Sweet And Salty Monte Cristo Pinwheels Recipe

Did you know the beloved diner sandwich, the Monte Cristo, is a descendant of the French croque-monsieur? It's made of the same core ingredients — ham, cheese, and Dijon mustard — but the Monte Cristo is taken up a notch because it's dipped in French toast batter, griddled, and dusted with confectioners' sugar. Recipe developer Tess Le Moing takes it a step further by turning this traditional sandwich into a chic, crowd-pleasing appetizer wrapped in puff pastry.

Whether you're hosting a sophisticated brunch, a laid-back gathering, or simply in the mood for a snack that's both unique and satisfying, these Monte Cristo pinwheels are a great option. Easy to prepare and even easier to devour, they provide a fun touch to any appetizer spread, making you the star of the culinary show. The addition of strawberry jam and whole-grain Dijon mustard not only enhances the taste but also adds a nice contrast of sweet and tangy notes, all wrapped in a buttery, flaky puff pastry. So, why wait for a special occasion? You likely have a majority of the ingredients already, so go ahead and treat yourself!

Gather the Monte Cristo Pinwheel Ingredients

To get started, you'll need puff pastry, of course. But steer clear of puff pastry made with all butter. Yes, it tastes better, but it tends to be more fragile and fall apart when rolled up. Stick with a tried-and-true classic like Pepperidge Farms puff pastry. Next, grab some strawberry jam, shredded Gruyère, whole-grain Dijon mustard, and thinly sliced deli ham and turkey.

If you'd like to use one type of cold cut, that's fine, too. Just make sure you ask the deli counter to slice it as thin as possible. You want a delicate taste of meat, not an overpowering one. Once rolled up and baked, dust the pinwheels with confectioners' sugar and cinnamon before serving with extra strawberry jam.

Step 1: Roll out the puff pastry

Unfold the puff pastry and roll it into a 10-inch square.

Step 2: Spread the strawberry jam

Spread strawberry jam evenly over the entire surface of the pastry, leaving a ½-inch border along the top edge.

Step 3: Add the shredded cheese

Sprinkle the Gruyère evenly over the jam.

Step 4: Add ham and turkey

Layer the ham and turkey over the cheese.

Step 5: Spread Dijon mustard

Spread the Dijon mustard on top of the meat.

Step 6: Roll the pastry into a log

Starting at the edge of the pastry closest to you, roll it into a tight log and pinch the seam to seal it.

Step 7: Refrigerate until firm

Wrap the log in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour or for up to 2 days.

Step 8: Preheat the oven

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 F.

Step 9: Prepare a baking sheet

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Step 10: Slice the log

Using a sharp serrated or slicing knife, trim the ends of the log, then slice it into ½-inch-thick rounds (you should have 18 rounds).

Step 11: Arrange the slices on a baking sheet

Space the slices about 1 inch apart on a prepared sheet.

Step 12: Bake until golden

Bake the pinwheels until golden brown and crispy, 14 to 16 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through baking.

Step 13: Cool the pinwheels

Transfer the pinwheels to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes.

Step 14: Combine the sugar and cinnamon

In a small bowl, whisk together confectioners sugar and cinnamon.

Step 15: Dust and serve

Dust the pinwheels with cinnamon sugar and serve them warm or at room temperature with extra strawberry jam for dipping.

Sweet and Salty Monte Cristo Pinwheels Recipe
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Turn a classic Monte Cristo sandwich into a chic, crowd-pleasing sweet-and-savory appetizer with ham, cheese, jam, and mustard all wrapped up in puff pastry.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
15
minutes
Servings
18
Pinwheels
Plate with Monte Cristo Pinwheels
Total time: 25 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons strawberry jam, plus ½ cup for serving
  • 2 ounces Gruyère, shredded (about ½ cup)
  • 3 slices (thin) deli Black Forest ham
  • 3 slices (thin) deli turkey
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
Directions
  1. Unfold the puff pastry and roll it into a 10-inch square.
  2. Spread strawberry jam evenly over the entire surface of the pastry, leavinga ½-inch border along the top edge.
  3. Sprinkle the Gruyère evenly over the jam.
  4. Layer the ham and turkey over the cheese.
  5. Spread the Dijon mustard on top of the meat.
  6. Starting at the edge of the pastry closest to you, roll it into a tight log and pinch the seam to seal it.
  7. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour or for up to 2 days.
  8. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 F.
  9. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  10. Using a sharp serrated or slicing knife, trim the ends of log, then slice it into ½-inch-thick rounds (you should have 18 rounds).
  11. Space the slices about 1 inch aparthttps://youtu.be/w2hhT_A7CG4 on a prepared sheet.
  12. Bake the pinwheels until golden brown and crispy, 14 to 16 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through baking.
  13. Transfer the pinwheels to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes.
  14. In a small bowl, whisk together confectioners sugar and cinnamon.
  15. Dust the pinwheels with cinnamon sugar and serve them warm or at room temperature with extra strawberry jam for dipping.
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Can you make this in advance or freeze it?

These Monte Cristo Pinwheels are not only delicious but also convenient for make-ahead situations. You can prepare the rolled pastry log in advance, tightly wrap it in plastic wrap, and store it in the refrigerator for up to two days before you slice and bake the pinwheels. This allows the flavors to meld beautifully and the pastry to firm up, making it even easier to slice into neat, even coins.

Alternatively, for even longer storage, you can slice the pinwheels right after rolling the pastry and freeze them. To do this, place the sliced pinwheels on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, making sure they're not touching, and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container. They can be stored this way for up to a month. When you're ready to serve, there's no need to thaw; simply place them frozen on a baking sheet, but you might just need to add a few extra minutes to the baking time. This freezing method ensures you have a delightful, gourmet appetizer ready to go at a moment's notice, perfect for impromptu gatherings or guests. 

How do you prevent pinwheels from falling apart?

Preventing pinwheels from falling apart involves a few key steps. First, pick the right puff pastry. An all-butter puff pastry is more delicate and can be more challenging to work with, especially if you're not used to it. The butter in all-butter puff pastry makes it richer and flakier, but it also means it can soften and become difficult to handle. Non-butter puff pastries, typically made with shortening or other fats, tend to be less temperamental. They can be easier to roll out and handle because the fat doesn't melt as quickly as butter. This makes them a more forgiving option, especially for intricate recipes or when working in warmer conditions. 

After layering your ingredients into the puff pastry, it's crucial to chill the log before slicing. This firms up the pastry and the fillings, making it easier to cut clean, precise slices without squishing or displacing the layers. Refrigerate the rolled log for at least 30 minutes. It's also beneficial to use a sharp knife when cutting neat pinwheels. A dull knife can drag and pull the dough, causing the pinwheels to lose their shape. A serrated knife can be particularly effective as it saws through without much downward pressure. Lastly, while loading up on fillings is tempting, too much can make the pinwheels bulky and prone to falling apart. Keep the layers of jam, cheese, meats, and mustard moderate to ensure they can be tightly rolled and easily sliced.