This is another dish from our Friday debate party. I was casting around for ideas for a dish and asked Meg (in Paris) to give me some thoughts. She suggested I do a creamed spinach in puff pastry. So I did, and it turned out great.
I did NOT make my own puff pastry for this dish. If you're the enterprising sort, make yourself some 10" or 11" square pieces of puff and then follow the rest of this recipe.
The creamed spinach is derived from a recipe from Robbie's Recipes. I've modified the recipe a lot and had to rescue the sauce as it was originally written so I've presented my version here.
Spinach Puff Pastries
6 puff pastry squares - 10" per side. Usually these are sold in boxes of 2 each.
20 oz. fresh cleaned, de-stemmed, washed spinach
3 tblsp butter
1/4 cup AP flour
1 cup heavy cream
2 cup skim milk
4 oz. raclette cheese or similar soft light yellow cheese, cut in very small chunks for melting
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 small onion minced
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (for topping)
Take you puff pastries out of the freezer at least 30 minutes and no more than one hour before cooking.
Preheat the oven to 375 F, and lightly grease a big cookie sheet with olive oil.
Place the spinach in a large saucepan, adding water to create steam. Cover and let steam until wilted. Drain and set aside.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon over medium heat to make a roux. Whisking constantly, stir in the cream then the chunks of cheese.
Keep whisking until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.
If the sauce breaks and you get what looks like stringy dough in oil, slowly whisk in skim milk, a little at a time, until the sauce returns to a smooth white consistency. Add the spinach, onions, and garlic.
The original recipe calls for sauteeing the onions and garlic, but I find the minced aromatics work better in this recipe if not broken down by anything but a knife's blade.
Heat through, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.
Roll out the pastry dough to reinforce seams from folding. Follow the diagram below for the folding technique:
First, orient the puff pastry square in front of you so it makes a diamond. Place a sixth of the spinach mix in the center of the sheet. Fold in the corners so you make the diamond into a smaller square without rotating it. Next fold in the corners again so you make an even smaller diamond out of the square.
Lightly spray or brush the pastry tops with olive oil and sprinkle Parmesan on top. Transfer to the prepared cookie sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and puffy.
Remove puff to cooling rack and let sit for five minutes before serving. Be careful, the center is really hot. Serves 12 half-puffs as part of a larger dinner or six whole puffs as a main course.