Savoury Cheese & Spinach Pastries


This recipe makes use of a special, artisinal ingredient: quark cheese. This soft, smooth, unripened cheese tastes like a cross between Greek yogurt and cream cheese. It does not have a strong pronounced flavour, rather it has a light creamy, and slightly cheesy taste, very similar to cottage or ricotta cheeses. Paired with spinach and wrapped in a golden crust, these pastries are perfect for breakfast, brunch or for an indulgent snack!


Servings: 12 pastries

Difficulty: Easy

Prep Time:  10 minutes   |   Cook Time: 30 minutes   |   Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 10 cups spinach, uncooked
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup quark cheese
  • Flour, for dusting
  • 1 package puff pastry (normally comes with 2 sheets)
  • 1 egg, beaten

Directions:

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the spinach leaves to the pan and cook until the leaves are wilted and fully cooked (3-4 minutes). Remove the spinach from the pan and place in a strainer. Let the spinach cool for 5 minutes, or until you are able to handle them. Press the spinach leaves in the strainer so that the water from the leaves drains out. You want to get most of the water out of the spinach so that the pastries don’t get soggy when you bake them! Once the spinach has been rung out, roughly chop the leaves and set aside.

In the same pan, add the oil, then add chopped shallots and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the spinach back to the pan and mix to combine. Add the white wine, salt and pepper and mix to combine again. Cook for 2-3 minutes until all the white wine has cooked off and there is no liquid left. Place the spinach mixture into a bowl and let cool completely before filling the pastries.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Lightly flour your work surface and a rolling pin with flour. Working quickly, remove the puff pastry from the fridge and unwrap. You have to move quickly here so that the puff pastry doesn’t get warm (if it gets warm, it won’t puff up in the oven properly)! Place the puff pastry on top of the flour and roll out the pastry dough to be 10×14 inches. Cut the dough into six even pieces (see below). Repeat with the other piece of puff pastry.

Top each piece of pastry with 1 heaping tablespoon of quark cheese and spread it out a bit. Top with the divided spinach mixture. Fold the opposing corners of each pastry in to the center of the pastry to seal in the cheese and spinach filling. This will create a pastry looking like a diamond shape (see below). Repeat and place each of the pastries on a parchment lined baking tray.

Again, working quickly, brush each of the pastries with egg using a pastry brush. Make sure to brush all the dough with the egg so that it gets nice and brown when baked. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 18-22 minutes. The cooking time of the pastries will vary depending on the brand of puff pastry you buy, so adjust accordingly to the brand you use, or bake until the pastries are golden brown.

Once fully cooked, remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool for 10 minutes. Once cooled, plate the pastries and serve!

Enjoy!