Egg Puff Pastry Squares with Cheddar and Green Harissa
Delicious and flaky egg puff pastry squares filled with roasted bell pepper, cheddar cheese, and spicy green harissa. Once baked, they're topped with diced avocado, green onion, and fresh cilantro. These elegant breakfast pastries are spicy, flavorful, and sure to impress! Note: I recommend using Dufour and Pepperidge Farm brand puff pastry sheets. From my experience, Trader Joe’s frozen puff pastry does not rise nearly as high. If you do not feel like roasting peppers from scratch, feel free to substitute with jarred roasted red peppers (however, they are not as tasty!).
Roasted Bell Peppers:
3-4red or yellow bell peppersroughly ¾ lb
extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
1large eggplus 1 teaspoon of water
Puff Pastry Squares:
2sheetsfrozen puff pastry, thawedI recommend Dufour or Pepperidge Farm brand
Roast Peppers: Preheat the oven broiler to high. Lightly coat the bell peppers with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the peppers, uncovered, on a half sheet pan. Broil the peppers for 12 to 18 minutes, flipping them several times, until they are blackened on all sides. Remove from the oven and place in a large bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the peppers to sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Once the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel and slice in half, discarding the seeds and stems, and slice the peppers into thin strips. Set aside.
Prepare Egg Wash: Whisk together the egg and 1 teaspoon cold water in a small bowl. Set aside.
Prepare and Pre-Bake Puff Pastry Squares: Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C) with a rack in the center position. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.
Remove one sheet of thawed puff pastry from the fridge and place on a lightly floured counter top. Using a pastry (non-fluted) cutter or very sharp knife, cut the pastry sheet into four equal-sized squares. Cut the pastry as cleanly as possible with one stroke - this will help ensure the edges rise properly during baking. Place the puff pastry squares onto the lined baking sheet and refrigerate while you work with the remaining sheet of thawed puff pastry.
Remove the remaining sheet of puff pastry from the fridge and place on a lightly floured counter top. Repeat the previous step, cutting the pastry sheet into four equal squares. Working with one square at a time and using a pastry cutter or knife, cut a square within each pastry square, so that you create a ¾-inch wide border square (see photos in article above for demonstration). Discard or re-freeze the inner puff pastry square (layer between pieces of parchment paper and cover very tightly with plastic wrap). Repeat with the remaining squares.
Remove the first set of puff pastry squares from the fridge. Lightly brush the tops with egg wash. Place a puff pastry square border directly on top of each square, so that the borders line up evenly - the egg wash will act as a glue. Brush the top border and edges with egg wash. Repeat until all puff pastry squares have been assembled.
Using a fork, dock the inside portion of each pastry square (do not dock the border) - docking will prevent the inside from rising as high as the sides, thus creating a well for adding our ingredients. Place the puff pastry squares in the refrigerator to chill for an additional 10 minutes. During this time, assemble the remaining filling ingredients.
Remove the puff pastry from the fridge. Bake the empty pastry shells until the puff pastry is lightly golden brown, about 12 to 14 minutes. Remove from the oven, set pan on a cooling rack, and allow them to cool slightly. Reduce the oven heat to 400°F (204°C)
Add Fillings and Final Bake: Using a spoon or your fingertips, lightly press the inside of each puff pastry square to deflate the layer slightly, creating a deeper well. Spread the green harissa evenly onto the bottom of each well with the back of a metal spoon or off-set spatula. Distribute the grated cheese evenly inside the square and add the roasted red pepper strips, placing them along the edges of the inside of each well.
Carefully crack an egg into the center of each puff pastry square. Lightly season with salt. Bake at 400°F (204°C) until the egg whites are just set (but the yolk is soft to touch), about 12 to 16 minutes.
Remove from the oven and garnish each pastry with diced avocado, green onions, and fresh cilantro leaves. Serve immediately.
Tips for Success:
I recommend using Dufour and Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets. From my experience, Trader Joe’s frozen puff pastry does not rise nearly as high. If you do not feel like roasting peppers from scratch, feel free to substitute with jarred roasted red peppers (however, they are not as tasty!).
Mina Harissa is available at Whole Foods and other grocery store locations, and can also be ordered online on Amazon.