The ultimate appetizer for any occasion, these Spinach and Artichoke Swirls are the perfect usage for flaky puff pastry. They encompass the beloved flavors of spinach and artichoke dip in a refined, delicate bite.
Once upon a time I was a poor college student. In a tiny, ill-equipped kitchen 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 sampled one. She 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. The rest, my friends, is history. Thus was born the greatest appetizer of our time: Spinach and Artichoke Swirls. And 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 perfect for parties, and really impressive considering how easy it is to make. It requires very little prep work since nearly all of the ingredients are commercially available as required in the recipe. You can easily purchase good quality puff pastry, cooked frozen spinach, and canned artichoke hearts at well-stocked supermarkets. You could use pre-shredded Swiss cheese too, but I encourage you to splurge for the pricier Gruyère and grate it yourself.
How to make Spinach and Artichoke Swirls
You’ll start out by sauteing chopped onion, garlic, and chili flakes until softened. Then combine this mixture with the thawed and squeezed frozen spinach, and roughly chopped canned artichoke hearts. Once it cools completely, add the cheeses, and seasonings. The filling is ready!
Next, unroll or unfold 1 sheet of thawed, frozen puff pastry. Cover it with half the filling, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Brush the furthest edge with egg wash, and then tightly roll the puff pastry away from you, like a jelly roll. The egg wash edge will seal the roll closed. Now you can carefully slice the roll into portions, and set onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling before brushing the whole batch with egg wash and baking until crispy and golden.
Which brand of puff pastry should I use?
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. Because it’s folded instead of rolled, the seams create an easy guide for cutting the pastry into slices. With that said, Pepperidge Farm brand uses vegetable oils instead of butter to create its layers. If the French have taught us anything, it’s that real butter is always better.
Trader Joe’s has their own brand of puff pastry (a 16-ounce package), which is rolled instead of folded. It’s considerably thinner and sticky in comparison, but it’s made with REAL BUTTER and more natural ingredients than the Pepperidge Farm counterpart. 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.
I definitely prefer the Trader Joe’s puff pastry. The one downside is that they only sell is seasonally, usually between Thanksgiving and the New Year. I tend to stock up on it when it’s available, and it will last for a long time in the freezer.
I also really love making Cheese Borek with Trader Joe’s puff pastry! What is your favorite recipe using frozen puff pastry? Let me know in the comments below!
Spinach and Artichoke Swirls
- 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 a 1/2-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.
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