If you grow zucchini or know anyone who does, chances are you have a few hanging around in your fridge, or you stashed bags of grated zucchini in your freezer. Or maybe you’ll want to put your coat on and run to the store right now because this is now my official, absolute, no-holds-barred favorite zucchini recipe!
Granted, the flaky pastry might have something to do with my passion for these little puffs (you could probably fill them with cat food and I’d still love them), but the cheesy zucchini filling was so savory and delectable that I was hooked with one bite.
I considered adding ham, onions, olives, or chopped chicken breast—all of which I think would be delicious, but in this case, I wanted to appreciate the pastries in their simplest form. And I appreciated them a lot. A whole lot.
Rough puff pastry is so easy. It really is! It takes a little time because you chill it several times between the rolling/folding action, but making the dough is simple. You dump flour and salt on a work surface, chop cold butter into it, fold in cold water, and then roll and fold . . . many times. See? Easy and fun!
I make mine the day before because I think it has more flavor that way. Take it out of the fridge to soften 30 minutes before you plan to make the puffs.
Yes, yes, I’m using that potsticker press again. I’m getting a lot of mileage out of that little gadget. If you don’t have one, you can do it the old-fashioned way, with a fork.
And I do want to mention that a few of these will—in spite of your valiant efforts with egg white and potsticker press—ooze. What a horrid word. I tried to find a more appealing description but failed. It’s cheese; it oozes! But you know what? That crispy blob of cheese on the baking sheet is the best part as far as I’m concerned.
|Four-Cheese Zucchini Puffs|| |
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt (add ¼ t additional salt if using unsalted butter)
- 1 cup (2 sticks) COLD butter
- ⅔ cup very cold water
- 1 cup shredded zucchini, firmly packed (about 1 small zucchini)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup shredded fresh parmesan cheese
- 2 ounces cream cheese
- 2 ounces mozzarella (the soft, fresh kind if possible)
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
- ¼ teaspoon herbs de Provence (or herbs of choice)
- Pinch of onion powder
- 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs (I used Panko, but any kind will do.)
- 1 egg white beaten with 1 teaspoon water
- Place flour on work surface. Mix in the salt.
- Cut cold butter into small cubes - about ½ inch square. Chop into flour mixture using a long spatula, knife, or bench scraper. Don't overwork the mixture - you should see chunks of butter larger than a pea.
- Drizzle cold water over flour and butter with one hand while tossing with a spatula in the other hand. Use the spatula to scrape the messy dough into a rectangle about 5" x 8", with the short edge facing you. Lightly flour the work surface as needed.
- Using a rolling pin, press and gently roll until dough is approximately 7" x 10". It will be very crumbly. Don't panic, it will come together! Use a spatula or bench scraper to lift the bottom of the dough so that the bottom edge is two-thirds of the way up. Lift and fold the top down until the top edge is at the bottom. The dough has just been folded into three equal layers. Give it a turn to the left. Repeat three more times. By the last roll and fold, it should look like dough.
- Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Remove dough from refrigerator and repeat the roll/fold/fold/turn procedure three times. Return to refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Again, remove dough from refrigerator and repeat the roll/fold/fold/turn procedure three times. Return to refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to 3 days. (If dough has been chilled for more than 1 hour, let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before making puffs.)
- NOTE: While the dough is chilling you can make the filling and refrigerate it until needed.
- Heat olive oil in a pan on medium-high heat. Add grated zucchini and cook, stirring frequently for 1 minute, or until softened. Remove from heat.
- Add the cheeses. Stir well. If cheese isn't melted, you can heat it on low or simply knead the mixture together. Stir in the seasonings and breadcrumbs. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
- Heat oven to 400 F. Cover two baking sheets with parchment
- With the short end of the dough facing you, and the open edge of dough on the right (like a book), cut across the middle, creating two squares. Working with one at a time on a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a long rectangle, 9" x 21".
- Using a 4-inch cutter, cut 10 circles. Stack scraps flat in a pile and set aside. Place one circle at a time in potsticker press (or leave flat on work surface if using a fork to seal the puffs) and brush a little egg white around the edge. Put 2 level teaspoons of filling in the center and press firmly to close, or use a fork to seal.
- Place at least 1 inch apart on baking sheet. Brush lightly with egg white (a paper towel dipped in the egg white works well) and poke the top of the puff once with a fork.
- Repeat with remaining dough. Roll all of the scraps at once. Cut as many circles as possible and discard the remaining dough. (Or just pile loosely on the baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar before baking!)
- Bake for about 12 minutes, or until puffs are a light golden brown. Move to a cooling rack. Best eaten warm.
I used lots of pictures and probably too many words; making these melt-in-your-mouth treasures is a lot easier than it appears. Remember that if you’re making these for a party or guests, the dough can be made several days ahead of time, making the assembly go very quickly.
I may be adding a couple more zucchini plants to my garden next year. You might want to grow a few too!