Hello my lovely readers! We are days away from Eid (woohoo!) and that means it is time for Eid Eats, that delicious roundup of Eid recipes. This year it is hosted by My Ninja Naan & Chocolate & Chillies. Do hop over on to their page to check out whats cooking! I have had a bit of a history of bringing desserts to the table. There were the Chocolate Covered Ice Cream Stars, the Coconut Barfi, and the Eid classic of Sheer Khurma. This year I decided to break from tradition and share something that I make for all kinds of parties, not just Eid. This Spinach & Artichoke Puff Pastry Braid is filled with a creamy bechamel filling that has some spice from green chillies, the sweet nubbiness of corn and fantastic flavor all around. It is a cinch to put together with store bought puff pastry dough and looks so pretty on the table. It also meets my two main requirements for a party. One is that the filling can be prepped ahead of time, the second that it reheats beautifully. The Spinach & Artichoke Puff Pastry Braid is versatile in that it's perfect for tea, brunch or even lunch depending on what you serve it with.
Is it just me or does Eid seem to have come upon us with breakneck speed? I usually get fairly sentimental around this time. This year it seems I don't have the time to even do that! Instead I find myself planning my own Eid party, one held upon the insistence of my 6-year old. Her Eid excitement is hard to deny so now I find myself using my time to plan food & favours. While I am scaling back and catering some things there are dishes that I really enjoy making no matter how busy things are. This Spinach & Artichoke Puff Pastry Braid is one of them. The filling is easy and quick enough. Cutting the strips for the braid and then laying them over over another to beautiful effect is pure therapy. The best part is that while on my OCD days I will mark off the strips for precision even when they aren't perfect they are still pretty.
Spinach & Artichoke Puff Pastry Braid
- 2 sheets ready rolled puff pastry thawed
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 3 tablespoons finely diced onions
- 2 cups milk
- 3 green chillies finely diced
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 ounces cream cheese
- ¼ cup monterey jack or other cheese
- 2 - 2 ½ cups chopped fresh spinach
- 1 6 oz jar artichoke hearts drained and chopped tough leaves removed.
- ½ cup sweet corn kernels optional
- ¾ cup cooked chicken small diced or shredded (Optional)
- 1 egg
- Sesame seeds and/or Nigella Seeds
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and add the flour, stirring for two minutes or so on medium heat
- Gradually add the milk, whisking as you go along to avoid clumping
- Add the onion, the green chillies, salt and pepper
- Cook until the bechamel becomes nice and thick
- Dice the cream cheese into cubes and whisk in until incorporated.
- Add the cheese and stir, followed by the spinach, artichokes, and corn (if using). Take off the heat, the spinach will wilt.
- Stir in the chicken if using
- Taste for seasoning - it should taste just a tad salty.
- Let it cool to room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 375 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- Roll your puff pastry sheets out so they're 10*12 inches (they usually come in 10*10)
- Visually split your puff pastry roughly in thirds, keeping the centre strip slightly larger than the others
- Spread 1-1 ½ cup mixture in the centre.
- Cut thin strips into either side of the puff pastry, about a cm wide.
- Fold the strips over to create a braid effect.
- Whisk the egg with a splash of water and spread over top the pastry with a pastry brush
- Sprinkle with the seeds
- Baked for 25-30 minutes until a deep golden
It can also be baked earlier in the day an reheated for a few minutes at 350 in the oven