Easy Puff Pastry Twists with Za’atar
Easy Puff Pastry Twists shaped into buns and topped with sesame seeds! These little swirls are perfect to make ahead as an appetizer for parties! They’re loaded with a za’atar herb filling and topped with sesame seeds. Trust me, these are sure to be a hit!
Aren’t these the cutest little appetizers you’ve ever seen?
And the best part is that they look a whole lot fancier and harder to make than they are!
We start with a sheet of puff pastry, so there’s no knead to make your own dough. Then we’ll roll each sheet of puff pastry and spread it with a mixture of olive oil and za’atar. Folding it over and cutting it into strips and twisting the ends to create that perfect swirl pattern. If you can make puff pastry cheese straws, you can make this. All we do is take it a step further and create a swirl with the strips to create a spiral bun!
They’re a bit unexpected. When you bite into them, they’re buttery, flakey with layers of golden brown pastry. The filling is both herby and slightly tart from the sumac. And they look like you’ve purchased them from a fancy bakery! But no one needs to know that it’s just 6 ingredients and how easy they are to make.
How great would these be for parties on their own or as decor for a cheese board?
Ingredients for puff pastry twists
- 2 Sheets Puff Pastry Dough: I like to purchase all butter puff pastry if possible. I love the pastry sheets from Trader Joe’s and often stash them in the freezer for quick appetizers and desserts. You can also use other brands of puff pastry. Just be sure to follow the directions on the packaging on how to defrost them before preparing. They typically need a few hours on the counter or thawing in the refrigerator overnight.
- Za’atar Seasoning: Za’atar is a seasoning dried herb blend made with ingredients like thyme, sumac, cumin, red pepper flakes, and sesame seeds. It’s a blend that’s now easily available in many mainstream grocery stores. I usually buy mine from a middle eastern grocery store that makes it fresh in house, but don’t worry, I’m also working on a recipe!
- Olive Oil: You’ll want to use a good quality olive oil for this recipe. We’ll mix the za’atar and olive oil together to create a thick paste that we’ll dollop and spread on the puff pastry before slicing the pastry sheet and creating the twist.
- Flour + kosher salt: You’ll need some flour to roll out the puff pastry sheets with a rolling pin. I also like to add a sprinkle of kosher salt to the za’atar seasoning blend because mine didn’t contain any sodium. Feel free to also add a dash of cayenne or Aleppo pepper if you like things a little spicy!
- An egg: We’ll create an egg wash with a teaspoon of water and brush this on top of the pastry twists so that they bake up nice and golden in the oven.
- Sesame Seeds: I like to sprinkle the tops with additional sesame seeds because it looks so inviting that way! This is optional though, it’s really just for decor!
Instructions on how to make puff pastry twists
- Prep first. Start by lining your baking sheets with parchment paper. You can do this on two small sheet pans in batches or on a half sheet pan. Preheat the oven as well.
- Roll it out. On a lightly floured work surface, unwrap the pastry sheet. Dust the top with flour and gently roll out the puff pastry with a rolling pin to approximately a 10×13 inch rectangle.
- Make the topping. In a small bowl, combine the za’atar and the olive oil. Spread this on half of the puff pastry sheet gently with a spreading knife. Then fold the side without za’atar over the side with za’atar. Turn the puff pastry so that the it faces you lengthwise. And cut into strips using a pizza cutter. You’ll repeat the same steps with the second sheet of puff pastry.
- Twists. Cut each sheet into 6 pieces creating long strands. Grab the two ends and of the piece and twist them in opposite directions to create a twist. Keep twisting. Then place one end on a lightly floured surface and swirl the twist around create the knot. Tuck the end under the created spiral.
- Bake them until golden. Brush the tops of the swirls with a combination of water and a beaten egg. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired. I like to refrigerate the baking sheet for at least 20 minutes here so that the butter layers in the puff pastry solidify again and so that the puff pastry rises better. Then bake them until golden brown.
FAQs about this this cheese twists recipe
You can. You can prepare these all the way through and refrigerate them up to 3 days before hand. I like to reheat them at 200ºF in an air fryer for a few minutes so that they crisp back up before serving.
I think that would work! I would use akawi or mozzarella, it pairs beautifully with za’atar seasoning for the puff pastry swirls. But you could also use cheddar, parmesan cheese, or other types of cheese.
I think that should work just fine! I make my moms chicken puff pastry all the time and do just that! Don’t defrost these, you can bake them from frozen and just add an additional 2-5 minutes to the baking time.
I’m actually going to try this out with cinnamon-sugar next. I’m thinking something crunchy like a Cinnamon Toast Crunch variety! How delicious would that be! But you could also do a cacio e pepe inspired filling with black pepper, a little melted butter, and parmesan cheese. The possibilities are truly endless!
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- Gruyere Caramelized Onion Pastry Bites
- Hot Honey Cranberry Goat Cheese Balls
- Lebanese Meat Pies (Sfeehas)
- Cranberry Brie in Puff Pastry
- Greek Spinach Puffs
- 2 sheets puff pastry, thawed according to package
- ⅔ cup za’atar seasoning
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- Pinch of kosher salt
- Flour, as needed
- 1 egg + 1 teaspoon water, lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, for topping
- PREP: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper; set aside.
- ROLL: Sprinkle a clean work surface with flour. Unroll one sheet of puff pastry. Keep the other one in the fridge while you work. Dust the top of the pastry and a rolling pin with flour. Gently roll out the puff pastry into approximately a 10x13 rectangle. Roll out the second sheet of puff pastry the exact same way.
- COMBINE: In a small bowl, combine the za’atar, olive oil, pinch of salt, and toasted sesame seeds. If the olive oil mixture is too runny, add more za’atar. Spread this out on half of the prepared puff pastry. Place the side that didn’t have za’atar over the side that did. Cut each sheet of puff pastry with a pizza cutter lengthwise to create 6 long thin strips. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry.
- TWIST: Grab the two ends of a piece and twist it in the opposite direction to create a twisted straw. Place one side on the counter and twist the other side in a swirl pattern. Tuck the end under the created spiral.
- BAKE: Brush the tops of the swirls with the beaten egg mixture. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired. Refrigerate the puff pastry for at least 20 minutes so that the layers puff up better. Then bake for 18-24 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden and cooked through.