Monday, March 30, 2009

Spinach in Small Bites

I was amazed by the reception these spinach mini-tarts got. I knew they were good, but I didn't know they were that good! So I'm posting them here, and it's not my recipe and I haven't changed much except to show how to make them minis. Personally, I like the higher crust-to-filling ratio you get from the minis, and they're more fun for parties!

Oh, and I used Martha Stewart's pate brisee instead of the crust in the original recipe, which called for shortening. Shortening weirds me out, and the pate brisee was easy because I've got it committed to memory. I made them in a square tart mini pan with 2-inch wells that's cool because you push up the bottoms for easy extraction.

Mini Spinach & Pine Nut Tarts
Adapted from Emeril's
Pine Nut and Spinach Tart
Half-recipe of Martha Stewart's pate brisee
½ cup pine nuts (about 3 oz)
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
10 oz fresh spinach, stems removed, well rinsed and chopped, or 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove excess liquid
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
3 large eggs
¾ cup heavy cream (I prefer half-and-half in this)
½ cup (about 3 oz) crumbled goat cheese, or feta

Preheat oven to 375°.
Roll out the chilled pate brisee and cut it into 2½-inch squares. Tuck each square into the wells of a mini-tart pan. A little excess riding above the sides of the wells is fine. Lightly wrap a sheet of foil over the top of the pan and bake for 5 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for 5 more. Allow the crusts to cool.

In a dry pan, toast the pine nuts for a few minutes until fragrant. Set the nuts aside. Heat the oil over medium-high heat, then add the onions and cook for 3 minutes. Add the spinach, salt, and pepper and cook the liquid is evaporated, 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool. In a large bowl whisk the eggs and cream (or half-and-half). Stir in the spinach, cheese, and half of the pine nuts. Spoon the filling into the crusts, almost to the top of each, and sprinkle the reserved nuts on top.

Set the pan on a baking sheet to avoid any leakage from dripping in the oven. Bake them for 20 minutes, until golden. When the pan is cool enough to handle, remove the tarts, then repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Makes about 30.

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