Friday, July 6, 2007
I've decided that "Pillows" are my signature dish. I did some experimenting this Fourth of July, thinking I'd monitor reactions on the party guinea pigs. Well, that didn't work out because they all disappeared the moment I set them down! I'll take that as a good sign.
I experimented with my very first whole wheat pastry crust, and it's delicious. I prefer it with the savory pillows, but I think extra sugar on top would make a difference on the sweet.
These are really easy to make, and easy to experiment with. The fillings need some tweaking, I admit. As usual, I didn't find the EXACT ingredients I wanted; our little grocery store didn't have Greek feta, so I was forced to try Mexican feta, which is incredibly bland, and not feta like at all.
Also, the ricotta and sour cream blend was delicious, but wasn't as flavorful as I would have liked.
But aren't they ADORABLE?!
Start with two batches of whole wheat pastry dough (one batch makes about 13 Pillows, so if its for a party, two batches will make enough for everyone.) I made each batch separately (rather than doubling the recipe, then splitting it) - but I'm sure it would work either way.
Whole Wheat Pastry Dough
7 Tabs butter (I used salted)
1 1/4 C. whole wheat pastry flour
1/8 tsp. salt
2-3 Tabs. ice water
Start with very cold butter (I stuck mine in the freezer for a while). Have your ice-water at the ready. Add flour and salt to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Add butter one Tab at a time, and pulse processor until the butter is incorporated, and crumbled into pea sized bits. Add ice water one Tab at a time, pulsing, until the dough starts combining and forming a ball.
Remove dough from processor, shape into a ball, then wrap in cellophane, and pat into a disc shape. Refrigerate for about a half an hour.
Roll out flat until about 1/8 inch thickness. Using a cutter, cup, martini shaker, or whatever you have on hand, cut into discs about 4 inches in diameter. Each batch makes about 13 discs.
Spinach and Feta Filling
2 cups frozen spinach (I used bag variety, but the packaged type would do)
1 1/2 cup feta cheese (give or take, separated)
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook spinach in microwave (or stovetop) until tender. Drain, and squeeze out as much water as you can. Add 1 cup of feta cheese (setting aside 1/2 cup) to spinach, stirring together with a fork (not too blended).
Spinach Feta Pillows
1 egg white (beat gently with a fork)
1 Tab kosher or sea salt
Place a pinch of plain feta cheese in the upper half of a dough disc. Spoon about a tablespoon of spinach and feta mixture on top, then fold disc in half. Seal edge by dipping a fork into egg white, and pressing fork around the edges.
Once all pillows are assembled, brush the top of each with egg white, and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Blueberry Ricotta Filling
1-2 cups frozen blueberries
1/2 cup sugar (separated)
2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup sour cream (optional)
Place frozen blueberries in a bowl and stir in 1/4 cup sugar, until blueberries are coated. Combine ricotta and sour cream. Add half of blueberry mixture, and stir until combined, gently squeezing juice from berries.
Blueberry Ricotta Pillows
1 egg white
1-2 Tab sugar
Taking one dough disc at a time, spoon a small amount of ricotta mixture into the upper half of the disc, then add about 1/2 Tab blueberries, then fold disc in half. Dip fork into egg white, and seal the edges as above. Pierce the top of each pillow a few times with a toothpick or skewer, brush the tops with egg white, then sprinkle sugar on top. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.