Friday, December 30, 2005

Maple feta artichoke puffs

After making the onion dip, I had the uneasy feeling I might not be living up to my "rep" by bringing something so simple, so I decided to dig around the house to see what else I have on hand to bring to the party tonight. I found one sheet of puff pastry, feta, canned artichokes, frozen spinach, and a variety of add-ins. What I came up with was these puff pastry squares, which turned out to be tres yummy!

I find it really hard to make just a tiny bit of anything; I always overestimate how much is needed. One sheet of puff pasty won't make a lot of puffs. So, when it comes time to stuff the pastry squares, we'll see how I did with my estimating.

The ingredients reminded me of everyone's old favorite, the hot artichoke dip. Using those ingredients as my starting point, I crumbled about 2 ounces of feta, and sprinkled on some parmesan cheese, perhaps a tablespoon or a bit less. I used my favorite chopper from Pampered Chef to finely chop a few artichoke hearts and perhaps 1/3 cup of the frozen chopped spinach. I cut the defrosted puff pastry into 16 squares using a fluted pizza cutter, and melted about 1 teaspoon of butter.

Next I added the melted butter to the cheeses and mixed thoroughly.

I tasted the mixture at this point and found it pretty harsh. After some thought, I decided to add some balsamic vinegar, about 1 tablespoon. It was better, but it still needed something. (I wondered whether all this tasting was using up too much filling!) So --- what the heck --- let's try some real maple syrup. About a tablespoon went in and rounded out the flavors very nicely! (I wouldn't try this with the fake maple syrup. If you don't have the real stuff on hand, try adding little bits of honey till you like the taste.)

Now it's time to assemble the puffs. I wet the four edges of a square of puff pastry with a brush dipped in water, put a tiny spoonful of filling on a square ...

... then folded the four corners toward the middle, pinched the open edges together and brushed the top with egg wash (1 egg with about 1 tablespoon water, whisked with a fork).

Repeat for all the others ...

... and, to my surprise, I had exactly the right amount of filling for 17 squares, which meant I got to have a tiny spoonful as a treat! Now that's a happy ending! :o)

I put the squares on a baking sheet lined with unbleached parchment paper, covered them with plastic wrap that I had sprayed with PAM to keep it from sticking, and put it in the refrigerator until time to bake. A couple of hours later, I popped the sheet into a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. The puffs opened slightly at the top, turned golden brown, and didn't last long at the party. And that's a second happy ending. (Sorry, had to rush to the party so I didn't have time to take a picture. You'll have to use your imagination!)

Recipe in printable form


mll said...

You are like some amazing cook!!! I am impressed.

I feel so bad for Simba having to just sit and wait....

PatL said...

Aw, shucks, ma'am, not that amazing!

Don't feel badly for the Simbug. All in all, he's a pretty pampered mutt. I mean, how many dogs do you know who get to fly out the back door doing the most fun thing in the world ... several to many times a day ... with no leash, no fence, just him, the rodents, and the 10-acre forest? And then as he waits to come in, he gets to dream dreams of doggie treats so yummy that they make his mouth water. It's a dog's life, all right! Which is not to say that I don't hurry to let him in when I see him at the back door. But he's doing all right. Stop by some day & ask him, he'll tell ya! :o)