oregano or parsley to regular feta. They were great flavor-wise and there will be no need to add extra herbs! If you cannot find herbed feta, use plain feta and mix it with oregano or herb of your choice such as parsley.
- I like to cook with fresh spinach. I buy the ones that are triple washed by the bag. You may also use 10 ounces of frozen spinach, thawed and drained.
- I gave these to my team mates the next day. They popped it in the microwave for a minute and they loved it! They wanted more!
- Bacon sounds so yummy in this recipe. We really do not eat pork bacon but we like turkey bacon. I will try to add those next time and will update my blog!