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Spicy Cheddar and Chutney Palmiers

Mary Anne here. It would seem that I’m on a puff-pastry binge these days, but I’ve got a pretty good excuse. Mariel and I are busy with a flurry of catering activity, whether it’s dishing up cocktail fare or composing menus for clients for everything from buffet dinners to week-long private chef requests. No wonder appetizers are on my mind!

During this past week’s catering prep, I put together my ever-popular Prosciutto Spirals. I had some extra puff pastry leftover in the freezer and began fantasizing about a possible marriage between the chutney and cheddar lurking in my fridge. As I didn’t write or post last week (I was otherwise occupied!), Mariel and I decided I’d give this new app a test drive today. Needless to say, it’s totally Feast-worthy. A sweet and spicy union embedded in crisped pastry – pure heaven in a bite. I’ve literally eaten six of these since they came out of the oven and plan to dunk them in my Roasted Red Pepper Soup tonight (sans the crabmeat, sigh…). Fortunately I froze half the batch in anticipation of this coming Memorial Day weekend when my brood descends upon the family homestead, looking for some good grub!

Serve these hot, warm, or at room temperature. They’re equally delicious with a glass of chilled wine or a frosty mug of beer. A perfect kick-off to the summer season!

And speaking of the impending holiday, we have a terrific Memorial Day menu if you’re looking for inspiration. We also suggest some of this year’s additions to our repertoire, including Chipotle-Spiced Pulled Pork Sliders, Slow-Roasted Pineapple Pork Tacos, No Grill Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Chicken, Root Beer Baked Black Beans, and Marinated Skirt Steak with Homemade Peach Relish, to name just a few. BTW, I plan to whip up a batch of my Crab Cakes for my long-suffering son-in-law, who can usually expect shrimp in some form from me, even though he detests it. See, I do read Mariel’s posts. I’ll get the hang of this in-law thing (and memory issue), yet!!

Spicy Cheddar and Chutney Palmiers
Makes 60

Equipment: You’ll need a rolling pin, a pastry brush and 1 or 2 large cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.

Ingredients for the Palmiers:
2 sheets of frozen puffed pastry, thawed according to package directions – $4.69
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated and divided – $2.99
1 cup chutney – $3.99
2 Tablespoons Dijon-style mustard – stock
¼ Teaspoon (or to taste) cayenne pepper – stock
Ingredients for the Egg Wash:
1 large egg, lightly beaten – stock
1 Tablespoon water
Grand Total Assuming a Well-Stocked Pantry: $11.67
Per Serving at 3 a piece (20 servings): $0.58

1. On a floured counter top or flat surface, roll out the first sheet of puffed pastry to form a 11” long x 10” wide rectangle.

2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the chutney, mustard, and cayenne. If the chutney has large chunks of mango or peaches, simply transfer to a food processor and press “pulse” several times to chop the fruit. Alternatively, using a pair of kitchen shears, cut the fruit with the tips of the scissors directly in the mixing bowl.

3. Spread half of the chutney-mustard mixture evenly over the pastry. Sprinkle half of the cheddar cheese over the surface.

4 . Beginning at the longer end, roll up the prepared pastry to the middle. Now begin rolling the second long end until it meets the first side in the middle. You want it to be a fairly tight roll, but don’t worry if it appears a bit loose. The “puffing” of the actual pastry during baking takes care of any gaps.

5. Repeat the above with the remaining ingredients and pastry sheet.
 Refrigerate the rolls, wrapped in plastic for at least 30 minutes and up to one day before. Tip: Like the Prosciutto Spirals, I expect these also freeze beautifully and can be made up to 1 month ahead of time. Cover the rolls in plastic wrap and seal in a zip-lock freezer bag or wrapped tightly with a layer of tin foil.

6. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line the cookie sheets with parchment paper.

7. Prepare the egg wash by whisking together the water and egg.

8. Using a serrated bread knife, slice the pastry rolls into ½” or slightly thinner rounds and arrange about ½ ” apart on the prepared cookie sheets.

9. Using a pastry brush, lightly paint the tops of each pastry with the egg wash.

10. Bake until puffed and golden, between 15 to 18 minutes.