This take on ham and cheese is on another level
Call me cheesier than a Christmas sweater, but I absolutely adore holiday parties. Whether it's a dressed-up affair or an occasion where I can sport this hot little number (seriously, how amazing is that pun?), you better believe I'll arrive in full spirits, with a bottle of wine in one hand and a plate of Ham and Cheese Pinwheels in the other.
Golden, buttery puff pastry swirled with crispy ham, melty cheese, and a touch of Dijon mustard, these little bites are ridiculously easy and unquestionably delicious. I baked a double batch on Wednesday and divided it into three portions: one for holiday parties this weekend, one for the bash I'm hosting here next week, and one for the cook to enjoy for her lunch.
This recipe starts with a sheet of puff pastry, a.k.a. your holiday entertaining BFF. If there's a more versatile, universally adored ingredient than puff pastry, I'd be hard pressed to name it. (Reference: Cranberry Baked Brie Puff Pastry Bites; Cheesy Mushroom Puff Pastry Bites; Easy Asparagus Tart with Puff Pastry). The only contender coming to mind for the same ease/deliciousness factor is cheese, and these Ham and Cheese Pinwheels have plenty of that too!
To make the Ham and Cheese Pinwheels, smear the puff pastry with a light layer of Dijon mustard, top with good-quality ham and any rich, melty cheese you love (cheddar, gruyere, Swiss, or fontina would all be fabulous), then roll, slice, and bake. That's it!
In the oven, these four little ingredients transform into appetizer magic. The puff pastry becomes golden and flaky, the ham savory and crispy, and the cheese bubbly and ooey-gooey. The mustard provides zip and is the little somethin' somethin' that will keep you reaching back to the plate.
These Ham and Cheese Pinwheels can be baked ahead and frozen up to a month in advance and taste great both warm and at room temperature, so they're ideal for entertaining. Whether you nibble them in your finest cocktail attire or shovel them fist-over-fist in your best tacky sweater (or the reverse), you won't believe how wonderful four little ingredients can taste.
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed overnight in the refrigerator
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard, divided
- 12 thin slices of good-quality deli ham (about 10 ounces)
- 2 cups freshly grated gruyere, Swiss, fontina, sharp cheddar, or similar melty cheese (about 5 ounces)
- Chopped fresh parsley, thyme, or chives (optional, for serving)
- Lay a large piece of plastic wrap on your counter (I pressed two long sheets together at the edges to create a single larger sheet). Unfold the first sheet of puff pastry in the center of the plastic, then roll it into a 10x12-inch rectangle. Spread with 1 1/2 tablespoons mustard, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides. Lay 6 ham slices on top, overlapping as needed. Sprinkle with 1 cup cheese.
- Starting at the long (12-inch) edge, roll the puff pastry into a log. Trim the ends so that they are even, then tightly wrap the log with the plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry and remaining mustard, ham, and cheese. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Once the log has chilled, using a sharp, serrated knife, carefully cut each log into 1/2-inch-wide slices. (If each log is 12 inches, you will get 24 rolls from each one). Arrange the rolls 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the puff pastry is light golden brown and the cheese is hot and bubbly, about 18 minutes. Immediately sprinkle with chopped thyme, parsley, or chives as desired. Let cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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