Since Cancale is the hometown of chef and master spice blender Olivier Roellinger, I end up with quite a few of his spice mixes blends in my cupboard at any given time. Some of them, like the Curry Corsaire which I use to flavor soups and mussels and my current favorite, Fleur de Feu, run out and get replaced fairly regularly. Others—the more sophisticated combinations that are not as easy to add to everyday cooking, tend to slip, forgotten, to the back of the spice cabinet. At least, until I remembered this recipe.
I used to make hundreds of these puff pastry twists with ground chipotle every weekend for brunch in one of the restaurants where I worked in New York. It occurred to me that the twists would be just the ticket for showcasing some of those Roellinger spice blends. (They’re also pretty wonderful with some plain ol’ ground black pepper.)
It’s nothing short of astonishing how well they go over, too. The people I’ve served them to seem to go crazy for the puff pastry crispiness and the little gourmet touch from the spices. They’re splendid with any kind of cocktail or a glass of beer, cider, or wine, and the broken bits (they’re a little fragile) taste pretty good in the kitchen, too.
Spiced Puff Pastry Twists
1 sheet of frozen, thawed puff pastry, such as Pepperidge Farm (vegan) our Dufour (all-butter)
1 to 2 Tbs. ground spice blends or plain spices, such as curry powder, garam masala, black pepper, cumin ground ancho or chipotle chile…you name it
kosher salt or sea salt
Preheat oven to 400˚F, and have ready a large baking sheet.
Unroll the puff pastry onto a sheet of parchment or wax paper. Beat the egg with 1 tsp. water and a pinch of salt. Brush the puff pastry all over with the egg wash, then sprinkle generously with the spice blend and lightly with salt. Slide the puff pastry sheet onto the baking sheet using the parchment or wax paper, and chill 15 to 30 minutes.
Slide the puff pastry back onto your work surface, Cut it into ½ to ¾-inch wide bands, then cut the bands in half width-wise so that each is about 3 to 4 inches long.
Twist each band 4 to 6 times, then place it on the (ungreased) baking sheet, pressing down on the ends to stick them to the baking sheet so that the twists don’t shrink. Bake 5 to 10 minutes (depending on the thickness of your twists), or until the twists are golden brown. Cool on the baking sheet. Serve the twists on their own or with a dip.