A savoury plait – once you practice the technique, you can fill the pastry with all sorts of savoury fillings – sausage meat, mushroom… You could also sprinkle some poppy seeds over the pastry to finish. Smoked bacon is delicious added to the spinach if you are not strictly vegetarian.
500g tender leaf spinach, washed
1 tbsp olive oil
200g ricotta cheese (or crumbled feta)
¼ tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
225g ready rolled puff pastry (rolled into a 20cm x 28cm rectangle)
salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 egg, lightly whisked
Preheat oven to 200ºC.
- Wash the spinach and with the moisture still clinging to the leaves, wilt in a saucepan. Squeeze any excess moisture from the spinach.
- In a heavy based frying pan, heat the olive oil and sweat the onions for 10 minutes until softened.
- Mix the ricotta and onion through the spinach. Season well with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Set aside to cool (if the filling is hot it will tear the pastry).
- Lay the pastry on a sheet of parchment paper placed onto a baking sheet. Leaving a 3cm gap at the short ends of the pastry and 6cm on either side, spoon the cooled spinach filling in a mound down the centre, lengthways.
- From the outer edges of the pastry, cut 2cm wide strips diagonally inwards, but not actually as far as the central column. To make the plait, fold the top and bottom edges over the filling, then alternately from either side fold in each strip over the filling to create a lattice effect (where the pastry strips meet in the middle, dab with water to seal them together). Lastly, brush egg all over the pastry and bake in the oven for 30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and risen.