Before my family and I changed to a plant-based diet, one of our absolute favorite recipes was the Tuna Puff or others may call it Chicken Pillows. So I decided to come up with a vegan version of one and the ending result being Creamy Spinach Pillows. They turned out better than I actually thought they would :) I tried looking for a vegan croissant brand but I couldn’t find anything like that in this town. So I had to make it from scratch. I’ve never made croissants from scratch in my life so I wanted to be safe and try a trusted recipe for the crust. So I went with Zeke’s Ve-gastronomy. I substituted a few things and steps for my purpose, but followed it for the most part.
Crust (feel free to use a pre-made vegan crust, but this recipe is worth all the hard work)
3 sticks of vegan margarine (1½ cups)
¼ cup flour
2 cup warmed almond milk
2 Tablespoons raw sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons yeast
4 cups flour
1 onion, chopped
3 Tablespoons olive oil
10 ounces spinach
1½ teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon minced garlic
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2½ Tablespoons lemon juice
1 pound extra firm tofu
2 Tablespoons MimicCreme cream substitute
¼ cup bread crumbs
vegan parmesan cheese
Knead margarine with ¼ cup of flour. It’s important to get this mixture smooth, because any chunks of butter will later break through the layers of dough. Form the butter into a 6 x 6 inch square on some foil and put it in the fridge to chill.
In a medium bowl combine almond milk, sugar, salt, yeast, and 4 cups flour. Mix well, knead (adding more flour as needed), put it back in the bowl, cover and refrigerate a few hours.
Begin to prepare the filling by sauteing the onion in the olive until tender. Add spinach, salt, onion powder, garlic, nutmeg, pepper and lemon juice. Saute until spinach is wilted and remove from heat.
In a food processor, blend the tofu and MimicCreme until smooth and creamy. Add spinach mixture to tofu mixture and pulse about 16 times. Remove and place mixture in storage container and fold in bread crumbs. Salt to taste and then refrigerate.
When the margarine mixture has firmed up and the croissant dough has risen almost double in size, you can then remove them from the refrigerator (they should both be about the same consistency). Knead and roll out the dough into a square about twice the size of the margarine and place the margarine on top.
Fold in each corner like you’re wrapping a present. Keeping everything well floured, turn it upside down and start rolling out into a long rectangle, about three times as long as it is wide. If the butter starts squeezing out, everything is too warm and return it to the fridge for a while. If the butter seems too hard and starts breaking through the dough, it’s too cold- let it warm up a bit. Fold in thirds, bringing each end in (like a letter). Again, keeping things well floured roll out again into a rectangle. This time fold into fourths- fold each end to the middle then close the whole thing like a book. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and return to the fridge for an hour.
Unwrap and roll out again into a rectangle. Fold in thirds. Wrap and return in to the fridge for 2 more hours. Unwrap, and roll out into a large rectangle until dough is about ¼ inch thick. Cut into strips with a sharp knife and place them on cookie sheets.
Preheat oven to 350F (177C). Remove filling from fridge and scoop in about ¼ - ½ cup of filling on one half of each strip. Take the side of strip that has no filling and fold over to the side that does. Crimp down on pastry with thumbs sealing off the edges. With both hands take each one and compress them into a pillow shape.
Sprinkle vegan parmesan cheese on top of each pillow and let them rise one last time for 30 minutes.
Bake them for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
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