Whole Wheat Spinach-Feta Tart

January 17, 2023
1 Ratings
Photo by MJ Kroeger
  • Prep time 1 hour
  • Cook time 25 minutes
  • Serves 6 to 10
Author Notes

While savory tarts seem like an obvious choice for an hors d'oeuvre or appetizer, this recipe also makes a fabulous lunch served alongside a fresh salad, or even a nice breakfast for when entertaining a crowd.

An impressively flaky whole wheat base gives a sturdy base to the creamy spinach filling, while crumbles of feta add saltiness and preserved lemon lends a subtle citrus kick. The whole wheat crust is easy to make: the dough gets quick lamination by being rolled out, cut into quarters, and stacked to create a series of buttery layers. But, don’t be intimidated by the extra steps! Once you nail this technique, this dough can be used in many applications including other tarts, pot pies, and even turnovers. The whole wheat flour adds a subtle nuttiness but doesn’t overpower the pastry, which remains rich and buttery.

The filling employs a simple béchamel sauce—a traditional French white sauce made by adding milk to a roux of butter and flour, making for a thick and silky texture—to add creaminess and protect the spinach from drying out in the oven. This sauce gets added to thawed, frozen spinach, chopped preserved lemon, and crumbled feta before being spread over the pastry. Frozen spinach is not required in this recipe, but it’s a welcome shortcut. 1 small (5 oz) box or bag of spinach can also be used, it will simply need to be briefly cooked before being added to the filling.

I have directed to roll this dough out in two pieces to make two long, thin tarts—this is to help ensure the best crust to filling ratio—so every slice gets a nice bite of flaky pastry. For a bigger crust ratio, consider making six individual-sized mini tarts.
Zola Gregory

What You'll Need
  • Whole Wheat Pastry
  • 3/4 cup (95 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (90 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 10 tablespoons (140 grams) unsalted butter, cold, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • Spinach Filling
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 5 ounces frozen spinach (half of a 10 ounce bag), defrosted
  • 3 ounces feta cheese (a generous ½ cup), crumbled, divided
  • 1 tablespoon tablespoon finely chopped preserved lemon (about ¼ of a medium lemon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  1. Make the dough: Combine all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir briefly to combine. Add the butter slices and toss to coat them in flour. Working quickly to keep the butter cold, use your fingers to squish the butter into large, flat flakes, until no large chunks remain. Add the water all at once and toss the mixture with your hands until rags of dough begin to form. Lightly press the mixture into a rough disk shape and place it onto a clean, flat, lightly floured surface.
  2. Roll the dough into a 9-inch square. It may still be shaggy at this point and not totally cohesive, just do your best. Cut the square into equal quarters and stack them on top of each other. Make sure to brush excess flour off the dough before stacking it so the dough sticks to itself. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Once the dough is chilled, roll it again into a 9-inch square, cut it into quarters, and stack the pieces on top of each other. Repeat this process one more time. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic once more and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.
  3. Make the filling: Place thawed spinach in a strainer and press to release as much water as you can before adding to a medium mixing bowl. To the same bowl add half of the crumbled feta as well as the preserved lemon, pepper, salt, and red pepper flakes. Place a small saucepan over medium-high heat and add the butter. Once the butter is melted add the flour and whisk constantly for about 2 minutes; the mixture will sizzle a bit, but don’t let it brown. Carefully begin to stream in the milk a little at a time—it will bubble dramatically at first—whisking constantly all the while. Once all the milk has been added, continue whisking until the mixture comes to a boil, then transfer it to the bowl with the rest of the filling ingredients. Stir to combine then set aside to cool while the dough is rolled out.
  4. Heat the oven to 400°F. Divide the dough into two rectangles. Working with one at a time, roll each piece into an 11x6 inch rectangle. Trim all the sides sparingly and then transfer the dough rectangles to a large, parchment lined sheet pan. Prick each rectangle with a fork. Top the dough with the filling mixture, making sure to leave a ½ inch border of pastry around the edges. Sprinkle the remaining feta over the filling. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the pastry is deep golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature. This tart is best eaten the day it's made but will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat refrigerated tarts in a 400°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes for best texture.

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