I was immediately drawn to this recipe when I saw it in the Nov. 2012 issue of Vegetarian Times. These little parcels look extremely yummy and fancy at the same time! I was concerned about where to find vegan puff pastry, however I was thrilled to discover that Tenderflake is dairy-free! So I decided to spend my Friday night attempting this recipe. It was my first time working with puff pastry and I do admit to soliciting the help of my lovely husband in rolling out the dough. Despite this help and given that I do not often work with any kind of pastry, I thought it all went rather well. However I will caution: this recipe takes time. There are multiple steps and things have to cool along the way so if you are planning to make this, plan to set aside about 2.5 hours. The other note I have for this recipe is that the original ingredient list in Vegetarian Times calls for 1 17.3 oz package of puff pastry. The Tenderflake box is just over 14 oz so I opted to buy a second box and use half of it. This worked out well as there was plenty of filling.
1 large head cauliflower, broken into small florets (place about 20 or so of these florets aside)
1 medium onion, sliced
1 1/4 tsp salt
Black pepper to taste
2-3 heads garlic, depending on their size (the original recipe calls for elephant garlic but I used Red Russian from my garden)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1. Toss together all ingredients except the 20 reserved cauliflower florets, the garlic and Worcestershire sauce. Spread on a large baking sheet. Chop the top off the garlic, drizzle with olive oil and wrap in aluminum foil. Place on the baking tray. Roast in a 425-degree oven for 30-45 minutes. Garlic should feel soft.
2. Let the garlic cool slightly and then while it’s still warm, squeeze it out of its wrapping and into the bowl of a food processor. Add the roasted cauliflower and onion. Add the Worcestershire sauce. Pulse until smooth.
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp white wine
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves (chopped if necessary)
Combine all ingredients plus 1/2 cup water and mix until cornstarch dissolves. Set aside.
10 brussels sprouts, cut in half
2 carrots cut into 2-inch long chunks (the original calls for 10 baby carrots cut in half)
10 small button mushrooms, cut in half
6 shallots (I missed this ingredient when I read the recipe so I omitted them and it tasted great so I’d call them optional)
Heat olive oil in a wok and add all ingredients plus the reserved 20 cauliflower florets from Step 1. Fry for about 10 minutes, until veggies start to brown. Add the cornstarch mixture from Step 2 and cook another couple minutes, until most of the liquid is gone. Remove from the heat and cool.
1.5 packages Tenderflake puff pastry
Roll each sheet of puff pastry into a 12-inch square and then cut into 4 squares. Place the sheets on a parchment-lined baking tray (those that don’t fit can go on a plate) and then let the dough rest in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
Once the veggies have cooled, you can start filling the pastry squares. Start with a dollop of the roasted cauliflower/onion mixture and top it with the veggie mixture. Take the four corners of the pastry and bring them to the centre and pinch together to hold. You can see by my photo below that I was semi-successful at this endeavour. Don’t stress too much about it as they will still taste good even if the pastry isn’t perfectly pinched together in the centre. A note: I found it easiest to put all the filling in the pastry squares and then close them all up rather than doing them one at a time. Once they are all closed up, they go back in the fridge, on the parchment-lined baking tray, until you are ready to bake them. I’m not sure how long you can really let them sit but mine rested for about hour and a half.
Bake 12-15 minutes at 425 degrees until they are browned. They will be HOT when they come out of the oven. We all slightly burned our mouths. So don’t worry about serving them straight from the oven; they will hold their warmth for some time. They are big enough to be served as a main course – I think the original intention is for them to be a side dish but I was stuffed after eating just 1 (along with some other side dishes). I think they are a great main dish.