March 22, 2014

Ricotta Cheese & Spinach Puff

This recipe is one of many that's been long overdue. When I posted photos of this puff on FB a couple of years back, many of my friends asked for the recipe but I hadn't got the chance to upload it on my blog Procrastination at its finest. Hehe.

I have made these puffs many times for family gatherings and afternoon tea at home. My two year old daughter and husband love them - they're easy to eat! I have also made them three times for my little one's playgroup events. I was delighted to bring home an empty container at the end of each event - it's a good sign; all the pieces were snapped up. I have been asked to share the recipe by some very nice ladies at the playgroup last week. So, that's another push for me to upload the recipe here sooner than later.

What I love abt this puff is that it is on the savory side as opposed to sweet. It contains awesome nutrients (spinach is king!), it's child-friendly and best of all it is so easy to make. I can't wax lyrical abt it without also mentioning that it makes for an impressive and yummy party spread.

1kg ricotta cheese
4 large eggs
1 big red onion (diced)
1 bag baby spinach
6 pastry sheets (follow the packet instruction for thawing)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 egg (lightly whisked with fork, for glazing)

1. Pre-heat oven to 200ÂșC. Line baking tray with parchment paper or lightly spray the tray with cooking oil.

2. Heat olive oil in a small pan. Saute diced onions over medium heat for 5-6 minutes until caramelised. Set aside to cool.

3. Rinse the spinach leaves and place them in a medium bowl. Pour hot water on the spinach to blanch it for abt 1 minute. Drain the water and run cold tap water on the spinach.  Squeeze the leaves to drain off any excess water. The spinach will shrink in size. Chop the leaves into small pieces. Set aside.

4. Lightly whisk 4 eggs with a fork in a large metal bowl. Crumble in the ricotta cheese and mix it well with the eggs.

5. Add the chopped spinach into the mixture and mix all the ingredients.

6. Add the cooled caramelised onions together with the excess oil from the pan. Mix all the ingredients well. Add salt & pepper to taste. The mixture shd be sufficiently moist. If too dry, crack in another egg and mix well.

7. Spread spoonfuls of the cheese mixture onto one pastry sheet. Leave abt 0.5cm allowance on the top of the sheet. Roll the pastry sheet from bottom up, making sure that each roll is abt 3-4cm in height (if too wide, it wont hold the cheese tightly and makes cutting up later more difficult). Wet the top edge with some water and seal the roll. Your roll should be fairly tight. Repeat with the rest of the pastry sheets.

8. Cut up the roll into small sections of abt 6 to 8cm each. Don't be too concerned if the cheese overflows or the rolls are dented (see pic); they'll "reorganize" themselves in the oven. Place the rolls onto a baking tray. Glaze them with the egg mixture and bake for 25mins or until golden brown and the pastry evenly cooked.

[Alternatively, the pastry can be shaped into bite sized triangles or squares instead of a roll].

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