Recently, guests were asked to bring an item to share at a birthday party, so our daughter made these beautiful Monte Cristo pinwheel appetizers, and they were a huge hit!
She’s been attending a lot of birthday parties for friends who are turning a “certain age.” She expected to have some leftovers to share, but they were almost all devoured!
This beautiful recipe was inspired by the Monte Cristo sandwich, a delightful creation that marries the elegance of French cuisine with the hearty spirit of American comfort food. Its origin is a tale as rich as the sandwich itself.
The origin of the Monte Cristo sandwich is shrouded in mystery, but like any good legend, it has interesting variations. It is believed to be a delicious version of the classic French croque-monsieur, which is basically a ham and cheese sandwich dipped in egg and pan-fried to perfection.
The Monte Cristo took the croque-monsieur’s foundation a step further by adding turkey for an even more interesting layering of flavors, then dipped it in egg, fried it, and dusted it with powdered sugar. It’s a very popular sandwich to this day!
The fancy name Monte Cristo, named after the famous count by the same name, was intended to give it a sophisticated air, even though it’s comfort food at heart.
These puff pastry pinwheel appetizers look impressive, but they are easy to make, and doesn’t puff pastry always elevate anything to a higher level of sophistication? The flavor combination is classic, sweet, creamy, and salty! They go together quickly, and they are baked, not fried! What could be better than that?
You can serve them warm but also wonderful at room temperature. Dust them with powdered sugar and arrange them around a bowl of raspberry preserves (hers were homemade!) for dipping, and you’ve got a real treat for your eyes and tummy!
First, a few tips on using puff pastry. You can thaw puff pastry in the fridge. Remove the outer wrap and place each sheet on a plate, then cover it with plastic wrap and defrost in the refrigerator for about 4 hours. Once puff pastry is thawed, work quickly while it’s still cold. Your hands should be as cool as possible when handling the pastry dough.
Place the pastry on a silicone mat or parchment paper so you can handle it easily. If your puff pastry seems small, you can lightly and carefully roll it out with a rolling pin, but avoid the edges! If you roll over the edges, you’ll mash the layers together, and it will not puff when it’s baking!
Once your puff pastry is nice and square, spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard over the whole surface.
Now add a layer of ham and cheese to cover the entire puff pastry.
Now, carefully roll the puff pastry into a log, with the seam side on the bottom. It should be about ten to eleven inches long.
Slice it into sixteen pinwheels and place them on a parchment-covered sheet pan. When you cut puff pastry, a bench scraper works very well. Never “saw” the knife through puff pastry; just cut straight down and lift the blade between slices to preserve the layers in the puff pastry. You can also try using a serrated knife and have better results.
Arrange the pinwheel appetizers on a parchment paper-covered sheet pan or a silicone baking mat. If you like, brush them with an egg wash of one egg beaten with a teaspoon or two of water for a shiny finish or melted butter for a softer crust. The ones in the photo were brushed with melted butter before baking.
Bake them for about twenty minutes at 425 degrees or until you’re happy with your desired golden brown color. Since every oven is different, keep a close eye on them as they bake.
Dust the pinwheels with powdered sugar and arrange them on a platter surrounding a bowl of raspberry preserves for dipping. You can use another type of jam, but raspberry is traditional.
These quick and easy puff pastry pinwheel appetizers are a great snack or appetizer and might be a wonderful thing to serve while Thanksgiving dinner is cooking and everyone has the munchies!
If you liked this recipe, you are my people! You might also enjoy these Easy Sausage Balls, another easy appetizer recipe that's always a hit!
Please share this post on your social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest if you enjoyed this recipe today. It would sure tickle me, and I'd be ever so grateful; thank you!
Love, GB (Betty Streff)
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