Here’s your holiday centerpiece, looking gorgeous and tasting festive and scrumptious. I’ve taken as many shortcuts here as possible to make your holiday cooking easier. Of course, you can buy your own greens, cook them, and chop them. And you can slice your own mushrooms. But if you’re like me, you’ve seen more than enough of your kitchen lately. There are also fancier ways of wrapping the puff pastry, but I’d have had to post a video. As spectacular as it looks, this celebratory treat is easy and almost foolproof to make. There’s room alongside to roast some vegetables with it. This recipe can easily be doubled to use the other sheet of puff pastry in the box.

Ingredients:

1 sheet puff pastry (half of a 17.65-ounce box)

1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach

1 tablespoon neutral oil

½ sweet white onion, diced

½ red bell pepper, diced

8 ounces sliced button mushrooms

3 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

2 teaspoon flour

3 ounces nondairy shredded cheese or diced cheese slices

Directions:

  1. Tear off a sheet of parchment large enough to cover a sheet pan. Lay it on your work surface and thaw the puff pastry on it according to package directions.
  2. While the pastry is thawing, make the filling. Thaw out the frozen spinach in your microwave, drain it well, and try to press out most of the water using a kitchen towel or paper towels.
  3. In a sauté pan, heat the oil and add the onions, bell pepper, mushrooms, and garlic. Salt lightly. Cook and stir on medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the chopped spinach and stir until you’ve broken up any clumps of spinach. Taste for salt and pepper. Dust with flour and stir. Mix in the cheese. Set aside to cool slightly.
  4. Roll out the sheet of puff pastry on the parchment until it measures 10X12 inches. You may want to dust with a tiny bit of flour to make the job easier.
  5. Place the filling on the lower edge of the puff pastry, along the longer dimension, leaving an inch bare at each side and at the bottom. Use your hands to squeeze and compress the filling into a cylinder shape. Brush the edges of the pastry with a little water. Bring the back part of the pastry up and over the filling until it meets up with the front edge. You may have to stretch it slightly. Press down along all three edges with your fingers to seal them, then use the tines of a fork to seal it even more. Be careful not to tear the pastry! It’s okay if it’s not perfect. Once it puffs, everything will even out. Just be sure it’s sealed all around to prevent leakage.
  6. Carefully slide the sheet of parchment onto the sheet pan. Brush the top of the log with a little nondairy milk and make six or seven shallow diagonal cuts on the top to help release steam. A sprinkle of flaky sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a sprig of fresh rosemary add a nice finishing touch. I oiled some carrots and red onion wedges and added them to the pan.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes and watch the magic happen. Cool slightly before serving.

Wendy Andresen lives in Camden with her husband, Ray; her Sheltie, Sunshine; and her bunny, Rustle. She welcomes responses to her column at wendyandrayzer@yahoo.com.