Pecan Pinwheels are a sweet tasty treat! With mascarpone cheese, cinnamon, brown sugar and pecans, we create a puff pastry dessert that is seriously delicious!
There are many things to love about a recipe that works for dessert or a snack! Here are the ones that I think you will enjoy the most:
- Quick, easy and simple to make.
- Easy to find, readily available ingredients.
- Effortlessly impressive, yet fuss free in creation.
- Taste, texture and unique flavours.
- Kid Friendly, Freezer Friendly.
- Take to a bake sale, morning tea or pair with coffee (many options).
- Versatile to serve with plenty of variations and substitutions.
This is a unique, original recipe you won't find elsewhere on the internet. I tried, I tasted, tested and gobbled along the way to make sure you had the pièce de résistance pecan pinwheel recipe!
The photo below is to show you the ingredients you need to make the recipe. It is a great visual guide when at the shops. For the exact quantities needed and detailed how to make guide, scroll to the recipe card below.
As you can see, the recipe calls for:
- puff pastry: I recommend store bought. You can keep some on hand in the freezer (it doesn't take up much room) and simply grab it out when needed. We need it to be thawed for the recipe, so you can put it in the fridge to defrost the night before if you wish.
- pecans: we use raw, unroasted or salted nuts. They will likely be in the cooking section (with the flours and cake mixes) at the store. You can either purchase whole nuts and crush with the food processor or you can use nuts that are already crushed.
- mascarpone: this will be in the fridge section of the store, likely in a small tub. It is an excellent ingredient to use for baking and sweet treats. The texture is soft and pliable. It tastes like cream, however it is a bit thicker in consistency.
- cinnamon powder: we use ground cinnamon (not cinnamon sugar) for the recipe as we add brown sugar to the mix also. Cinnamon sugar would make the filling very sweet and whilst nice, I prefer a balance, so ground cinnamon is my preference.
- honey: this is not shown in the photo above as it is an optional ingredient. I like to use it to drizzle over the pinwheels when I am plating them. It provides a lovely sticky, sweet texture and if you sprinkle pecan nut pieces on top, they stick very easily.
- cocoa powder: this ingredient is also not shown in the photo. That is because it too is an optional ingredient. I like to use it to dust the pinwheels as I serve them, it provides a very pretty effect.
Top Tip 1: Puff Pastry works for so many sweet and savory options. It is a handy ingredient to always have in the freezer, to whip up a quick recipe like this one!
The photos below are the step by step instructions to follow. We start by thawing the puff pastry and then making the filling.
- Combine mascarpone, cinnamon and brown sugar (Photo 1)
- Stir till consistently combined (Photo 2)
- Crush the pecans in food processor (Photo 3)
- Spread mascarpone layer, then sprinkle with pecan pieces (Photo 4)
The simple combination of mascarpone, cinnamon powder and brown sugar is what we use to fill the pinwheels.
It is thick, creamy and sweet.
Then simply sprinkle the crushed nuts over the top in their own layer.
Top Tip 2: If you don't want to use (clean) the food processor, you can simply add the nuts to a zip lock bag, push down to remove excess air and bang with the back of a spoon.
- Roll the pastry into a log, wrap, place in freezer (Photo 5)
- Cut the log into individual pieces (Photo 6)
- Place on baking mat (Photo 7)
- Bake for 25-30 mins (Photo 8)
I like to roll the pastry as tight as I can, so that the pinwheels are nice and 2-3 bite size portions.
Wrapping it in glad wrap and placing in the freezer means that it will be easier (and less messy) to cut.
Once you remove it from the freezer, the log is firmer, less filling will come out and you can simply place on oiled baking mat or parchment paper.
Top Tip 3: Some brands of puff pastry will have an end that has a little extra length on the backing sheet. It is easiest to start at this end when rolling.
Plating the pinwheels can be as easy as I have done in the photo above. A dust here and there, a sprinkle or two and a small bowl of sticky drizzle, you are set and so will your guests be!!
The best way to serve these pinwheels is hot and fresh from the oven (after they have cooled slightly as they crisp up a little).
Dusting with sifted cocoa powder and a drizzle of nuts with sprinkled left over nuts is my preference (it is easy, effective and looks pretty!)
Serve with tea, coffee, a glass of red or port.
Make them the star of the show, or serve alongside some other sweet treats to make a feast of it!
Substitutions and Variations
Whilst this recipe is delicious as is and I encourage you to try it, there are a few reasons why you might need or want to switch it up a little. Try some of the following ideas:
- use cinnamon sugar to dust instead of cocoa powder
- or you could use icing sugar (confectioner's sugar)
- drizzle with maple syrup instead of honey
- use cream cheese instead of mascarpone
Pop some of the whole nuts on the plate to let people know 'this is a recipe with nuts in it!'.
How to Guide
How to Serve
Serve the pinwheels from the cooling rack, not fresh from the oven. this will give the pastry a chance to crisp up and get flaky.
How to Freeze
To freeze the pinwheels, ensure that they have cooled down fully, then place in a sealed, air tight container.
They will last up to one month in the freezer.
How to Reheat
To reheat the pinwheels, simply remove from the freezer and allow to thaw.
Then place in the air fryer or oven and reheat until warmed through.
The microwave is not the best method to reheat as whilst it warms the pinwheels it does not result in flaky, crisp pastry.
Top Tips and Tricks
Here are my top tips and tricks to help you master the recipe from the very 1st time:
- the pastry needs to be thawed (soft), otherwise, it will crack when you try and roll it.
- stir the mascarpone filling thoroughly so that the cinnamon and sugar is mixed in well.
- roll the pastry into as tight a log as you can.
- ensure the oven is preheated when placing the pinwheels in to bake
- turn the oven off when they look down, but leave the tray in to cool for a bit.
- use an oven mit when removing the tray from the oven.
- use a silicon flexible turner to slide under the pinwheels and transfer them to a cooling rack.
- ensure pinwheels are fully cooled prior to storing or freezing.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between cream cheese and mascarpone?
Mascarpone has a more soft cream like texture than cream cheese. It spreads easily when you take it out of the fridge. Cream cheese is firmer and is best left to sit for a little bit before using as it will soften at room temperature.
How many calories are in a pecan pinwheel?
There are 110kcal in each pecan pinwheel.
Per one sheet of pastry, we make approximately 21 pinwheels.
Can I freeze puff pastry pinwheels?
Yes, you can free puff pastry pinwheels.
Allow them too cool after baking, then transfer to a sealed, air tight container.
Can you make pinwheels the night before?
Yes, you can make pinwheels the night before.
Bake them, allow to cool, then transfer to a sealed, air tight container.
Serve at room temperature or reheat to serve.
How far in advance can pinwheels be made?
You can make the pinwheels 24 hours (1 day) in advance.
Any longer than this then you are best to make them, allow to cool and store in the freezer (not fridge) till serving.
This gives the best chance of the pastry being crispy and fresh when reheated.
Is is sweet food, savory food or the pastry that calls your name in my baked goods recipe collection? These are the ones that I think will tick all of your boxes:
I know you will have as much fun with these pinwheels as I do, they work every time and are a delightful treat.
Bake on my friends.
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I would love to hear your feedback below, please let me know if you make the recipe!
- 1 Chopping board
- 1 Butter Knife
- 1 Mixing bowl
- 1 Spoon
- 1 Baking tray
- 1 Baking Mat
- 1 Oven Mit
- 1 Cling Wrap
- 2 sheets puff pastry Note 1
- 250 grams mascarpone Note 2
- 100 grams pecans Note 3
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder Note 4
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar loosley packed
- honey Optional, to serve
- cocoa powder Optional, to serve, sifted
- leftover crushed pecan nuts Optional, to serve
- Preheat your oven to 180°C / 350-375°F / Gas Mark 4-5.
- Remove puff pastry from the freezer and allow to defrost. Note 1
- In a small mixing bowl, combine mascarpone, cinnamon and brown sugar. Use a spoon to consistently mix together.
- Working 1 sheet at a time, lay puff pastry out on chopping board, dollop cream sugar mixture onto pastry and use a butter knife to spread into 1 thick layer.
- Place pecan nuts into the food processor. Blitz the nuts for 15 - 20 seconds so they are chopped into small pieces.
- Sprinkle the chopped nuts over the mascarpone layer.
- Starting at one end, roll the pastry to form a tight log. Wrap in cling wrap, then place in the freezer for 30 mins. Optional.
- Remove from the freezer, then use a sharp knife and chopping board to cut the log into individual pinwheels.
- Line a baking tray with a silicon mat or parchment paper. Spread the pinwheels out onto the mat. Use your finger tips to gently push together any pinwheels that have opened up.
- Transfer the baking tray to the middle rack of the oven. Cook the pinwheels for 20 - 25 mins. Once done, turn the oven off, but leave them in the oven as they start to cool.
- After 5 -10 minutes, use an oven mit to remove baking tray, place on heat proof surface and use a flexible turner to transfer cooked pinwheels onto cooling rack.
- To serve dust with sifted cocoa powder, drizzle with honey and sprinkle over left over crushed pecans (Optional).
- Note 1 We need the puff pastry to be soft and thawed. If it is still frozen it will crack when we try and roll it. You can put it in the fridge the night before you intend to make the recipe, so that it is good to go as needed.
- Note 2 Mascarpone cheese will be in the fridge section at the store where the cream cheese is sold.
- Note 3 For the pecans, either buy whole nuts and crush them in the food processor, or purchase pre chopped up nuts.
- Note 4 This will be in the herbs and spices section at the store. It is a finely ground version of cinnamon, sold in powder form. If you want you could use cinnamon sugar, however, we are also using brown sugar, so you might find the results overly sweet.