Roasting the jalapeños for this spicy snack gives them a more intense, richer flavor that I think is well worth the effort. If you prefer to skip this step, raw peppers will give you a sharper, brighter flavor.
8 large jalapeno chiles
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp salsa, preferably fresh
1/4 tsp granulated garlic
1/2 17.3 oz package frozen puff pastry (one sheet), thawed
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (2 oz)
1. If you choose to roast the jalapeños, line a baking sheet with foil for easy clean-up. Split the peppers in half, lengthwise, and remove the seeds, then place cut side down on the baking sheet. Broil on the top rack of the oven until darkly roasted and blackened in spots. Remove the jalapeños to a zip top bag or covered bowl and allow to stand and steam for 10-15 minutes. This will loosen the skins. Peel and dice the peppers and set aside.
2. If you prefer raw jalapeños, cut out the stem and seeds, then finely dice and set aside.
3. In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, salsa, and granulated garlic, mixing until completely blended. Set aside.
4. Preheat the oven to 400° and position the rack in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with foil and/or spray lightly with cooking spray.
5. Unfold the sheet of puff pastry and press or roll out the seams. Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the pastry, then sprinkle on the diced peppers. (Use your own judgement in how many peppers you use. Save any unwanted peppers to flavor another dish. They may be frozen.) Top everything off by sprinkling on the shredded cheese.
6. Roll the pastry into a log and cut into 1/2″ pieces. Place the pinwheels on the prepared baking sheet, leaving a little room between each. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the pastry is beginning to brown. Cool slightly before removing to a serving platter.
Yield: 20 pinwheels