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Handheld Spinach And Feta Tarts Recipe

hand holding puff pastry bite
hand holding puff pastry bite - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

If you love flaky bites loaded with a savory creamy filling, Daily Meal recipe developer Deniz Vergara might have the perfect option for you. These handheld spinach and feta tarts consist of a puff pastry shell stuffed with spinach and three kinds of cheese -- cream cheese, feta, and mozzarella. They look impressive, taste delicious, and as Vergara tells us, "I love how easy this recipe is to make!" With sweet umami notes from sauteed shallots and a subtle kick from red pepper flakes, these mini pastries provide a rich blend of contrasting flavors and textures that makes them the perfect appetizer to serve when you have guests.

If you've never made a recipe with puff pastry, it might seem intimidating. However, unless you're making it from scratch it's not very involved, and premade puff pastry is simple to bake with and produces an impressive result. Vergara notes, "Working with puff pastry is so easy. It creates a light, buttery, and crispy vessel for the salty and tangy filling." If you're not already on board with the classic combo of spinach and feta cheese, these crisp-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside tarts might turn you into a fan.

Read more: 12 Vegetables And Fruits That Used To Look Very Different

Gather The Ingredients For These Handheld Spinach And Feta Tarts

spinach feta pastry tart ingredients
spinach feta pastry tart ingredients - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

For these handheld spinach and feta tarts, start by defrosting a roll of puff pastry. Next, get olive oil, mince a shallot, and grab some baby spinach, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and crushed red pepper (to season and for garnish if desired). Three types of cheese add loads of creamy goodness: cream cheese (cubed), feta (crumbled), and mozzarella (shredded).

Step 1: Preheat The Oven

oven temperature display setting
oven temperature display setting - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Step 2: Prepare The Pan

spraying mini muffin tin pan
spraying mini muffin tin pan - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

Spray a 24 cup mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Step 3: Roll Out The Pastry

rolling puff pastry sheet
rolling puff pastry sheet - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

Roll the puff pastry sheet into a 12 x 8-inch rectangle on a piece of parchment paper.

Step 4: Cut Out The Dough

pastry sheet cut in squares
pastry sheet cut in squares - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

Cut the dough into 24 (2-inch) squares using a pizza cutter.

Step 5: Transfer The Pastry To The Pan

pastry squares in muffin tin
pastry squares in muffin tin - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

Lightly press puff pastry squares into each cup of the prepared mini muffin pan.

Step 6: Prick The Pastry

pricking pastry in muffin tin
pricking pastry in muffin tin - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

Prick each a few times with a toothpick. Set aside.

Step 7: Saute The Shallots

sauteing shallots in pan
sauteing shallots in pan - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and saute the shallots until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.

Step 8: Cook The Spinach

wilted spinach in pan
wilted spinach in pan - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

Add the spinach, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper and mix until the spinach is wilted. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Step 9: Stir In The Cheese

wilted spinach with creamy cheese
wilted spinach with creamy cheese - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

Add the cream cheese, the feta, and the mozzarella and stir until combined.

Step 10: Fill The Pastry

spinach cheese filling in pastry
spinach cheese filling in pastry - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

Spoon the feta-spinach mixture evenly into the cups, filling them about ¾ of the way.

Step 11: Bake The Pastries

spinach feta pastries in oven
spinach feta pastries in oven - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

Bake in the preheated oven until the pastry is puffed and the corners are golden, 12-14 minutes.

Step 12: Cool And Serve The Pastries

spinach feta pastries on plate
spinach feta pastries on plate - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

Cool the baked tarts on a wire rack for 3-4 minutes before serving, garnished with a pinch of crushed red pepper if desired.

What Are Some Tips For Working With Puff Pastry?

holding spinach feta pastry
holding spinach feta pastry - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

Once you get the hang of working with puff pastry it's pretty straightforward, but a few tips will help guarantee your success. You'll notice the recipe calls for defrosted puff pastry. Make sure it is fully thawed to prevent it from tearing when you handle the sheets, but don't let it come to room temperature. The key to flaky pastry layers is to keep the butter cold to prevent it from melting into the rest of the dough. If in doubt, pop the pastry sheets into the fridge to chill them. As the cold pastry bakes in the hot oven, the moisture from the melting butter creates steam that causes flaky layers and puffiness.

Don't forget to prick the puff pastry before adding the filling. "The reason you want to break the dough a little bit is so that air can escape," Vergara explains. Per its name, "the purpose of puff pastry is to puff up, so if you don't prick the bottom, it will puff up too much and disrupt the filling inside." By pricking the pastry you ensure that it can remain flat and leave space for the creamy spinach filling. Meanwhile, the sides will still puff up as desired, giving you that delicious flaky pastry crispiness.

Can You Make Handheld Spinach And Feta Tarts Ahead Of Time?

spinach feta pastries on plate
spinach feta pastries on plate - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

Vergara tells us, "I like to serve these when we are having friends or family over. I recently made these for Christmas Eve as well as my grandma's 95th birthday party and they were a hit." Thanks to the classic combination of flavors, there isn't a wrong time to serve these tarts. "I typically serve these as passed hors d'oeuvres or as an appetizer," Vergara adds. Given their bite-sized format, they're easy to munch on while standing with a glass of wine in your hand.

For convenience and to free you up when entertaining, these tarts can be made ahead of time. "You can definitely freeze these once baked," Vergara confirms. "I would underbake them by a few minutes, cool them completely, and then freeze them in an airtight container." This will ensure they retain their freshly-baked flavor and don't get overbaked the second time around.

Once you're ready to serve these bites, "You can pop them out of the freezer and bake them anytime!" Alternately, store them slightly underbaked in the fridge for up to four days. Vergara notes, "You can store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for four days." Just reheat them in the oven to revive their crispiness.

Handheld Spinach And Feta Tarts Recipe

spinach feta pastries on plate
spinach feta pastries on plate - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

Prep Time: 15mCook Time: 18mYield: 24 TartsIngredients

  • 1 roll puff pastry dough, defrosted

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

  • 1 shallot, minced

  • 5 ounces baby spinach

  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 3 ounces (about ½ cup) cubed cream cheese

  • 3 ounces (about ½ cup) crumbled feta cheese

  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella

Optional Ingredients

  • Extra crushed red pepper to serve

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.

  2. Spray a 24 cup mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.

  3. Roll the puff pastry sheet into a 12 x 8-inch rectangle on a piece of parchment paper.

  4. Cut the dough into 24 (2-inch) squares using a pizza cutter.

  5. Lightly press puff pastry squares into each cup of the prepared mini muffin pan.

  6. Prick each a few times with a toothpick. Set aside.

  7. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and saute the shallots until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.

  8. Add the spinach, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper and mix until the spinach is wilted. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

  9. Add the cream cheese, the feta, and the mozzarella and stir until combined.

  10. Spoon the feta-spinach mixture evenly into the cups, filling them about ¾ of the way.

  11. Bake in the preheated oven until the pastry is puffed and the corners are golden, 12-14 minutes.

  12. Cool the baked tarts on a wire rack for 3-4 minutes before serving, garnished with a pinch of crushed red pepper if desired.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.