Compass Cooking Part II: Turkey Pepperoni Pizza and Basil Pesto Pinwheels

12 Nov

As promised, this post contains the awesome pinwheel recipes! I really liked making these for a large guest event. Each batch of dough made 40 pinwheels – 20 of each kind. I decided to make two types for the Compass Improv Festival: Turkey Pepperoni Pizza Pinwheels to suit both the meat eating performers and Basil Pesto Pinwheels for the vegetarians. Both kinds were amazing; however, I have learned that people will inhale anything that involves pepperoni. I always seemed to run a bit short on these during the festival. Basically, these are an easy crowd pleaser.

Turkey Pepperoni Pizza Pinwheels that were also dubbed Pepperoni Cupcakes

The beautiful thing about this recipe is that the dough base for the pinwheels is incredibly versatile and can be made days, weeks or even months before you need it and stored in the freezer. I have used this dough recipe for pizza crust and I have yet to have a batch fail. You can also add fun things to the dough. I have made a chili, lime cilantro version of this dough, and for the pinwheels I made it a black peppercorn parmesan dough. And the pinwheel recipe as a whole is extremely versatile. You can roll anything you want up in the dough. You could make sweet dough and roll cinnamon and sugar in for quick cinnamon rolls. You could do ham and Swiss or Rueben pinwheels with corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss and Thousand Island dressing. But enough stargazing about the endless possibilities of pinwheels, here is the actual recipe.

Basil Pesto Version

Black Pepper Parmesan Pizza Dough
Dough recipe adapted from Annie’s Eats

½ cup warm water (about 110°)
1 envelope (2 ¼ teaspoons) instant yeast
1 ¼ cups water, at room temperature
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups (22 oz.) bread flour, plus more for dusting
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¾ cup finely grated Parmesano-Reggiano
2-3 teaspoons ground black pepper
olive oil or non-stick cooking spray for greasing the bowl


1. Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup.  Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast swells, about 5 minutes.  Add the room temperature water and oil and stir to combine.
2. Put the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix slowly until combined.
3. Add in the Parmesan and black pepper and mix slowly until combined.
4. Slowly add the liquid ingredients and continue to mix at low speed until the dough comes together.

Sticky dough wad

5. Stop the mixer and replace the paddle with the dough hook.  Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  It will look kind of like an elongated ball mostly clinging to the hook.

Smoother, well-kneaded dough wad

6. Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.  Punch the dough to deflate it – my absolute favorite part.

Dough wad waiting to rise

That moment of relief when you know the yeast worked!

7. Divide the dough in half, forming each half into a ball.
8. Place the dough balls in an oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Let it rest for 10-30 minutes.
9. If you want to make a pizza: place a pizza stone in the lower third of the oven.  Heat the oven to 500° for at least 30 minutes.  Then dust a cutting board, or pizza peel, or as I found to work best and edgeless cookie sheet with cornmeal and place dough on top pushing it into that typical round pizza shape. Top your pizza with what you like, slide it onto the hot pizza stone. This can be tricky and you will likely mess up the first time like I did, but that is ok. You will get a hang of it. Bake 8-12 minutes until crust is brown and cheese is that lovely golden color.
10. If making pinwheels: generously flour a flat surface and roll out the dough into a large, thin rectangle. This takes some work because the dough likes to spring back, but be patient. Then follow the directions below for the pinwheels and repeat with your second ball of dough.
11. If not using right away: tightly wrap in plastic wrap and bung it in the freezer. It will defrost over night in the fridge for when you want to use it, or on the counter during the day.

Ready for flattening

Ready for toppings

Turkey Pepperoni Pizza Pinwheels

1 batch of pizza dough (1 of the 2 balls of dough made from the recipe above)
Half can of pizza sauce – use ONLY pizza sauce and NOT regular pasta sauce. Pizza sauce is thicker and sticks to the pinwheels better
1 ½ cups Italian cheese mix
3 oz turkey pepperoni slices

Basil Pesto Pinwheels

1 batch of pizza dough (1 of the 2 balls of dough made from the recipe above)
¾ jar of basil pesto or whatever kind of pesto you like
1 ½ cups Italian cheese mix

Directions for both Turkey Pepperoni Pizza and Basil Pesto Pinwheels

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Once the pizza dough is rolled out as described above, spread either the pizza sauce or the pesto depending on your choice. Allow a 1 ½ inch border without sauce (or any toppings) along one of the long edges.
3. Sprinkle with cheese and then evenly distribute the pepperoni if you are using it.



4. Now the tricky part – rolling it up. I found a pastry scrapper to be very helpful. Starting at the long edge WITHOUT the toppingless border, so the edge with toppings all along it, carefully, and tightly roll the dough pushing toppings in as need be. As you roll, be sure to brush off excess flour. No one likes eating baked, loose flour.

All rolled up and divided in half to better cut the roll evenly

5. Once rolled up, squeeze along the roll to just tighten things up.
6. With a very sharp knife, cut about ½ to ¾ inch slices for about 20 total slices.

Sliced roll

7. Place each slice in a cupcake tin and bake for 20-25 minutes.
8. Allow to cool slightly on a wire wrack and then serve immediately.

In oven goodness

This will be enjoyed by all!


Posted by on November 12, 2012 in Appetizers, Snacks


2 responses to “Compass Cooking Part II: Turkey Pepperoni Pizza and Basil Pesto Pinwheels

  1. Amy

    November 12, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    I just love your recipe posts. I am going to make the turkey pinwheels to snack on with my family while they are here for Thanksgiving. They look just right for little savory tidbits!

  2. cocobock

    November 12, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Thanks, Amy!


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