Spinach Tart

Shape this appetizer tart freehand on a baking sheet for a casual, country-style look; for a chic, uptown spin, use a tart pan.



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Ingredients
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    1  11  ounce package 
    piecrust mix (for 2 crusts)
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    2   tablespoons 
    snipped fresh herb or 2 teaspoons dried herb (such as tarragon, thyme, basil, oregano, or marjoram)
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    10   ounces 
    torn fresh spinach
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    1  8  ounce package 
    reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel), softened
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    1/4  cup 
    light dairy sour cream
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    2 - 4   
    cloves garlic, minced
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    1/4  teaspoon 
    salt
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    1/4  teaspoon 
    pepper
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    1/2  cup 
    chopped water chestnuts
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    1   
    beaten egg
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    1   tablespoon 
    water
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    Fresh French wild asparagus or fresh dill (optional)

Directions
1.
Prepare piecrust mix according to package directions, except add 1 tablespoon of the fresh herb or 1 teaspoon of the dried herb to dry ingredients. Divide pastry in half. Form each half into a ball.
2.
For filling, add spinach to 1 inch of boiling water in a large saucepan; cover and steam for 2 to 4 minutes or just until limp. Drain thoroughly, squeezing out excess water.
3.
In a medium mixing bowl stir together cream cheese, sour cream, garlic, salt, pepper, and remaining fresh herb or dried herb. Stir in the spinach and water chestnuts.
For a free-form shape:

1.
On a lightly floured surface, flatten each ball of dough with hands. Roll dough from center to edges, forming two circles about 10 inches in diameter. Trim each to a 9-1/2-inch circle, reserving trimmings for pastry cutouts. Transfer one pastry round to a baking sheet; spread spinach filling onto pastry to within 1/2 inch of edge. Moisten edge with water. Top with remaining pastry round; seal and flute edges. Use the back of a knife to make scallops around the edge. Cut slits in top to allow steam to escape. If desired, use hors'oeuvres cutters or a sharp knife to cut pastry trimmings into tiny shapes. To attach pastry cutouts, combine beaten egg with water and brush atop crust. Place cutouts atop brushed surface.
To prepare in a tart pan:

1.
On a lightly floured surface, flatten each ball of dough with hands. Roll dough from center to edges, forming two circles about 12 inches in diameter. Transfer one circle to an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom; spread with spinach filling. Moisten edge with water. Place remaining pastry circle atop filling. Trim edges, reserving trimmings for pastry cutouts. Seal and flute edges. Cut slits in top to allow steam to escape. If desired, use hors'oeuvres cutters or a sharp knife to cut pastry trimmings into tiny shapes. To attach pastry cutouts, combine beaten egg with water and brush atop crust. Place cutouts atop brushed surface.
2.
Brush any remaining egg mixture onto pastry. Bake in a 425 degree F. oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Serve warm. Garnish with fresh French wild asparagus or fresh dill, if desired. To serve, cut tart into narrow wedges. Makes 12 appetizer servings.
Make Ahead Tip
  • Prepare and bake as above. Cool at room temperature for 2 hours. Cover and chill for up to 24 hours. To reheat chilled tart, cover loosely with foil. Heat in a 350 degree F. oven about 20 minutes or until warm.
Nutrition information
Per Serving: cal. (kcal) 240, Fat, total (g) 17, chol. (mg) 33, sat. fat (g) 6, carb. (g) 17, fiber (g) 1, pro. (g) 5, vit. A (RE) 196, vit. C (mg) 1, sodium (mg) 231, calcium (mg) 30, iron (mg) 2, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
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