Some sort of creamed vegetable served over puff pastry is a popular first course offering on Spanish menús del día, especially during the winter months. We recently had a meal which featured hojaldre de puerros or leeks over puff pastry. It’s not difficult to make at home thanks to commercially prepared puff pastry.
Puff pastry is used for a variety of sweet and savory dishes. On the sweet side there are fruit tarts and custard pies. On the savory side there are empanadas, a type of hand pie filled with meat, fish or veggies and hojaldres which look a lot like a pot pie. To further confuse things, in the north of Spain an empanada is more like a full sized pie and may be round or square depending on the filling. Not to worry. If you’re travelling and see hojaldre on the menu you’ll know puff pastry is involved.
What we were served was more like a sandwich with puff pastry “bread”. It’s just a matter of cutting the store bought pastry into shapes and baking– unfilled– as directed. You can make the leeks while the pastry bakes or make them ahead of time and reheat before serving.
- Puff pastry cut into 8 squares or other shapes
- 4 leeks, trimmed, washed and cut into small pieces
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- pinch red pepper flake
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup cream or half and half
- Bake the puff pastry according to the directions on the package.
- Meanwhile heat the oil, butter and red pepper flakes in a large skillet over medium high heat.
- Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally until softened.
- Sprinkle the flour over top the leeks and cook a few minutes longer.
- Stir in the cream to make a pan sauce. If too thick, add more cream a tablespoon at a time until you have a consistency you like.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- To serve, arrange a piece of puff pastry on a plate. Spoon some of the creamy leeks over top and cover with another piece.
When we had the creamy leeks in the restaurant, the green part of the leek had been sliced thinly, deep fried and used as a (tasteless) garnish.