Thursday, March 25, 2021

Cheesy Ham-Jam Pinwheels

Karri Perry’s Cheesy Ham-Jam Pinwheels: Smoked Ham and Gruyere inside Puff Pastry with Apricot Jam, Dijon and Thyme. 

Can we talk about these Cheesy Ham-Jam Pinwheels?

How many did I taste-test, you might ask??  

I’ll never tell... but, friends, IF you make these... (and I hope that you do) prepare for them to disappear quickly—even if I’m not invited... ha.

If ever there was a perfect Easter brunch bite... this is it.  Pretty on a plate... served either piping hot or at room temperature... perfect for a buffet or ready in minutes for and easy weeknight dinner...We love them!!

These scrumptious pinwheels would be great for wedding showers, with a glass of wine... honestly, they look fancy, but these cute bites could not be easier to make.

You can use your favorite ham, I recommend having the deli shave or chip the ham, this makes for easy cutting/slicing and taking manageable bites into the pinwheel.  Do you ever skip certain party foods based on the degree of difficulty for devouring?? (Or is it just me??)  These are the things I ponder when menu planning... 

As far as the cheese... anything that melts beautifully will do... we used Swiss and Gruyere.  Gruyere, Monterey Jack, or even cheddar would be great choices.

I really like the flavor the thyme imparts—try not to skip the dried thyme sprinkle... it elevated the flavors.

For the apricot jam, I used Bonne Maman, and I used Gulden’s Spicy Brown Mustard... any Dijon-style  mustard will work wonderfully.

A parchment lined tray is important, because the jam and cheese will want to stick.  If you use foil in place of parchment, be sure to give the foil a light spray of non-stick spray to help the pinwheels slide off the baking sheet after baking.

Puff pastry is available in most frozen food departments of grocery stores, (near the frozen desserts-typically)  The boxes usually contain two sheets, read the package instructions to thaw—and by thaw I mean, let the puff pastry thaw just enough so that it’s pliable but not warm.  (I usually take the puff pastry from the freezer and let mine rest on the countertop, while I’m gathering ingredients... usually 30 minutes is just enough time to make the puff pastry easy to work with—but not warm and floppy.) 

It’s important that the puff pastry doesn’t get too warm... that’s the reason we pop the prepared pinwheels back into the freezer before baking... (it’s the same principle for baking a flaky pie crust)  The key is working with cold dough—chill before baking for maximum puff!! By chilling the dough, we solidify the laminated butter layers... and the magic can happen when they go into a hot oven.  Don’t you just love science!?


Karri Perry’s Cheesy Ham-Jam Pinwheels: Smoked Ham and Gruyere inside Puff Pastry with Apricot Jam, Dijon and Thyme.


Puff Pastry-can be purchased in the frozen section of most grocery stores (I use Pepperidge Farm)

Smoked Deli Ham-shaved/chipped ham works great, (about 1 1/2 cups or 1/2 lb.)

2 Tablespoons apricot jam

2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere Cheese or Swiss

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves  

Salt and cracked black pepper

Egg wash-1 egg whisked with 1 teaspoon of water (optional)

Fresh thyme springs for garnish-(optional)


Pre heat oven to 425 degrees-middle rack

Thaw puff pastry according to package instructions.

Lay the puff pastry sheets open on a parchment lined baking sheet (typically 2 pastry sheets come in a box)

Spread 1Tablespoon of apricot jam on each of the puff pastry sheets, followed by a light brushing of the Dijon mustard (1Tbs per sheet) Using a pastry or basting brush can help this process.

Add the ham on top of the jam and mustard.

Top with the shredded cheese. Sprinkle filling with the dried thyme.

Roll up the prepared puff pastry-(cinnamon roll style) creating a log shape.

Using a serrated knife, cut each log into 10-12 one-inch circles or pinwheels.

Optional-Brush all the pinwheels lightly with a little egg wash.—you will not use all of the egg wash.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place baking sheet with the prepared and egg-washed pinwheels into the freezer for 5-7 minutes- just before baking

(Why should you do this “freezer” step?? The puff pastry works best if the puff pastry is very cold when it goes into the oven.—same principle with pie dough baking)

Bake at 425 degrees on middle rack for 17-20 minutes or until the pastry is golden, has puffed and the cheese is melted.  Sprinkle with the fresh thyme to garnish.  May be served hot, warm or at room temperature -for up to 2 hours.

Vegetarian Idea:

Cheesy Mushroom-Thyme Pinwheels:

Sautéed mushrooms, thyme, Swiss cheese, caramelized onions or onion jam

Sauté 3-4 cups of sliced and cleaned button mushrooms in 1 Tablespoon of butter on medium heat.  Sauté until tender and mixture is free from liquid. Turn off heat and add 1 clove of minced garlic.  Stir in 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme.  Allow to cool before assembling pinwheels.

Caramelized Onions: Thinly slice 1 large Vidalia onion.  In a medium pan with 1 Tablespoon of butter and 1/2 teaspoon salt—cook on low heat, stirring every few minutes until onions are brown and caramelized. This process will take 30-40 minutes—cooking on low and slow is the best way to caramelize onions.  

Using thawed puff pastry, spread 2 Tablespoons of onion jam or prepared caramelized onions.  Add the prepared mushrooms-dividing between the the two pastry sheets.  Sprinkle with shredded Swiss cheese. 

Bake at 425 for 17-20 minutes or until golden and puffed.

**If making ahead and freezing ahead, allow prepared puff pastry pinwheels a few extra minutes baking time, or allow the frozen bites to sit on the counter for 7-10 minutes before baking.

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