Zucchini & Ricotta Puff Pastry Roses

Earlier this week I saw a picture of little plum cakes that looked like roses. The how-to showed a strip of dough on which the thinly sliced and halved plums were laid out, then rolled up, and after baking they looked like roses.

I didn’t feel like making sweet stuff, so I decided I’d try a savoury version. At which point the lonely zucchini and roll of puff pastry in my fridge came to mind. There was also a tub of ricotta that needed to be used up, so I decided to make zucchini & ricotta puff pastry roses.

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These concoctions need seasoning, live from it actually. I mixed za’atar with olive oil to brush the zucchini before grilling them. As I wanted to stick with one flavour, I also seasoned the ricotta with it. Basically, you can season both with any spice you like, though. Luckily I refrained from adding too much salt, because I decided last minute to add sun-dried tomatoes, and these are quite salty. In fact, I would probably use less of them next time due to their salt content, they not quite but almost dominated taste-wise.

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For the puff pastry strips, I cut them from the short side of the dough roll, and the baked roses were about muffin-sized. You could also cut that strip in half to get fingerfood-sized roses. The ricotta holds the whole thing together pretty well, but to be on the safe side, I stuck a toothpick into each rose to keep it upright on the baking sheet.

All in all, this was quite a good idea. What takes longest is the grilling of the zucchini – which by the way could be replaced by aubergines – , but that can be prepared well ahead. This would be a great addition to a party buffet.

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Zucchini & Ricotta Puff Pastry Roses

1 large zucchini
sun-dried tomatoes
olive oil
150 – 200 g ricotta
freshly ground black pepper
puff pastry
1 egg

Makes about 5 muffin-sized roses

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Cut the zucchini in ½ c thick lengthway slices. Mix olive oil with za’atar, and brush zucchini slices on both sides. Grill in oven at 200°C for about 30 minutes, until the slices are browned. Leave to cool.

Mix the ricotta with about 1½ tsp of za’atar and season with a little salt and freshly ground pepper.

Break the egg into a small bowl and beat well.

Cut the puff pastry into strips cutting along the short side. Width-wise, make them a tad shorter than your widest zucchini slice.Spread the ricotta onto the strip, leaving a ½ cm on one side. The puff pastry strip should be covered but not too thickly. Add as many zucchini slices as fit on your strip, place 1 – 2 sun-dried tomatoes on top, then roll the strip up, starting at the ricotta-covered end and rolling towards the ½ cm you left unspread. If necessary, secure with a toothpick, and place on a baking paper-covered baking sheet.

Brush the sides of the puff pastry roses with the beaten egg.

Transfer to oven and bake at 180°C fan oven (or 200°C non-fan) for about 30 minutes, checking the colour of the pastry in between.

Can be served plated or as fingerfood.

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