Spinach and Feta Pastry Hearts

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These pastry hearts were made in dedication of Galentine’s Day. No, that’s not a typo; the “g” is fully intentional. One of my roommates watches Parks and Recreation, and brought to the house’s attention that Galentine’s Day is indeed a holiday. The day before Valentine’s Day, gals get together to celebrate, well, gals! We hesitated at first about whether we should celebrate the event on Galentine’s Day or push it until the weekend. But hey, everyone needs a break in the middle of the week, right?

Our menu for the evening featured fun interactive foods including snacks, such as chocolate fondue with rice krispies, bananas, sugar cookies, pretzels, marshmallows, and angel food cake for dipping. Crêpes were also on the menu. You could venture down candy lane with fillings of chocolate, nutella, and fruits, or you could swing by savory avenue with thinly sliced ham, turkey, and brie. Delicious right? And of course, we had the spinach and feta pastry hearts, which were a hit!

The evening was a definite success with great food, good company, lots of laughter, and some crafting (we made Valentine’s!) It was wonderful to have a calm gathering with friends, especially in the middle of the week. Everyone needs a break once in a while from school, work, projects, and everything else that we’ve got happening.

Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day or not, you should definitely try these pastry hearts! They taste delicious, with just the right amount of spinach and cheese, and their fun to eat! (Who doesn’t like eating food in fun shapes?) And if hearts just aren’t your thing, try them out with other fun shapes.

Depending on the size of your cookie-cutter, makes about 12-15 hearts.

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Ingredients

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), chilled

8 oz cream cheese

5 tbsp ice water 2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups frozen chopped spinach

1 1/2 cups feta cheese, crumbled

1/2 cup Italian blend shredded cheese

1/2 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic

Pepper to taste Parmesan cheese for sprinkling

1 egg for brushing the dough

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Directions

In a food processor, incorporate the flour, butter, and cream cheese until the mixture resembles coarse crumbles. If you do not have a food processor, cut the butter and cream cheese into cubes before adding them to the flour. Using two knives, “cut” the butter and cream cheese into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbles. (You can use butter knives. Hold a knife in each hand and run the knives through the mixture in opposite directions. Try to cut the cream cheese and butter into tiny bits. At the end you can run through the mixture with a fork).

Add five tablespoons of ice water to the mixture, and mix until a dough begins to form. Do not overwork the dough. Add 1-2 more tbsp of water if necessary. Separate the dough into two balls, and refrigerate for at least 3o minutes before using.

Spinach and Feta Filling

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
  • Heat a few teaspoons of oil in a frying pan, and add the chopped onion. Allow the onion to cook on medium-high heat until translucent. Add 1 1/2 cups of frozen spinach to the pan, along with about 1/2 cup of water. When the spinach is thawed and the water has dissolved, add the chopped garlic cloves, feta, and shredded Italian blend cheese. Cook for about 5 minutes on low-medium heat. Turn heat off and set aside.

Making the hearts

  • Take the two balls of dough out of the refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one ball of dough. Try to roll out the dough fairly thin, since you will be stacking two hearts on top of each other.
  • Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out as many hearts as you can from the dough. Remove the hearts, gather the scraps, and re-roll the remaining dough. Repeat with the second ball of dough.
  • Place the hearts on a baking sheet, or a tray lined with parchment paper. Judge how much spinach and feta filling to add based on the size of your cookie cutter. (The cookie cutter that I used was rather large so I put almost a tablespoon of filling in each heart).
  • Top the spinach and feta filling with another heart. Using a fork, press down the edges of the two hearts.
  • Brush the hearts lightly with the beaten egg, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake the hearts for about 15 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Let them cool for a few minutes before biting into the hearts for a cheesy mouthful of deliciousness and love!

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