You would think, with my love of cooking and baking, that the holiday season would be my favorite time of year to get in the kitchen. You’d be correct to an extent, but there are a lot of holiday activities that need to be done outside of the kitchen. Go figure.
While I dream of making all kinds of confections and savory showstoppers during the holidays (and the rest of the year!) and would probably be quite happy spend the bulk of my holiday adventures in the kitchen, the reality is that we are so busy we often just snack our way through and hope for the best. Most of my holiday kitchen time goes into neighbor, friend and family gifts and our meals and entertaining can be rather slapdash.
When we do entertain I like to experiment. It’s one of the few chances I get (and most likely you too!) to make food that is more than the kid’s usual favorites in the rotation. With a husband who works a lot and travels a lot, most days the only grown up there is for me to cook for is, well, me.
I was recently invited to accept the PuffectionTM Holiday Entertaining challenge from Pepperidge Farm, and share my experience making one of Pepperidge Farm’s Puff Pastry recipes to show how simple it is to achieve PuffectionTM this holiday season using their puff pastry.
While I have been known on occassion to make my own rough puff pastry, most often I give myself a pass on that one and just go with the convenience of using frozen puff pastry. During the holidays there is a certain amount of security in knowing that there are portions of the meal that are destined to be a no-brainer success. Especially since I tend to get experimental when I have
guinea pigs friends and family to cook for and try out new recipes on.
As for this week, I decided to make Pepperidge Farm’s Prosciutto Asparagus Spirals. The number of ingredients needed are few, and these spirals of asparagus rolled inside cheese and prosciutto are simple to make. The quality of the ingredients makes this appetizer a knockout and the puff pastry makes it all possible to hold together into one elegent little finger food for your buffet table or party.
I thought I’d share a few tips along with the recipe below that may help you with your party planning. This is a great recipe to make ahead, then stash and bake just before serving, but we actually quite liked them at room temperature as well.
The husband apparently really loved them because after I was done taking pictures he snarfed down at least half of them for his own little Sunday brunch. I restrained myself a bit more, but although the recipe says it makes 30 servings, be realistic and plan on at least two or three a piece for your guests. One just won’t be enough!
Pepperidge Farm has even created their own PuffectionTM tab on their Facebook page, where you can share your own holiday Puff Pastry recipes. Need inspiration? You can also visit www.puffpastry.com for more recipes, tips and how-to videos. There are plenty of ideas to get you started or just make that are tried and true.
I’ll be showing you an original recipe next week that will be on the sweet side of things and couldn’t be easier or more fun to make (even getting the kids involved!).
Prosciutto Asparagus Spirals
Recipe Source: Pepperidge Farm®
- 1 package (17.3 ounces) Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets, thawed
- 6 tablespoons garlic & herb spreadable cheese, softened
- 8 slices prosciutto or thinly sliced deli ham
- 30 medium asparagus spears, trimmed
Heat the oven to 400°F. Unfold the pastry sheets on a lightly floured surface. Spread 3 tablespoons cheese on each pastry sheet. Top each with 4 slices prosciutto. Cut each into 15 strips crosswise, making 30 in all.
Tightly wrap 1 pastry strip around each asparagus spear, prosciutto-side in. Place the pastries seam-side down onto 2 baking sheets.
Bake for 15 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown.
- To thaw your puff pastry, follow the easy directions on the package for thawing them in the refrigerator.
- I used Boursin garlic & herb cheese and used the entire small package, but another ‘cream cheese’ texture type of cheese with or without herbs would work as well.
- When you start wrapping the pastry strips around the asparagus, start at the bottom of the spear, press the pastry to the asparagus and hold it there as you turn and roll the pastry strip tightly around the spear. You can try to leave a little space to get the spiral affect that shows the asparagus underneath, but it will show more when the puff pastry bakes anyway.
- I baked my spirals about 18 minutes to get the golden color. They were done at 15 minutes, but if you want more color then you can go a little longer. It depends on personal preference.
- To make these ahead, roll all the spirals, lay them out on your baking sheet about 1/2-inch apart and cover the pan with plastic wrap. Place the pan in the refrigerator until ready to bake. Plan on baking them for a couple extra minutes to get the golden color.
DISCLAIMER: Pepperidge Farm® has provided me with a stipend for time and any materials invested in participating in their Pepperidge Farm® Puffection TM Holiday Entertaining challenge. The recipe above comes from their website. All photographs were taken by me and all opinions about the recipe, product and my thoughts in this post are as always 100% my own.