Here are just two wonderful renditions of the no-fail party snacks: one savory, one sweet. Fillings are not set in stone, naturally. Feel free to offer your own. The main focus here is the versatile and delicious flaky cheese-based dough. It’s so easy to make, it’s almost ridiculous. Because the dough is not sweetened at all, it can take both savory and sweet direction. When choosing a sweet filling, sweeten it a bit more than normal, since the dough isn’t sweet.
When baking, watch for the color of the dough, it should reach lightly golden stage, not brown. You may need to rotate the baking sheet, if your oven is not baking evenly. If you are baking on two trays, swap trays midway through baking time, to achieve more even browning on all sides.
Note: some of the photos were taken by a phone camera at a party, so they don’t look as pretty as they should. Let this not discourage you, I assure you, the sweet swirls were gone within fifteen minutes of serving, picture or not.
The dough is best when worked in a chilled state — it’s easier to slice. If you find yourself working with it a bit too long, to the point it becomes too soft, I suggest you roll it up, wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes to let the dough harden, then remove from the fridge, unwrap and slice.
Cheese Swirls, Sweet and Savory
Yields about two dozen swirls
Both fillings are made for the entire batch of dough. If you like to make both, either double the dough or cut fillings in half.
- 8 oz farmers cheese, ricotta cheese, or dry curd cottage cheese (California style)
- 8 oz lbs butter
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- Dump flour onto the working surface, add salt and soda, run your fingers through flour a few times to mix salt and soda in.
- With a knife of a dough scraper, cut in the cheese and butter into the flour, until pea size crumb forms.
- Add egg yolks and work in until the mix is just combined uniformly and resembles the dough.
- Shape into a ball, wrap in plastic and chill at least 30 minutes, or until needed.
- Rolled the dough on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 3/16″ thick.
- Spread the filling evenly over the entire crust, leaving about 1/2″ of dough on one edge uncovered.
- For savory version of the filling, spread the meat first, then chopped eggs, and finally grated cheese.
- Carefully roll the dough up into a scroll and seal the unfilled edge securely.
- Roll the scroll back and forth on the surface, to give it a more uniform thickness throughout.
- If the dough is very soft, wrap the scroll in plastic and chill for 30 minutes to harden.
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF (180ºC)
- Line a baking sheet with parchment.
- With a sharp knife, cut the scroll into 1″ inch slices. Flip each slice on its cut side and place on the baking sheet. Readjust the slice to give it a more round shape if necessary. Leave at least one inch space between swirls, they will expand during baking.
- Bake in the middle of the oven for about 30 minutes, or until swirls are golden and filling is cooked through.
- The swirls will be still soft when ready, so after removing them from the oven, give them a few minutes to harden before removing them from the baking sheet.
- Transfer onto a rack and cool until manageable.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
- 3 egg whites, room temperature
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- dash of ground cloves (optional)
- Whip the egg whites until soft peaks form
- Constantly whisking, add sugar in small portions (about 1/4 cup at a time)
- Add vanilla (and ground cloves) and whisk again.
- Carefully fold in the walnuts
- Proceed with step #5 in the Dough section
- 1 lbs ground beef, lamb, or any sausage
- 2 tbsp butter for cooking onion and garlic
- 1 large onion (or several shallots), finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- spices to taste, your favorite kind, I use curry, garam masala, or Italian mix, depending on the meat. Most cooking sausage comes pre-seasoned, so proceed with caution
- fresh herbs, finely chopped
- 4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
- 1/2 cup shredded cheese, such as gruyere, parmesan or similar hard variety
- Melt butter over medium heat in a skillet
- Add onions and garlic, and saute slowly, about 7-8 minutes, or until golden and fragrant, stirring occasionally. Don’t brown!
- Combine cooked onions and garlic with meat, season to taste, add fresh herbs and mix well.
- Proceed with step #5 in the Dough section