Sunday, March 8, 2009

Spinach and Artichoke Swirls

Once upon a time when I was a poor college student, in the tiny ill-equipped kitchen of the French House at Boston University, I created this masterpiece to take to a friend's Oscar party.

Before I headed off to the party, one of my housemates tested one out, and immediately begged me to make her a whole batch if she paid for all the ingredients. I, of course, accepted and happily turned out another batch the following day. Years later this recipe has stood the test of time.

Imagine your favorite qualities of spinach and artichoke dip wrapped with flaky, buttery puff pastry. Not only is it delicious, but it's seriously great for parties, and really impressive for something that's actually quite easy to make.

I've turned out many batches of this addictive pastry over the years. I find Pepperidge Farm brand puff pastry to be a bit easier to work with because it's thicker (it comes in the 17.3-ounce package) and less sticky. Also, because it's folded, the seams from the folds create an easy guide for cutting the pastry into slices.

I most recently used Trader Joe's brand of puff pastry (a 16-ounce package), which is rolled instead of folded, and it considerably thinner and sticky in comparison. You can easily flour your surface if working with it, but I just used the supplied piece of parchment wrapped around the dough. If your dough is on the softer side, you may want to refrigerate or freeze your assembled rolls briefly before cutting them, to ensure less messy slices.

*Note* Blog post, photos, and recipe updated 1/4/16.

Spinach and Artichoke Swirls
Makes about 30 to 35

1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Crushed chili flakes
1 (10-oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of extra water
1 (14-ounce) can (about 1 1/2 cups) artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
5 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) grated Gruyère, Comte, or Emmentaler cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (16 to 17.3-ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed (the size will depend on the brand)
1 large egg

Heat oven to 400ºF. In small skillet over medium heat olive oil. Add onion, garlic, and chili flakes. Cook until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from pan and combine in medium bowl with spinach and artichokes. Set aside to cool. Stir in Gruyère and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Unfold or unroll one of the two puff pastry sheets on lightly floured surface. If the pastry is folded, make sure the seams are running vertically and the "ugly" side is facing you. Top with half the vegetable-cheese mixture, leaving half-inch border. In small bowl combine egg and 1 tablespoon water. Brush the furthest edge with a little egg wash. Starting at the end closest to you, roll up pastry, jelly-roll-style, sealing the roll with the egg wash edge. Repeat with the other puff pastry sheet and the remaining filling. If the rolls seems soft, freeze them for about 10 to 15 minutes to firm up and allow for easier slicing.

Cut each roll into 1/2-inch-thick slices, using the puff pastry's seams to guide you, if they exist. Lay slices flat 2-inches apart on baking sheets covered with parchment paper. Brush with egg wash. Bake 25 to 35 minutes, or until golden. Carefully use a spatula to remove pastries. They will often stick in the center where the cheese melts. Serve warm or at room temperature. These are best the day they are made.


Anonymous said...

Salivating right now. And I remember fondly cooking in the French House kitchen too! :)

Victoria Kabakian said...

Haha, good memories! That tiny excuse for a kitchen served us well in its limited capacity, lol.

Laryssa said...

Tell me about it....I was the lucky taste tester :-) These were yummy!

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