A frozen puff pastry recipe idea featuring a cream cheese filling with bacon, Cheddar, chives, and onions. It’s make-ahead and freezer friendly, and absolutely perfect for entertaining!
When it comes to entertaining, let’s face it — it’s really all about the food. And, I can get a little carried away when it comes to designing my menu for upcoming gatherings. I love getting to try out new things on friends and family, and narrowing down the list has just never been a strong suit of mine. In fact, in most cases, my recipe to-do list usually exceeds the time in the day. However, over the years I’ve also picked up a few tricks that enable me to do more than a day’s time will allow.
Make-ahead recipes and ready-made ingredients can be a hostess’s best friend when it comes to entertaining. To be honest, I really don’t use a whole lot of ready-made ingredients and prefer to make most things from scratch. However, when it comes to puff pastry, I am all about the frozen aisle. Easy entertaining requires a few shortcuts, and frozen puff pastry is one I welcome with open arms.
One of my favorite uses for frozen puff pastry is party pinwheels, and in particular, one that is stuffed with a cream cheese filling made up of bacon, cheddar, leeks (or onions) and chives, and they are a hostess’s dream come true.
Not only do they mainly consist of a ready-made ingredient, they are make-ahead as well. Double bonus.
HOW TO MAKE A SAVORY PUFF PASTRY PINWHEEL WITH CREAM CHEESE AND BACON
This recipe can be done over a series of days or just one, whichever works best for your schedule, but it does require some planning for whenever you do plan to make it. You’ll need to allow both time for the puff pastry to thaw and time for your pinwheels to chill before cutting into them.
THAW THE FROZEN PUFF PASTRY
I always thaw frozen puff pastry overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, I remove it from the package to sit on the counter for about 10 minutes before working with it. This takes the immediate chill off the dough, making it easier for rolling.
MAKE THE FILLING
This next part of the recipe can be done up to a day in advance. Just note that you want the filling to be room temperature for spreading, so if it were made in advance and refrigerated, you’d need to set it out on the counter about 30 minutes or so before working with it.
The cream cheese filling begins with pan-seared, thick-cut bacon. After the bacon is perfectly crisp, the leeks (or onions) go into the grease, taking on all that meaty flavor from the bacon fat.
The base of the filling is made of cream cheese, mayonnaise, and an egg. Once the bacon and onions of have cooled, they get mixed into the base, along with chives, salt, and pepper.
FILL. SEAL. PINCH. CHILL.
The sheets of puff pastry are rolled out and filled one at a time. Leaving a little room at the end of each sheet for an egg wash helps to pastry to stay circular, rather than having a little tail on the end when baked. Pinching the seam once rolled also helps to keep the roll stay sealed while baking.
After your puff pastry has been filled, rolled into logs, and baked, it is then transfered to a baking sheet and placed in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Allowing the puff pastry and the filling time to firm makes cutting the rolls significantly easier, as does a sharp, serrated knife. This party of the recipe could be done up to a day in advance. You would just need to cover the logs with plastic wrap before going into the refrigerator.
CUT, BAKE, AND SERVE….OR DON’T.
The log is cut into the pinwheels and they undergo their final transformation in the oven. At this point you, could either serve them or freeze them.Cause remember? They’re make-ahead. Like, way ahead. You can freeze these bad boys up to 2 months in advance. Simply bake them as directed, allow them to cool and store between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container.
With a little help from our ready-made puff pastry friend and some planning, your entertaining day-of to-do list just got shorter…and a whole lot tastier. Please, enjoy.
A puff pastry appetizer featuring a cream cheese filling with bacon, Cheddar, chives, and onions or leeks.
- 1 Package of Frozen Puff Pastry Sheets thawed
- 2 Leeks or 1 Yellow Onion
- 8 Slices of Thick-Cut Bacon diced
- 1 tablespoon water
- 8 ounces Cream Cheese room temperature
- 2 tablespoons Mayonnaise
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1 cup Freshly Grated Cheddar Cheese
- 1 tablespoon Freeze Dried Chives
- 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
- Pinch of Kosher Salt
- All-Purpose Flour for Rolling Out Dough about 1/4 cup
The day before you intend to make the pinwheels, set the puff pastry in the refrigerator to thaw overnight.
If using leeks, have ready a large bowl full of cold water, and cut each leek in half lengthwise. Transfer to the bowl and begin removing any excess sand or grit from the inner layers. Pat dry and transfer to a cutting board. Begin slicing the leeks into thin rounds, white and light green parts only. Discard the dark green areas and the roots. Set aside until ready to use.
If using an onion, finely dice and set aside until ready to use.
Have ready a plate lined with paper towels. Saute the bacon in a saute pan over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, or until crispy. Remove from the pan and set aside on a plate. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the leeks or onions to the saute pan, cooking in the leftover bacon grease. Saute 2 minutes for leeks, or 5 minutes for onions. Set aside to cool.
In a small bowl, combine 1 egg and the water, and whisk to combine. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add cream cheese and mayonnaise and beat at a medium-high speed until completely smooth. If you don't have a stand mixer, use a handheld mixer and medium-sized mixing bowl.
Add 1 egg and mix until evenly combined. Add bacon, leeks (or onions), cheddar, chives, pepper, and salt and mix on low to combine. Set aside until ready to use.
On a large floured board, sprinkle one sheet of puff pastry with the flour and roll out into a rectangle about 9"x13".
Spread half of the cream cheese mixture onto the pastry sheet using an offset spatula or a knife, leaving an empty space about 1" wide on one of the ends for the egg wash. Using a pastry brush, brush the empty space lightly with the egg wash.
Working from short-end to short-end, tightly roll the pastry toward egg wash end (just as you would cinnamon rolls) and pinch at the seam. Transfer roll to the refrigerator and repeat with the second pastry sheet. Transfer the second roll to the refrigerator, and allow the rolls to chill until firm, about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400° and have ready a baking sheet lined with either parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Remove from the refrigerator and transfer to the floured work surface. Use a sharp, serrated knife to cut the roll into 1/2"-3/4" pieces, and discard of the ends.
Set pinwheels on a baking sheet, spacing them each about 2" apart, and bake for 15 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Allow to cool slightly and serve.
MAKE AHEAD TIP: If you'd like to make the pinwheels ahead of time, simply bake them, allow to cool and store between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container. Just before your event, preheat the oven to 350° and allow to bake 6-8 minutes.