Kaili loves to cook—from comfort food to fine cuisine—and was the recipient of a silver medal in a food and wine matching competition.
Puff Pastry Is Surprisingly Easy to Work With
Puff pastry—or is it puffed pastry?
It doesn’t matter what you call it; who doesn’t love this stuff? Puff pastry is easier to work with than you might think and is so very versatile. If you keep some frozen on hand, you can whip up these easy and delicious appetizers on fairly short notice.
You will probably find that there are a few different brands of puff pastry available in your grocer’s frozen food section. Some come in sheets that are pre-rolled and wrapped in parchment paper, while others are cellophane-wrapped blocks that you have to roll out yourself with a rolling pin. Both are easy to use and just require thawing in the fridge. My personal preference is to use the pre-rolled ones. The bonus is that you can use the parchment paper they are wrapped in to line your baking sheet.
Tips for Making Puff Pastry Pinwheels
- The pre-packaged pastry says you need to thaw it overnight in the fridge, but it doesn’t take nearly that long. A few hours usually does the trick, especially if you remove it from the box. You can also set it on the counter to thaw, but check it to ensure it isn't getting too warm (see point 2 below).
- The trick to working with puff pastry if you haven’t used it before is to keep it as cold as possible until you put it in the oven. Try to work quickly so it doesn’t warm up. Otherwise, the fat in it will slowly melt, and you will end up with a soggy pastry instead of a nice and puffy one.
- After you roll up the "jellyroll," put it in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes to cool down. This makes slicing the pastry into pinwheels much easier.
- These pinwheels don’t reheat well, so best to serve them right out of the oven. You probably won't have any leftovers anyway!
Ready? Let's get cooking!
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
Each sheet of pastry yields @ a dozen pinwheels
Ingredients for Pesto Puff Pastry Pinwheels
- 1 package frozen puff pastry
- 1 package pesto sauce
- 1/4 cup sharp cheese like romano, grated
- Preheat your oven to 375°F.
- Sprinkle a little all-purpose flour on your work surface and smooth it around with the palm of your hand. Then take a sheet of pre-rolled puff pastry from the box and lay it flat on the dusted surface. If you are using the puff pastry that needs to be rolled, dust your rolling pin with a little flour, too, and then roll the pastry in both directions to widen and lengthen the dough into a rectangle. The finished product should measure about 10X15 inches (this is the size of the Pepperidge Farm® frozen sheets).
- Spread some of your yummiest pesto over the entire sheet of pastry, and then grate the sharp cheese on top. You want it thick enough to cover the pastry but not so thick that it is sloppy or difficult to roll.
- Starting at the end closest to you, roll the pastry up tightly jellyroll style, and then cut it into slices, about 3/4” thick each. Lay the slices on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and pop the cookie sheet into the fridge right away until you are ready to bake them.
- Bake for about 15–18 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Remove right away to a serving platter.
Ingredients for Hazelnut Cilantro Pesto
- 2 tsp. minced garlic
- 1 cup of roasted hazelnuts
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, well-packed
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- Process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. You may want to add a little more oil to make spreading easier depending on how dry the mixture is.
- Spread on top of pastry, season with salt and pepper and roll tightly.
- Cut and bake as above.
Stand back and watch these disappear! This hazelnut cilantro pesto is also fabulous with oysters!
Blue Cheese and Prosciutto Pinwheels
Proceed as above to prepare the pastry. Crumble softened blue cheese over top of the pastry, then top with strips of prosciutto. Cut into slices and bake as above.
- Tip: You can buy prosciutto “ends” from your butcher that are a fraction of the cost of freshly-sliced prosciutto.
- Tip: Try drizzling a little sourwood honey over these while they are hot—delicious!
Other Puff Pastry Pinwheel Ideas
Green Onion Pinwheels
For enough filling for one sheet of pastry, cook 2 minced green onions in 1 tablespoon of oil until they are soft. Cool and then spread over the puff pastry. Top with cheese if you like. Roll up and cook as above.