Pastry pinwheels are party food par excellence: simple, easy to customise and happy to sit in the fridge until required, so all you have to do on the big day is shove the tray in the oven and endeavour not to forget about it. I’ve given a few filling ideas below, but really, just about anything is better wrapped in pastry.
Prep 25 min
Chill 1 hr 10 min
Cook 20 min
Makes About 16
For the rough puff pastry (or use 500g ready-made puff pastry)
225g plain flour
225g very cold butter
1 egg, beaten with a very little water
For the snail butter filling
3 plump garlic cloves, peeled
100g butter, softened
Salt and pepper
For the cheese and Marmite filling
100g finely grated mimolette, red leicester or other hard cheese
2-3tbsp Marmite (or similar), to taste
For the spiced sugar filling
4 tbsp sugar (whatever kind you like)
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1 clove, ground
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
This is a busy time of year, and no one would think any the less of you for buying ready-made pastry, but the rough puff below is considerably less faff than proper puff. If you’re using a block of the bought stuff, make sure it’s fridge cold before rolling it out. (Conversely, I find the ready-rolled stuff easier to work with if it’s not fridge cold.)
To make the pastry, sift the flour and a generous pinch of salt on to a cold surface. Cut the butter into roughly 1cm cubes, then gently squidge them into the flour mix – the aim here is not to mix them completely into crumbs, but to end up with small lumps of butter coated in flour. Like its name, the pastry should look rough, rather than sandy.
Sprinkle a little cold water over the top of the butter and flour mixture and stir it in. Repeat until the mix just comes together, adding as little water as you can get away with while still producing a coherent dough – it shouldn’t feel sticky, but neither should it shed flour when moved.
Shape the dough into a rectangle, working the pastry as little as possible to limit gluten development (which will make it tough), then wrap well and chill for 20 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into a rectangle that’s roughly the thickness of a £1 coin (about 3mm).
Fold the top third of the pastry rectangle down into the middle, and the bottom third up over it, as if folding a letter, so you’re left with a rectangle with three layers of pastry.
Give the dough a quarter turn, repeat the folding process once more, then wrap and chill for another 20 minutes. Leave the work surface floured for the moment (if practical).
Meanwhile, prepare the fillings. For the snail butter, roughly chop the parsley and garlic, put them in a food processor and whizz until very finely chopped. Add the softened butter and mix again until you have a soft, vibrant green butter, then season to taste. (You can make this in advance, but make sure it’s spreadable before use.)
For the cheese and Marmite pinwheels, finely grate the cheese and set aside 15g.
If making the spiced sugar, stir together all the ingredients: don’t worry if you don’t have all the spices, and make substitutions (ground ginger, cardamom, etc) to taste.
Roll the dough into a roughly 3mm-thick rectangle again. Neaten the edges, and spread your choice of filling (in this case, snail butter, but if it’s Marmite, add that first, followed by 85g of grated cheese) spreading evenly over the surface, leaving about 1cm clear around the edges.
Working from one long side, roll up the pastry tightly into a sausage, place it seam side down on a floured work surface and cut into roughly 2cm rounds.
Divide the rounds between two lined baking trays, spacing them well apart, and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (or, covered, for up to 24 hours).
Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Brush the tops with egg and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden and crisp – if you’re making the Marmite and cheddar version, scatter over the reserved 15g cheese five minutes before the end of the cooking time. However you’ve filled them, serve the pinwheels while they’re still warm.