This recipe is adapted from a couple I have read and one described it best as a “delicious cheese parcel.” Who wouldn’t want to eat that? This is great for a holiday party, especially because you can make them now and freeze them until they are needed.
1 sheet of puffed pastry, thawed
Flour for dusting
3.5 oz. feta, crumbled
1 T. or 1/2 T. whole milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1.5 T. fresh thyme leaves
Thaw the pastry in the fridge all day or set on the counter about an hour before you plan on using it. While it is thawing continue to the next step to make the filling. Blend feta, cream, pepper and 1 T. egg in afood processor until smooth. Then form into 21 balls. Place on a plate and set aside in the fridge to use in a little bit. Roll out pastry into a 14 by 10 inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Trim edges to make a nice rectangle. (A pizza wheel is the perfect tool for this!) Cut pastry lengthwise into 6 equal strips. (Each strip will be a little over 1.5 inches wide) Place strips on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and chill (in freezer or fridge) until cold, about 10 minutes. To assemble the puffs: Lay one strip of dough on the counter and brush the top of it with some beaten egg. Starting about 1/3 inch from the end of the strip, evenly space 7 cheese balls down the center of the strip. Cover with another strip of dough. Press the ends together and then press between balls of filling gently but firmly. (It is basically going to look like a long strip of ravioli that has not been cut into individual squares. You want to firmly seal the dough all around the edges so that the filling does not leak out while baking…but if it does leak some, it still tastes great!) Brush the top with a little more egg and sprinkle with 1/2 T. fresh thyme. Cut between the mounds of filling to form squares and arrange them 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat the process for the remaining strips of dough. Bake in the middle of the oven until puffed and golden, about 12-15 minutes. Serve warm.
Makes 21 appetizers Note: Unbaked pastries can be frozen, wrapped in plastic wrap, for 2 weeks. Thaw in fridge the day you want to cook them.
Tips: Ok, while you are going to this effort, you may as well double the recipe. The feta comes in an 8 oz. container and the pastry comes in boxes of 2 sheets so you will already have the ingredients on hand. I do not use fresh thyme. I just got some dried in my fingers and rubbed it between my fingers to kind of grind it up as I sprinkled it on top. I just used about 1 tsp. total for a double batch. As for the size of the balls you form, Derek says it looks like an average size gumball. Just make 21 or 42 and if you have some left, add it to the ones that look smaller. The dough is much easier to press and seal when it is chilled so you may want to only pull out 2 strips from the freezer at a time to work with. To make the best use of your time, make the balls earlier in the day or the day before. If you are doubling, thaw out dough and cut one into strips. Place that one in the freezer. Then roll out and cut the other sheet. By the time you are done with the 2nd sheet, the first will be ready to assemble. As for storing, go ahead and cut into squares. Make a single row in a container. Lay seran wrap on top, make another layer, more seran wrap, etc. It will keep just fine. I wait and brush the top with egg and sprinkle thyme at the time of baking, but I think it would do fine to go ahead with that step and then freeze if you want to.