My 3 Monsters: Torte Milanese featuring Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry Sheets

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Torte Milanese featuring Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry Sheets

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry.
Hi guys!  Last week I stepped far, far out of my blogging comfort zone and attended a BEAUTIFUL brunch hosted by Laura from Pink Cake Plate and Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry.  It was super fun to meet some other local bloggers {people I follow online, but have not met in real life!}, but the highlight of this amazing event was the puff pastry smorgasbord created by Laura.

Pepperidge Farms Puff Pasty Brunch at /
She made a bunch of dishes for us to try – some savory and some sweet – with Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry.  I think I ate my weight in puff pastry that day because I simply had to try one of everything … for you guys, of course.  Nobly, I took one for the team and downed all this deliciousness. Everything I do, I do for you, my friends!  

Pepperidge Farms Puff Pasty Brunch at /
These Black Current Cheese Pastries were TO DIE FOR.  I’m a sucker for a good, flaky cheese pastry. And those mini Cookies and Cream tarts – Oh. My. Goodness!

Pepperidge Farms Puff Pasty Brunch at /
The talk of the event were these unbelievable woven puff pastry salad bowls Laura created.  Would you believe she said they were not difficult to make?  Me neither, but I saw her step-by-step photos and it really seemed do-able.  The secret is the Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry sheets.  That stuff is incredibly easy to work with – almost fool-proof. {Remember the cheater Pain au Chocolat I made a while back?  Super simple!}  We all got to take a package home to create a “masterpiece” of our own.

Pepperidge Farms Puff Pasty Brunch Recipe - Torte Milanese at /
So, here’s the back story of my recipe.  Years ago, I attended a class at church and learned how to make puff pastry from scratch.  I mean, it was YEARS ago – my now-13-year-old was still a toddler.   It was right before Thanksgiving and I decided to use my new puff-pastry expertise  to make a straight-up, old school Julia Child recipe – Torte Milanese – for Thanksgiving brunch to impress my in-laws.  I followed all the steps – rolling out the dough, measuring the dimensions and thickness, slathering with butter, folding in thirds, chilling and rolling out again . . . and again . . . and again, to create something like 64 layers of pastry and butter.  This would be a much funnier story if I could tell you it was a disaster, but it wasn’t.  It was delightful and delicious.  And I NEVER MADE IT AGAIN. For, like, 12 years, because who has time for alla’ that on a regular basis?! {Sorry, Ms.Julia.}

Pepperidge Farms Puff Pasty Brunch Recipe - Torte Milanese at /
But with Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry sheets, Torte Milanese is actually deceptively simple to make. And dang impressive, to boot.  It’s just layers of scrambled egg, sautéed spinach, roasted red peppers, Gruyere cheese, and ham all wrapped in a flaky puff pastry shell.  But when it’s baked up all golden and beautiful … 

Pepperidge Farms Puff Pasty Brunch Recipe - Torte Milanese at /
… it’s the perfect centerpiece for a brunch spread.  And yummy!  Let’s not forget to talk about how yummy it is.  Julia Child knows her French cuisine, guys. I really like the spinach, red pepper and ham combo of a classic Torte Milanese, but you could totally mix it up, too.  I’m thinking of chorizo, fire roasted chiles, and pepper jack cheese for an Arizona kick, paying homage to our home state.  Or maybe bacon, tomatoes, and sharp cheddar cheese.  Broccoli, cheddar, and chicken for a more dinner version.  It’s hard to see how you could go wrong here!

Torte Milanese 
{serves 10}

12 large eggs
¼ C. milk
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
¼ tsp. black pepper
1 ½ Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 Tbsp, minced shallots
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 9oz. bags fresh spinach
1 jar roasted red peppers
1 pound grated Gruyere cheese
8 oz. thinly sliced good-quality ham
2 packages Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry sheets (4 sheets)
non-stick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Thaw puff pastry according to package directions.  Assemble a 9-inch spring form pan and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Whisk eggs in a large bowl with milk, ½ tsp. kosher salt, and black pepper until well blended.  Melt butter with 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a heavy large non-stick saute pan over medium heat.  Add the egg mixture and cook until no longer runny, but still very moist and creamy.  {The egg will continue to cook and firm up inside the torte so you don’t want it too dry to begin with.}  As the egg cooks, use a spatula to scrape the cooked egg from the bottom and sides of the pan and fold into the rest of the egg mixture. Spoon onto a large plate and allow to cool completely. 

Wipe out your pan and heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil over high heat.  Stir in shallots, garlic, and remaining kosher salt.  Add spinach one handful at a time, stirring to coat spinach with the oil.  Continue until all spinach had been added and is wilted – about 3 minutes.  Place cooked spinach in a colander and set over a bowl to drain.  Once spinach is cool, squeeze it to extract as much liquid as possible so pastry will not get soggy as torte cooks.

Remove roasted red peppers from jar and use paper towels remove as much liquid as possible from them.  Slice into strips.  If you leave them whole they make the torte a little harder to cut and eat.

Roll out 2 sheets of puff pastry to form 2 13x11 inch rectangles.  Overlap long edges slightly and press to seal together.  Transfer pastry to spring form pan.  Press into bottom of pan and smooth up the sides.  Allow excess to hang over the sides of the pan.  {Hint: Sprinkle bottom of pastry shell with parmesan cheese or a few bread crumbs to keep it from getting too soggy.}  Spoon eggs into pastry shell, forming an even layer that reaches all the way to sides of pan.  Sprinkle ¼ of grated cheese over eggs.  Arrange sautéed spinach in a layer on top of cheese.  Sprinkle ¼ of the cheese over the spinach.  Form an even  layer of roasted red pepper strips. Sprinkle with ¼ of cheese.  Cover with the ham and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.  Trim overhanging dough to about ½ inch and fold over on top of filling layers.

Pepperidge Farms Puff Pasty Brunch Recipe - Torte Milanese at /
I was inspired by Laura’s beautiful salad bowls and wanted to try making a basket weave top for my torte. Use a pizza cutter to cut remaining sheets of puff pastry length-wise into ½-inch wide strips.  Lay approx. 8 strips side by side vertically on a lightly floured surface, leaving a small space in between each strip.  Weave remaining strips horizontally over and under the vertical strips to form a basket weave.  Roll lightly over the top of woven strips with rolling pin to make it easier to transfer dough.  Transfer dough to top of torte and trim to fit top of pan.  Press edges gently to seal with dough from sides.  Brush underneath with a little bit of water to help it seal.  To make the edges look a little more finished I used my finger to wet around the perimeter with water and pressed a few of the remaining ½ inch dough strips on top.

Pepperidge Farms Puff Pasty Brunch Recipe - Torte Milanese at /
At this point you’re ready to bake it.  You could brush the top with an egg wash by mixing an egg with about 1 Tbsp. milk and brushing all over top of pastry.  I chose not to do this and it browned up really nicely on its own.  I guess it’s a personal preference.  The egg wash will give it a little bit of a shine.  Bake at 375 degrees for 90 minutes, until deep golden brown.  If the top starts to look too brown, cover with a sheet of foil for remaining cooking time.  Remove from oven. Run a knife around the edge remove spring form pan.  Cool 30 minutes before slicing.  This will prevent the cheese from oozing and help the torte keep its shape when cut.

Pepperidge Farms Puff Pasty Brunch Recipe - Torte Milanese at /
Don’t be intimidated by the length of this recipe.  It really is super easy to make and my family was totally impressed.  Remember it’s been 12 years since I last made this – even my husband only had a sketchy recollection of it!  If you’re preparing your Easter brunch menu, or just want to put a really impressive dinner on the table for your family, give Torte Milanese a try.  {Or head to to find some other amazing dishes!}

Happy Spring, friends!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry.

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