Ricotta and Spinach Puff Pastry (Tarte Soleil | Holiday Appetizer)
This ricotta and spinach puff pastry tarte soleil combines just a handful of ingredients, simple prep, a flexible cheese, and spinach filling, and is perfect for serving as a holiday appetizer for Christmas or New Year's Eve as well as at potlucks, picnics, and dinner parties! Gluten-free and vegan options included!
Using a plate or wide bowl (around 10-12-inch wide), cut out circles from both puff pastry sheets. Keep what will be your bottom piece on the parchment paper the pastry comes rolled in and sprinkle it with breadcrumbs.If the puff pastry isn't rolled out, first roll it out to ¼-inch thickness. You can use the scraps to make extra pastries or to cut into decorations for the spinach ricotta puff pastry (for example, cut into bows, leaves, berries, etc.)
Step 2: Prepare the Spinach Ricotta Filling
Start by cooking the spinach. You can either steam, boil, or sauté it until tender. Then allow it to cool slightly and squeeze out all the excess liquid (either by hand, in a nut milk bag, or pressing through a strainer).If you're using frozen spinach, allow it to thaw and squeeze out all the excess liquid. Save the removed liquid to add to smoothies, juices, soups, and stews.
Then roughly chop it into smaller pieces (to easily combine with the cheese).
In a large bowl or a blender/food processor, combine the spinach with the ricotta cheese, 2/3 of the parmesan, and the egg (if used). Then add the salt, pepper, and dried herbs. And mix/blend once more to distribute.
Step 3: Assemble the Ricotta Spinach Puff Pastry Pie
Use a small bowl to gently score your bottom layer of puff pastry directly in the center (this will be the middle of the tarte soleil).
Leaving about ½ in from the outside of the pastry circle, add a thick 2-inch rope of filling, keeping enough to pile within the marked area in the center of the pastry (use the images on the blog post for guidance).Don't worry if there's some filling left; this can fill the pastry scraps or for several other uses (read the Notes section).
Once filled, top the filling with the remaining parmesan and a liberal sprinkle of breadcrumbs and lightly brush the exposed bits of dough with a tiny amount of water.
Lay the second sheet of puff pastry over the first. Use the small bowl to help seal the center filling in place (I also used a fork to prod around this part), and then use a fork to crimp and seal the outer edges of the spinach pastry.
Step 4: Chill and Twist the Spinach Tarte Soleil
Transfer the ricotta spinach pie puff pastry to the fridge to chill for 20 minutes (this will make it easier to shape the "rays" of the tarte soleil).
Once chilled, remove the spinach pie puff pastry from the fridge and place it on a baking tray for the next steps. Preheat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC.
Brush with the egg wash (while messy, it's best to do this now as it becomes trickier once the spinach ricotta tarte soleil is shaped).
Cutting just short of the center circle of the pastry, make slices every 2 inches or so to cut out the pastry sun's rays. I ended up with 15.If you want it to be a bit more precise, you can use a ruler (this way, you'll get 16, slightly smaller twists). First, use the ruler to slice four equal quadrants. Then place the ruler in the middle of those sections and slice, and repeat once more. Voila, 16 pieces.
Finally, twist each "ray" 90-degrees so the filling is facing upwards. If any of the ends seem loose, pinch them together more.
Step 5: Bake the Spinach Pie Puff Pastry
Transfer the cheesy spinach pastry to the oven to bake at 350ºF/180ºC for between 30-40 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and crisp. Then remove from the oven and serve!
Ensure you thoroughly drain the spinach: it will make your pastry soggy if it's wet. If, after squeezing, it still seems quite wet, you can place it in a saucepan/skillet over low-medium heat to cook off the remaining liquid.
Don’t skip the chilling stage: not only does this make it easier to shape the pastry twists, but the dough needs to be chilled when going in the oven for the best results. If it’s a very warm day, you may even benefit from chilling it once more after shaping the twists.
Roll out any seams: even when using pre-rolled pastry, it's best to gently roll/smooth and seams/cracks in the pastry so it doesn't crack in the oven.
Create a "half and half" filled pastry: simply use one filling on one half of the tart and one on the other.
Check the blog post for lots of optional add-ins, alternative fillings, and answers to top FAQs!