A couple important things – not to overcook the scallops OR to undercook the puff pastry. Striking the balance meant watching the oven often. There was more of a concern making the mini-pie than the mini-muffins – because in the latter case you do want to make sure that the scallops and spinach are indeed cooked.
I prefer Dufour’s puff pastry to Pepperidge Farm’s brand, simply due to taste. I find there’s something “off” in the flavor of the latter.
Use what is called “dry” scallops. These are ones that have not been injected with water (so they can make more money as water adds to weight). The texture will be better. You may have to trust your fishmonger/source, or know from past experience.
I lack certain implements most bakers own. Instead of a rolling pin, I find an old wine bottle works just as well. I have had old long condiment bottles or oil bottles that can also be pressed (ahem) into service. I also don’t have cut-out devices for shaping the circles one cuts the pastry into. So I check to see what’s appropriately circular in the kitchen – for the mini-muffins I used a drinking glass for the bottoms, and a half pint mason jar for the tops. For the mini pies, I looked to my soup bowls (and used the mini pie container itself to measure the tops. I don’t own a pastry brush for the egg wash, but a basting brush works just as well. In fact, I think they’re the same things, simply with different labels, so that home cooks buy both…
Prep Time: about 20-30 minutes.
Cook Time: 25 – 40 minutes, depending on style - appetizer or mini-pie.
Rest Time: 10-15 minutes.
Serves: as an appetizer using the mini-muffins, depends. As a mini-pie, one per person.
Leftovers: You can and I did, but there may be some loss of texture. Use the oven not the microwave, for re-heating.
Puff Pastry Greek Style Scallops
For the Stuffing:
- 10 ounces / 283 grams frozen chopped spinach, thawed and forcibly strained of water through a sieve.
- 1/2 pound / grams fresh “dry” scallops, minced coarsely. Either sea or bay.
- 1 small and optional mini bell pepper, de-seeded and minced. Go for something colorful, if using.
- 1 scallion / green onion, diced.
- 2 ounces feta, chopped and crumbled
- 2 tablespoons plain quality yogurt
- 1/2 tablespoon rinsed and drained capers.
- 5 or 6 mint leaves, chopped. (I’d add a few more…)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano. Heaping, if desired.
- Ground pepper and salt to taste. (I didn’t bother with salt, but that’s me. Feta has salt.)
- At least one puff pastry sheet, thawed – Dufour come as one large one so cut that in half. Pepperidge farm has two smaller ones per package. Refreeze excess.
- Flour to dust worksurface with.
- Oil to coat cooking surfaces (interiors of muffin or mini-pie tins.
- Optional egg to make an egg wash – for the egg wash mix the raw egg with about half again the amount of water.
Pre-heat the oven to 375 F / C. Oil the appropriate cooking pans.
Putting some flour upon your work surface, spread that out and then lay down your puff pastry. Give yourself plenty of room for expansion.
Take your rolling pin (er, bottle) and roll the layer out, one direction then the other. Press down, roll thin, and try to make it all the same thin level of “thickness”. Add more flour as needed, flip the layer, and know your pin or bottle will get floured, as well.
Make your circles – note discussion just before the recipe proper. Your dough should come out of the objects you’ve used to make them with fair ease. Tuck the larger (bottom) circles into the muffin slots or into the mini pie pans, and bring them to the top of the vertical (or sloped-vertical) area. Which should ALL be oiled nicely.
Fill each shell with stuffing just near to the top. While you should not overstuff, you don’t have to worry about under-stuffing them, as the stuffing won’t rise.
Place the smaller pastry circles (caps?) atop each muffin or pie, and pinch them to the underlayer which for the most part should be sticking out a bit.
Use the egg wash – a light coating using your pastry/basting brush.
For the mini-muffins:
Stick them in the oven and cook for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Remove muffin pan from oven and rest on a rack until cooler, say by 10 minutes. Remove each muffin from the pan now, as this is the best time for it to come out easily. I used the bottom end of a spoon or fork, which in my flatware collection, curves a bit inwards. In all cases, these will be best if eaten immediately.
PS. with the amount of stuffing in the recipe above, you should be able to make an entire tray of 24 mini-muffins. Or 8-10 regular muffins – but for both of these you may need more of your package of puff pastry…
For the mini-pies:
Place the prepared pies on a baking sheet, just simply in case there’s any overspill. Place in over and bake for 35 -40 minutes, or until browned but not deeply so, on top. These can be darker than the mini-muffins, to insure cook-through, but not remotely blackened. Note that not all ovens are accurate, temperature wise, so watch towards the end and adjust.
Remove baking pan from oven, and rest the mini-pies on a rack for around 15 minutes. You can serve these IN the pan, or remove for serving. Best if eaten immediately after the cool-down period. A whole package of Dufours pastry dough should make 5 or 6 mini pies, but I’d guess you can get 3 mini pies worth of stuffing from the above stuffing portion of the recipe. Thus, double for six. (It’s a crust vs innards ratio as these things get larger.)