Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Appetizer Recipe

Last week for Christmas Eve I had a small piece of puff pastry leftover from making the little wrapped Smokies. I used a little leftover melted butter from making the Spanakopita, leftover grated cheese, cracked pepper and sea salt. It was a quick and simple recipe I just threw together; the best kind. I didn't write anything down for amounts; I was just using up a little of this and that. They were fantastic.

Pepper Cheese Spirals
Last night I decided to make these again, using a whole sheet of puff pastry dough and this time writing down the amounts for what I did. I love pepper a lot. My Dad always used a fair amount of pepper on things, like eggs for example. One time my Mom had an accident while making spaghetti sauce. The pepper shaker she was using had a loose lid. With one good shake the lid fell off into the pot, and all the pepper followed. Mom was mortified. She tried to scoop as much out as possible, but lots remained. We all thought it was the best spaghetti sauce, ever. So, okay, I really love pepper, and maybe a whole lot more than most folks. I still think these little pastries are so very worth trying. There is a definite kick, due to the amount of pepper used. I like to use a very good quality of pepper; usually Tellicherry peppercorns from Penzey's. Do not even try this recipe if using store bought pre-ground pepper. It doesn't taste like pepper and would ruin the flavor. 

For your next party, give these a try, because it is too easy not to. They are delicious and quick and can easily be made ahead, then reheated briefly just before serving. Store them in a tightly sealed container.

Pepper and Cheese Spirals

          Lots of Pepper             |  Slide slices off knife to pan
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely ground good-quality peppercorns
1 1/2 cups Three Cheese Italian Blend grated cheese,
OR freshly grated Parmesan, Pecorino or Asiago
3/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt, preferably Palm Island Red
1/2 cup chopped nuts or pine nuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a floured surface, roll out the puff pastry sheet to about 18 inches long, one direction only, keeping a long edge close to you. Brush the surface with the melted butter, which helps the pepper adhere. Avoid getting butter or any ingredients on the last half inch of dough on the long side farthest from you. Sprinkle on the pepper as evenly as possible. Evenly strew on the grated cheese, then sprinkle on the salt. Roll up the dough from the long side, dampening that last bare half inch with water to seal the edge. Cut in 1/4 inch thick slices with a large knife, using the knife as a spatula to transfer the little roll to a greased baking sheet without losing all the filling. Space them at least an inch apart or more if possible.

Bake the spirals for about 15 minutes, or until nicely golden and puffed. Makes about 36 pieces, approximately 2 1/2 inches in diameter.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website, on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.