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Puff pastry twists: Appetizers and dessert recipes

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

Savory Twists And Sweet Spirals

Puff pastry is one of the most versatile ingredients to have in your kitchen. It can be frozen for months - on call for that last minute dish - and it can be cut, shaped and flavored for a near endless variety of sweet and savory foods. Puff pastry twists are a whimsical, yet elegant, way to impress your friends, family and dinner guests when you host your next cocktail party, dinner party or dessert party. Give these appetizers and dessert recipes a try and come up with your own puff pastry twist renditions.

Puff Pastry

WORKING WITH PUFF PASTRY

Light, flaky and multi-layered, puff pastry is available in sheets and shells in the freezer section at your local supermarket. Purchase a box of puff pastry sheets – there will be two thick sheets rolled up – for these delectable puff pastry twists. Keep puff pastry frozen until you are ready to use. You can thaw the pastry sheets in the refrigerator – it will take about six hours – or you can hasten the thaw on your kitchen counter in 30 minutes – unroll the sheets and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap.

When ready to prepare, work with puff pastry sheets on a lightly floured surface. If you plan on using both puff pastry sheets, keep one covered with plastic wrap while you cut, flavor and make twists with the other.

Following are two basic puff pastry twists recipes along with both savory and sweet variations.

PUFF PASTRY TWIST SERVING SUGGESTIONS

Sweet or savory, puff pastry twists can be served in a delectable array of ways.

  • Stand puff pastry twists in glasses for guests to easily grab.
  • Criss-cross puff pastry twists on serving platters along with other appetizers or desserts.
  • Stake puff pastry twists in savory or sweet dips.
  • Use savory puff pastry twists as garnish for seafood, poultry, meat or vegetable dishes.
  • Serve savory puff pastry twists with salads, soups or stews.
  • Use sweet puff pastry twists as garnish for slices of cheesecake, mousse or custards.
  • Serve sweet puff pastry twists with sundaes, milkshakes or other ice cream treats.
  • Serve puff pastry twists with wine, tea, coffee or hot cocoa as a new spin on an after-dinner digestif.

APPETIZER RECIPES

Savory Puff Pastry Twists
Makes 28 twists

This is a basic recipe that can be turned into a scrumptious array of multi-flavored appetizers are sure to whet your appetite for the dishes to come or, if serving as a cocktail party, these puff pastry straws go impeccably with white or red wines as well as chic martinis.

Ingredients:

1 (17.3-ounce) box puff pastry (two sheets), at room temperature
2 eggs, well-beaten
Savory flavorings to taste (variations below)
1 teaspoon coarse-grained salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. and spray two large baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Unfold one sheet flat on a lightly floured counter or pastry board. Use a rolling pin to evenly flatten sheet into a 10 by 14 inch rectangle. Use a sharp knife to cut rectangle in half crosswise. Brush both halves with the egg and sprinkle one half with flavorings.
3. Place the second half, egg-side down, on top of the flavored half, making sure to align the edges. Use the rolling pin to roll over the sheets to seal.
4. Using the sharp knife, cut rectangle lengthwise into 14 strips. Brush each strip with egg and sprinkle with salt. Press salt gently onto puff pastry. Repeat steps one through four with second sheet of puff pastry.
5. Pick up a strip, one hand at each end, and twist in opposite directions. Transfer to a baking sheet and gently press the ends to the sheet. Repeat with remaining strips. Don't overcrowd the baking sheets.
6. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until twists are puffed, golden and crisp. Let twists cool for 5 minutes then use a spatula to transfer them to wire racks to cool completely. Puff pastry twists are best the day they are made but they can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

Savory flavorings for puff pastry twists:

  • Hot and spicy: cracked black pepper, cayenne and finely shredded pepper jack cheese
  • Garlic herb: minced garlic, fresh parsley, basil, oregano or other herbs
  • Blue cheese: finely crumbled blue cheese, cracked black pepper and fresh minced dill
  • Italian: minced sun-dried tomato, olives, fresh basil, and finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Curry: ground curry powder and finely crumbled feta
  • Lemon pepper: minced lemon zest and cracked black pepper
  • Orange and toasted almond: minced orange zest and finely chopped toasted almonds

DESSERT RECIPES

Sweet Puff Pastry Twists
Makes 28 twists

The perfect garnish for a cool and creamy bowl of ice cream or a fresh fruit and yogurt parfait, sweet puff pastry twists add a four-star elegance to any dessert. They can be served as a crunchy accompaniment for a hot drink such as coffee, tea or hot cocoa, and they can be staked into cold treats such as milkshakes, smoothies or even a simple glass of milk.

Ingredients:
1 (17.3-ounce) box puff pastry (two sheets), at room temperature
2 eggs, well-beaten
Sweet flavorings to taste (variations below)
1 tablespoon sugar

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray two large baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Unfold one sheet flat on a lightly floured counter or pastry board. Use a rolling pin to evenly flatten sheet into a 10 by 14 inch rectangle. Use a sharp knife to cut rectangle in half crosswise. Brush both halves with the egg and sprinkle one half with flavorings.
3. Place the second half, egg-side down, on top of the flavored half, making sure to align the edges. Use the rolling pin to roll over the sheets to seal.
4. Using the sharp knife, cut rectangle lengthwise into 14 strips. Brush each strip with egg and sprinkle with sugar. Press salt gently onto puff pastry. Repeat steps one through four with second sheet of puff pastry.
5. Pick up a strip, one hand at each end, and twist in opposite directions. Transfer to a baking sheet and gently press the ends to the sheet. Repeat with remaining strips. Don't overcrowd the baking sheets.
6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until twists are puffed, golden and crisp. Let twists cool for 5 minutes then use a spatula to transfer them to wire racks to cool completely. Puff pastry twists are best the day they are made but they can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

Sweet flavorings for puff pastry twists:
  • Cinnamon pecan: ground cinnamon, finely chopped pecans and brown sugar
  • Apple walnut pie: ground apple pie spice, finely chopped toasted walnuts and finely shredded fresh, peeled apple (press shredded apple with paper towels to remove excess liquid)
  • Tropical: shredded sweetened coconut, minced dried pineapple, papaya or mango
  • Licorice: minced orange zest and crushed anise seeds
  • Gingerbread: ground cinnamon, allspice, minced fresh gingerroot and brown sugar
  • Double chocolate: powdered hot cocoa mix (sweetened) and miniature chocolate chips or finely chopped milk or dark chocolate
  • White chocolate blueberry or cherry: finely chopped white chocolate and dried blueberries or cherries
  • Toffee coffee: powdered coffee mix (sweetened) and minced toffee bits
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