April 27, 2011

Spinach Spirals

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

I love appetizers; I think they're the perfect introduction to any meal and can serve as a little teaser, a preview if you will, of the rest of the course that is to follow. It's also a sure-fire way to get conversation going for any dinner party. Though the idea of  appetizers (or hors d'oeuvres, if you're feeling fancy) can seem intimidating, it's actually much simpler than anyone would think. All you need to do is think of your favorite food and then scale it down enough to be an easy finger food. So you like chicken kabobs? No problem! Cook them up as usual but thread two to three pieces on a decorative toothpick and wa lah, an appetizer! Does your southern heart have a hankering for good ol' cornbread? Bake them up in a mini-muffin tins and bam! Another appetizer! See? It's easy.

On this particular occasion I went with a traditional fatayer stuffing that I normally use inside pockets of puff pastry. But by changing up the shape I was able to scale it down and make bite-size portions of a dinner-party favorite. It goes without saying that this can be customized so many ways: mushroom and caramelized onions or some ground lamb with feta, really you can use whatever you want. The beauty of this appetizer is in its beautiful pinwheel presentation.

Some tips on working with puff pastry:
- keep the dough chilled until ready to use. If the dough gets too warm then it becomes sticky which makes it not only super-hard to work with, but you also went get that trademark golden rising from the dough.
- if you're finding it hard to cut the pastry into spiral, pop the rolled up cylinder into the freezer for about 4 minutes to firm-up a bit before cutting.
- cut your spirals with a sharp serrated knife (like a bread knife) for the cleanest cuts.
- there's no need to grease your pan as there is plenty of butter in the dough to keep it from sticking. But if you do choose to use a cheese that will melt easily (like mozzarella) then it may be best to use parchment or wax paper to contain the mess.

Spinach Spirals
(Adapted from here  makes about 24 spirals)

1 package puff pastry, thawed
1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons sumac
1/2 teaspoon garam masala (or ground cinnamon and ground cloves if you don't have garam masala)
2 tablepoons pomegranate syrup
3 tablespoons sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup mozzeralla cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
4 tablespoons melted butter

1. Thaw both sheets of puff pastry according to box directions but make sure to keep refrigerated until you're ready to use. In a skillet over medium heat, saute onions and garlic until fragrant; about 3 minutes. Add thawed and drained spinach and cook for 3 more minutes. Add sumac, garam masala, pomegranate syrup and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

2. In a small bowl, mix the garlic powder with the melted butter and brush on to an unrolled puff pastry sheet.  Sprinkle the entire sheet with half of each cheese. Followed by half of the spinach mixture and half of the sun-dried tomatoes.

3. Starting from the end closest to you, roll the puff pastry sheet up in a tight roll. Continue rolling and pinch the seams when you reach the end. Cut into 3/4" slices with a serrated knife and place on a baking sheet. Bake in pre-heated oven at 400 degrees until spirals are golden and puffy. Repeat with remaining ingredients on the second puff pastry sheet.


  1. salamu alaikum.. sis i have a private blog which i use for myself only, its where i keep recipes that i plan to make. Do you mind if a take this recipe and paste it on my blog. No-one sees except me and I only use it as a guidline not to say its my own.
    I will also put your name and your link on it. Hope its okay with you insha'Allah.

  2. Walaikum Salaam, as long as the appropriate link is provided, I'm fine with that!

  3. zabardast kya baat hai ;) mashaAllah!

    I will try making this next weekend inshaAllah.

  4. Oooh I love pomegranate syrup! I put it on groundbeef when I make them in pastries! Looks yummy! Make me some! Inhavent made pastries in ages due to low carb husband

  5. Wow these look delicious! I would love to try these out

  6. Asalamu3likum! :) these look absolutely delicious and I can't wait to try making them! I'm so happy to have discovered another Muslimah's food blog. :)

  7. Thanks so much, ladies! They were actually kinda fun to make, I was pleasantly surprised with the results too!

    Walaikum Salaam Nourhan, I always love meeting other Muslimah foodies! :)

  8. machallah i havnt stopped by in a while but i see i've missed much


Tell me what you think! As always, feedback and reviews are appreciated...happy cooking!