Puff Pastry Appetizers (Carlos Acevedo)

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Parmesan Pastry Spirals

Tender layers of puff pastry make these irresistible bites the perfect pick-up-and-mingle addition to your party platter.

Prep: 10 minutes Freeze: 30 minutes Bake: 10 minutes at 400°F

  •  1/2 17.3-ounce package frozen puff pastry (1 sheet), thawed
  •  1 tablespoon milk
  •  1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  •  1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1.  On a lightly floured surface roll puff pastry sheet into a 14×10-inch rectangle. Brush pastry with some of the milk; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and pepper. Starting at a short side, loosely roll up into a spiral, stopping at the center. Repeat rolling up, starting at the other short side. Wrap in plastic wrap; freeze for 30 minutes.
2.  Preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or foil; set aside. Unwrap roll and place on a cutting board. Brush with remaining milk. Using a serrated knife and a sawing motion, cut pastry roll crosswise into 3/8-inch-thick slices. Place slices 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets, reshaping as necessary.
3.  Bake for 10 minutes or until crisp and golden. Transfer to a wire rack; cool slightly. Serve warm.

Make-Ahead Directions:
Prepare as directed through step 1. Freeze for up to 1 month. Unwrap, cut, and bake as directed. (If roll is too hard to slice while frozen, let stand at room temperature until easy to slice.)

Number of Servings: 24

Roast Beef Pastries
Bake the golden pastries ahead so you can assemble the zesty bites just before the party begins. A garlicky horseradish sauce adds extra kick.

Prep: 35 minutes Bake: 8 minutes at 400°F per batch

  •  1 17.3-ounce package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
  •  1 egg, lightly beaten
  •  1 teaspoon water
  •  1 8-ounce carton dairy sour cream
  •  2 tablespoons assorted snipped fresh herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, dill, and/or parsley)
  •  4 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  •  1 garlic, minced
  •  8 ounces very thinly sliced deli roast beef, torn into pieces
  •  1 teaspoon cracked peppercorn mélange or cracked black pepper
  •   Assorted fresh herbs

1.  Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets or line with parchment paper or foil; set aside. On a lightly floured surface unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry at a time; roll into a 15×10-inch rectangle. Cut each rectangle crosswise into nine 1 1/2-inch-wide strips; cut strips crosswise into thirds (54 total). Place pastry rectangles about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.
2.  Combine egg and water. Lightly brush pastry rectangles with egg mixture. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on wire racks.
3.  For topping, in a small bowl stir together sour cream, the 2 tablespoons herbs, the horseradish, and garlic.
4.  To serve, spread about 1 teaspoon of the topping on each pastry rectangle. Mound beef on top of pastry. Sprinkle with peppercorn mélange and garnish with additional fresh herbs.

Make-Ahead Directions:
Prepare pastry as directed through Step 2. Layer pastry rectangles between waxed paper in an airtight container. Cover and store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Prepare topping and assemble as directed.

Number of Servings: 54

Sweet Onion-Tomato Tartlets
Store-bought grape tomatoes are tasty all year long. Roasting them with a bit of olive oil and seasonings makes them extra sweet and juicy. For another flavor sensation, use crumbled feta cheese and fresh mint as the garnish.

Prep: 30 minutes Bake: 15 minutes at 400°F Roast: 25 minutes Stand: 5 minutes Oven: 400°F

  •  3 cups grape tomatoes
  •  1 sweet onion, quartered and thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  •  2 tablespoons olive oil
  •  1 tablespoon snipped fresh rosemary
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  •  1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  •  1 17.3-ounce package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
  •   Manchego or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese shavings

1.  Preheat oven to 400°F. Prick tomatoes with a fork or the tip of a sharp knife. In an ungreased 15x10x1-inch baking pan combine tomatoes, onion, oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes or until onion is tender. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with vinegar; cool.
2.  Meanwhile, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. On a lightly floured surface unfold puff pastry. Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut pastry into rounds. Place rounds on the prepared baking sheet.
3.  Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the roasted tomato mixture onto each pastry round. Bake for 15 minutes or until edges are puffed and golden brown. Let stand on baking sheet for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with cheese.

Number of Servings: 18

Carlos Acevedo is a Senior Food Editor with Meredith.