Yes, you could ham it up. Or break out the fancy quiche, the cheese soufflés, the make-ahead French toast. There’s no wrong way to Easter. But you know what your family (especially the little bunnies) wants this year? Their own individual rabbit-bedecked pot pies. And wait! It’s SO much easier than it looks.
You can pull this off. You can! We know you’re looking at that puff pastry and thinking some dark thoughts, but it’s pre-made frozen puff pastry. You can cut cute little bunnies out of it with a couple of biscuit cutters and a small, sharp knife. Also, the hands-on time for this recipe is a mere 30 minutes. So break out the ramekins; you’re golden.
Best of all? These are precisely the flavors you’re craving this time of year: Gruyère, tarragon, peas, potato and a bit of ham. Like leek-potato soup or anything with favas or morels, it’s precisely the way to welcome spring and celebrate the bounty of the holiday. Welcome, spring.
Ham and Gruyère Pot Pies
Here we put a fun springtime spin on the classic pot pie, filling them with ham, potatoes and peas and topping them with adorable puff pastry bunnies. Perfect for Easter dinner and other spring gatherings, these individual pies will be a hit with kids and adults alike. After cutting out the frozen puff pastry squares and bunnies, be sure to refrigerate them until you are ready to start assembling the pot pies.
• 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
• 2 packages (each 14 oz./440 g) all-butter frozen puff pastry, such as Dufour, thawed
• 8 Tbs. (1 stick) (4 oz./125 g) unsalted butter
• 4 cups (32 fl. oz./1 l) milk
• 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
• 2 celery stalks, chopped
• 1 Yukon Gold potato, about 5 oz. (155 g), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch (6-mm) cubes
• 1/2 lb. (250 g) boneless ham, cut into 1/4-inch (6-mm) cubes
• 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g) fresh or thawed frozen peas
• 3/4 cup (3 oz./90 g) shredded Gruyère cheese
• 2 Tbs. chopped fresh tarragon
• Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
• 1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. water
- Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- On a lightly floured surface, unfold 1 puff pastry sheet and, using a paring knife, cut into six 5-inch squares. Transfer to a prepared baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to use.
- To create the bunnies, on the floured surface, unfold the remaining puff pastry sheet. Using a 1-inch (2.5-cm) round biscuit cutter, cut out 6 rounds for the bodies. Using a 3/4-inch (2-cm) biscuit cutter, cut out 6 rounds for the heads. Using a sharp knife, cut out 12 pointed oval shapes, each 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) long, for the ears, and cut out six 1/8-inch (3-mm) circles for the tails. Transfer all of the cutouts to the other prepared baking sheet. If desired, to add detail to the bunnies, use a sharp knife to score the ears, tracing an oval about 1/4 inch (6 mm) from the edge of the pastry. Score a small crescent shape on each of the heads to form an eye. Refrigerate the pastry until ready to use.
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture smells fragrant and nutty, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking until smooth, and bring to a gentle boil. Add the onion, celery, potato and ham and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat, add the peas, cheese and tarragon and stir until the cheese is melted. Return the pan to medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened slightly and the vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and a generous amount of pepper.
- Divide the filling among six 6-oz. (180-ml) ovenproof bowls or ramekins and place on a baking sheet. Brush the rims of the bowls with water. Place 1 puff pastry square on top of each bowl, pressing gently on the edges. Brush the surface of the pastry with some of the egg wash. Arrange the puff pastry cutouts to form a bunny on top of each pastry square. Brush the bunnies with egg wash.
- Bake until the pastry is puffed and golden brown and the filling is bubbling, about 20 minutes. Let the pot pies rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serves 6.