The husband is usually generous when it comes to sharing homemade food with friends. But not this one because he claims he can clean it all up, and I believe so. Ever since I started making the spinach, ham and cheese tart weeks ago, he had asked for it every subsequent week. Sometimes even proactively substantiated as to why I should.
He is right. I should make this more often as it keeps his stomach happily occupied for several meals; he doesn’t get sick of it; I don’t have to cook that often; it is not messy at all; he simply microwaves it and washes up later. This works perfectly especially on evenings when I have French lessons.
Besides, it can be made well in advance, cooled and cut into 1-inch squares, arranged on a platter which only needs to be kept warm till guest arrival.
Makes one 11 × 14 inch tart
1.5 cups béchamel sauce
2 sheets puff pastry, store-bought (I use Pepperidge Farm’s), thawed
10 slices turkey bacon
20 slices turkey ham
1 can fresh-cut spinach leaves, drained very well
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1. Prepare béchamel sauce and let it cool to room temperature.
2. Preheat oven to 400F/200C.
3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the first sheet of puff pastry to a 10" × 13" rectangle. Normally I would use the 11" × 14" roasting pan and roll the pastry to an inch all-round larger than the pan. Lay the pastry sheet on the parchment-lined baking sheet (or roasting pan, in my case).
4. Flour the surface and roll out the second pastry sheet only to the size of the pan.
6. Top the turkey bacon with turkey ham followed by the spinach leaves. Gently pull the entangled leaves apart to spread across the area (ie. excluding the border). Then, grab handfuls of the shredded cheddar cheese and spread them all over as well.
7. Give the béchamel sauce a good stir in the saucepan and pour it, in a small stream, all over the area.
9. Finally, brush the top surface of the tart with egg and make little vents across. I do this by holding my smallest knife upright, poking it through the pastry and gently turning the knife left right twice.
10. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Leave the tart to cool before cutting especially if it is meant to be served as finger food for parties. The puffed up pastry flakes very easily when it is cut hot.
Lastly, I hope you find time to try making one, and even make your own version of it. Takes a bit more time at first but practice makes perfect!