(Little Turnovers of Candied Spinach, Almonds and Citron)
Makes 50 turnovers.
The filling and pastry can each be made 1 day ahead. Cover both and refrigerate. The pastries are best eaten within a few days of baking. Store them in a sealed tin. They also freeze well. Rid them of any sogginess after defrosting by crisping them in a 400-degree oven about 10 minutes before serving.
2-1/2 cups (10 ounces) cake flour
2-1/4 cups (9 ounces) all-purpose unbleached flour (organic preferred)
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
Pinch of salt
1 cup plus 4 tablespoons (10 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2 to 5 tablespoons dry white wine
1 large egg, beaten
12 ounces fresh spinach, trimmed
1-1/3 cups (9-1/2 ounces) sugar
1 teaspoon dark rum
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) blanched almonds, toasted and finely chopped
Generous 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup (1-1/2 ounces) candied citron, finely minced
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup sugar
Making the pastry in a food processor: Combine the flours, sugar and salt in a food processor. Process a few seconds. Add the butter, processing until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Blend together 2 tablespoons of the wine and the egg, processing with the on/off pulse only until the dough begins to gather into small crumbs. If it is too dry to be gathered into a small ball, sprinkle with another tablespoon or two of wine and process a few seconds. Wrap, and chill 30 minutes or as long as 24 hours.
Cooking the spinach: Fill a sink with cold water, and rinse the spinach well. Measure the sugar into a 4- or 6-quart pot. Lift the spinach out of the water and transfer it right to the pot. Set the pot, uncovered, over high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 to 8 minutes. The spinach should be wilted but still bright green. Set a colander in a bowl and drain the spinach, reserving its cooking liquid. Set the spinach aside to cool. Once it is cool, squeeze out the excess moisture and finely chop.
Making the filling: Turn the spinach cooking liquid back into the spinach cooking pot and set it over high heat. Boil, uncovered, 8 to 10 minutes, or until the bubbles are big and shiny. This means that virtually all the water has evaporated and now the sugar is liquified and boiling on its own. This liquid will be pale celery green in color and will thicken. Turn off the heat.
Put the chopped spinach in the bowl that held the cooking liquid. Pour in the hot syrup from the pot, taking care that it does not spatter. Let the mixture cool. Then stir in the rum, almonds, spices, citron and vanilla.
Shaping and baking: Have a small bowl of water handy. Use the 1/2 tablespoon butter to grease a large baking sheet (or use parchment paper or a silpat).
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Generously flour a work surface, and roll out half the dough to a little less than 1/8-inch thick. (In humid weather, roll the dough out between sheets of wax paper.) Cut it into rounds with a 3-1/2-inch fluted biscuit cutter or a glass. If time allows, chill the rounds 30 minutes before filling them.
Dip your finger in the water and moisten the edges of the rounds. Place a generous teaspoonful of filling in the center of each round. Fold the dough over so it forms a half moon, and seal the edges.
Set the crescents on the baking sheet. Brush the pastries with beaten egg and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake in the center of the oven 25 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Cool the pastries on a rack, and repeat with the remaining dough.
Serve the pastries with a sweet wine, like Malvasia or a Moscato d’Asti, or with coffee.
Per serving: 149 calories; 7 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 42 percent calories from fat); 20 g carbohydrates; 21 mg cholesterol; 15 mg sodium; 2 g protein; 1 g fiber.