Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Spinach and Feta Pastry Pinwheels

The holidays are such a fun and exciting time for me, I almost feel like a kid again.  I love the baking, the decorations, the light-covered trees lining the streets, the warm coziness of the kitchen and all the lovely scents of bread and pies, getting together with family, relaxing and playing games, snacking on cheese, crackers, summer sausage and popcorn, taking time off work to enjoy all the other things I love to do.  I have yet to listen to Christmas music - although I just found myself singing "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" in the shower - but I think I'll wait to break out the Christmas CDs until after Thanksgiving when we decorate for Christmas.

One year when I was living by myself, I'd already put up my Christmas tree, when about a week before Christmas, the urge to rearrange my living room struck me.  It's not an urge that can be denied - if you're a chronic "rearranger" like my sister and me, then you understand.  My brother-in-law jokes that he can never get too attached to where the couch is, because in a few weeks, it'll be somewhere else.

So this particular winter day, I spent a few hours rearranging all my living room furniture into what I believed was a more perfect setup - but it didn't quite work with where the Christmas tree was.  So I carefully dragged the tree by its base, fully decorated, across the living room to a better spot - and managed not to tip it over or break any ornaments.  But once I got the tree to that side of the room, I realized I'd neglected to account for the slanted ceiling in my apartment, which was lower on that side...  too low for the tree, which was a good 6 inches too tall for that part of the ceiling.  I knew I could remove the bottom section of the tree to make it shorter, so I took all the ornaments and lights off and disassembled the tree, with every intention of redecorating.

At this point I was so exhausted though, that I put it away and went to bed, too tired to do it all over again.  It's kind of embarrassing to admit taking my Christmas tree down a week before Christmas, just to rearrange my living room, because it sounds so Scrooge-ish.  The moral of the story is - don't try to rearrange your furniture until after New Years!  Resist that urge!

On Friday night, I made these pastry pinwheels to have with our dinner of steak, sauteed mushrooms and sweet potatoes, and they were such a tasty little appetizer that I'm looking forward to a chance to make them again.  The delicate flavor of the shallots, tangy feta cheese and fresh spinach rolled into a flaky pastry was a delicious combination.

If you don't want to make your own dough, then store-bought pie dough will work great, too, although since those come already rolled into a round shape, it may be hard to reshape them into a rectangle, so I would suggest using puff pastry (which comes in a square/rectangular shape already).  Making your own pie dough gives you the advantage of being able to roll it into any shape you want.

These easy pinwheels are also something you can prepare earlier in the day, refrigerate, and then pop into the oven at the last minute so you can serve them hot.  Your guests will love you for it.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, and have a lovely week of cooking and baking and spending time with your friends and family!

Spinach and Feta Pastry Pinwheels

·         1 prepared pie crust, unbaked (can substitute puff pastry)
·         2 tablespoons olive oil
·         Salt and pepper
·         1 medium shallot, minced
·         1 cup chopped fresh spinach
·         1 cup crumbled Feta cheese

Note: For this recipe, I used my own homemade all-butter pie crust, but store bought pie crust or puff pastry will work just fine.

Preheat the oven to 350.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough fairly thin, about 1/8 inch thick.  Try to roll it into a rectangular shape, measuring approximately 10x12 inches.

Brush the dough with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle on the shallot, spinach and Feta, leaving a 1-inch border along one of the 12-inch sides.  Carefully roll the dough up, toward that edge.  Dip your fingers in a little water to moisten the edge of the dough and seal it against the roll.

Slice into 16 slices, approximately ¾ inch thick.  The dough will be pretty soft, but don’t worry if the pinwheels look a little misshapen – you can reshape them into rounds on the baking sheet.

Carefully transfer the pinwheels and place them, cut side up, on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper.  If any filling falls out when you transfer them, sprinkle that on the pinwheels and reshape them into rounds if they got misshapen while cutting.

Bake until golden brown and flaky, about 30 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes, then serve warm.

Yields 16 pinwheels (plan on 2-3 per person).


  1. These look SO amazing! I want to make these for an upcoming dinner party I am having!

  2. Holy yum! These look soooooo good! Bookmarked and buzzed!

  3. My Mom is a "rearranger" too :) I can relate. The pinwheels look delicious. Another reason to try and make a pie crust. Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. That is too funny...my mom is the re-arranger and I felt like your brother in-law as a child. The Christmas tree however, I agree maybe after the New Year :)
    These look fantastic!

  5. I can't wait to add these to our holiday menu, we're a small group this year and I'm making an array of finger foods. The flavors remind me of spanakopita, which I love.
    I'm having a giveaway this week, come and visit!

  6. These look delicious! I understand about the furniture! I don't rearrange often, but when the urge strikes me, I get up and start immediately! I've rearranged furniture at 10pm because I HAD TO!


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