1. Food

Puff Pastry Pinwheels (a.k.a. Ninja Stars)


A favorite Finnish holiday pastry

Puff Pastry Pinwheel with Prune Filling

photo ©Kari Schoening Diehl, licensed on 1/30/2012 to About.com
Anyone who is familar with the cookbooks of America's own "Scandinavian Chef," the wonderful Beatrice Ojakangas, is familiar with the "Finnish Christmas Stars" that she demonstrated to Julia Child on this memorable episode of "Baking with Julia." Here's a simpler version for those pressed for time - easy to throw together when your child reminds you at the last minute that he was supposed to bring baked goods to a club meeting (you'll also score a few points if you call them, as my sons do, "Ninja Stars"). Of course, if you'd like to have a go at making your own Danish puff pastry, our Guide to German Food, Jennifer Meyer, has a great step-by-step tutorial here. While these delicate pastries typically encase a luscious prune filling, they're also quite nice when filled with cloudberry, lingonberry, or rosehip jam.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: Makes 30


  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed but not unfolded
  • 10 tablespoons prune filling, cloudberry, lingonberry or rosehip jam
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • Sparkling or pearl sugar


Preheat oven to 400°F. On a floured counter, roll the folded length of puff pastry into a 9" x 15" rectangle.

Cut the pastry into 15 3" by 3" squares. Place a teaspoon of prune filling or jam in the center of each square. Then, carefully cut diagonal slices from the four corners of each square toward the center, stopping just before (about 1/8") you reach the jam.

Whisk together the egg and the milk, then use it to brush the four sides of each square well.

To make the pinwheels, fold the top left-hand corner of each square down over the jam. Moving around the square clockwise, fold the left-hand corner of the three remaining sides into the center. Transfer the pastries to a parchment paper- or silpat-lined baking sheet (note: don't omit this step, since the pastries will super-glue themselves to a bare pan if the jam seeps out while baking).

Brush the pastries with the remaining egg wash, then sprinkle generously with sparkling or pearl sugar.

Bake in the oven for 7 to 10 minutes, or until puffed and golden.

Per Serving: Calories 39, Calories from Fat 10, Total Fat 1.2g 2%, Saturated Fat 0.7g 3%, Trans Fat 0.0g, Cholesterol 9mg 3%, Sodium 32mg 1%, Total Carbohydrates 6.8g 2%, Sugars 4.2g, Protein 0.4g, Vitamin A 1%, Vitamin C 1%, Calcium 0%, Iron 1%

Please follow me as I explore the latest trends and developments in the exciting New Nordic Cooking Movement on Twitter ~ Friend me and let's share favorite Scandinavian recipes and cooking tips on Facebook!

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.