There are two recipes that my mother can count on my brother requesting whenever he is home for the holidays. The first is Chex Party Mix, the seasoned cereal, pretzel, and peanut concoction that goes hand-in-hand with holiday entertaining in America. There is always a big container of this waiting for him when he arrives, and she inevitably needs to make a second batch during his stay.
The second recipe that he requests are her Prosciutto Pinwheels. Since the very first time that my mom prepared these addictive appetizers, they have become a standard in our family. They are all the things that a good bite-sized holiday party appetizer should be: savory, cheesy, and flaky, and I challenge you to eat just one. This is also a recipe in which the end result gives the illusion of being much more difficult to prepare than its actual 20-minute, four ingredient requirement. I would highly recommend that, if you are planning to do some holiday entertaining this year, you consider serving these to your guests. They never disappoint, but they do disappear quickly, so you should also consider a double-batch! Here are some tips for this recipe:
- The pinwheels can be cut into slices and then refrigerated three hours prior to baking, or they can be frozen for up to two weeks. Separate with waxed paper to prevent sticking together. Thaw them prior to baking.
- If you have trouble cutting the rounds (something the dough is too soft or your knife is not sharp enough), stick the rolled-up pastry in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to harden it. Another method that I have tried (I picked this up from Sara Moulton on the Food Network) is to use a piece of string or dental floss to cut the rounds. It slices right through.
- Instead of using provolone, feel free to substitute fontina, Asiago, Parmigiano-Reggiano, mozzarella, or a blend. They usually sell some sort of a "4-cheese Italian" blend in the shredded cheese section at the supermarket.
- It helps to roll the puff pastry out on a floured piece of waxed or parchment paper. This way, you can lift the paper to help guide you when you start rolling. If you find that the dough is sticking to the paper, put it in the freezer for a few minutes. This should help to separate it.
Makes 10-12 Servings
One 17 1/4 ounce box (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, thawed
2/3 cup Dijon mustard, divided
3/4 pound prosciutto, very thinly sliced and divided
2 cups shredded provolone, divided
Preheat the oven to 425F degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with one sheet of the puff pastry and keeping the remaining sheet wrapped and cold, roll the sheet out onto a lightly floured surface to a 14-inch square. Brush it with a thin layer of the Dijon mustard. Cover with half of the prosciutto slices, slightly overlapping and leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edges.
Sprinkle with 1 cup of the shredded cheese. Roll the pastry tightly, from the long side. Pinch the seams to seal and tuck the ends under. Repeat with the remaining pastry sheet. With a sharp knife, cut into 1/2 inch pieces and place, cut side up, 1-inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.
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