I have written about my cousin Esther’s wonderful cooking many times before, and this holiday season I want to share the recipe for her easy, super scrumptious Cream Cheese Appetizer Wrap. Fried onions, bacon and creamy cheese are encased in a pastry shell that oozes gorgeous cheesiness when you cut it. Served on crackers, it’s one of those addictive appetizers that no one wants to move away from at parties! When we visited Esther in the summer, she let me take photographs while she made this wonderful treat, and very kindly agreed to let me share the recipe with you.
Regular readers will know I prefer to cook from scratch, but every once in a while I find the odd shortcut can be really helpful, and I do use use Pillsbury Crescent Rolls from time to time for special treats. In the UK you can use the croissant dough which comes in tubes in the chilled pastry section of most UK grocery stores. This show stopping appetizer is one I make often, and it always gets rave reviews.
I have made this without the bacon, and although I like it best with, if you are serving those folks who don’t eat bacon, simply substitute 1 cup of finely chopped mushrooms and a half cup of finely chopped red pepper for the meat.
2 packages of Pillsbury Crescent rolls
(when I make this at home in the UK I use 3 of the Jus-Rol croissant tubes)
3 to 4 packages of cream cheese
(square packages if possible – Esther uses Philadelphia Cream Cheese)
1 tablespoon oil (I use olive)
1 large red onion, peeled and chopped fairly finely
1 large package bacon, chopped
(If you are making this in England, be sure to choose ‘streaky bacon’. You will need about 10 rashers. Alternatively, use 2 cups of cubed pancetta.)
a large handful of parsley, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350°F (about 170°C or 160°C for a fan oven). Lay the crescent rolls on a lightly greased baking tray. Place the cream cheese blocks on top, using a knife to work the blocks together, eliminating the seams as much as possible. If you are using cream cheese in the UK (which generally comes in oval containers instead of squares) simply soften the cream cheese a bit before making the recipe and ease it together with a knife so you can wrap the pastry round easily.
Heat the oil in the frying pan and sauté the onion until it begins to soften. Add the bacon (or mushrooms and red pepper) and fry until done. Lightly stir in the parsley, and spread the mixture over the cream cheese.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Serve warm, on a large platter with a knife alongside for cutting. I serve this with a big basket of assorted crackers nearby. This always disappears so quickly, I often make two!
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