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Adlen Robinson: Using Puff Pastry
puff pastry stock
Photo by amirali mirhashemian on Unsplash.

Believe it or not, there are some food items that are just worth purchasing instead of making from scratch—and for those of you who are long-time readers, you know I almost never say that. One such ingredient is puff pastry. 

Of course, it is possible to make puff pastry from scratch, but it is an arduous process. Opening up that box from the frozen case at the grocery store and thawing the pastry in your refrigerator is infinitely easier and yields fantastic results.

Before we get to some recipes, here are a few tips for using puff pastry. 

Puff pastry likes to be very cold—so if you are working with the dough and it becomes “doughy,” simply stick it in the freezer until it chills and firms up. Also, for most recipes, use an egg wash and brush it over the pastry—this gives it a beautiful golden finish and also acts as a “glue” for sealing edges. 

Let’s make some puff pastry deliciousness.

Herby Quiche

  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator

  • 4 eggs

  • ¾ cup crème fraiche

  • ¾ cup heavy cream

  • 1/3 cup mixed fresh herbs, such as parsley, thyme, and chives, minced

  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • Pinch of cayenne

Roll out puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Fit pastry into a pie plate. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, crème fraiche, heavy cream, fresh herbs, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and cayenne. Pour into pie plate and bake at 400-degrees for 30 minutes. Cool slightly on a rack before slicing and serving.

 

Easy Beignets 

  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator

  • Powdered sugar

  • ¼ cup avocado or vegetable oil 

Cut puff pastry into 1 ½-inch rectangles. Heat oil in skillet and fry the puff pastry until golden, flip and fry the other side. Drain on paper towels and dust with powdered sugar.

 

Mushroom Spirals

  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed in refrigerator

  • 1 ½ cups mushrooms, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

  • 2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

  • ½ cup Gruyere, grated 

Melt butter in a skillet and saute mushrooms until very soft, 8-10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and thyme leaves. Allow mushrooms to cool. Roll out puff pastry on lightly floured surface. Spread out cooled mushrooms onto pastry, leaving a border. Sprinkle with Gruyere. Roll up into a log. Slice into 6 slices and place on an oiled, 8-inch round cake pan. Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for 35-40 minutes until golden. Cool for 5 minutes and then invert onto a plate.

 

Baked Brie 

  • 1 sheet puff pastry

  • 1 8-ounce wheel of brie

  • 1 egg mixed with 2 teaspoons of water

  • Mango chutney or favorite preserves for serving

Roll out puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Trim pastry to a 12-inch round. Place brie wheel in the center and fold the corners into the center. Brush with egg wash, pressing to seal. Flip over onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush all over with egg wash. Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for 25 minutes. Serve with mango chutney or other preserves.

 

Cheese Danishes 

  • 1 sheet puff pastry

  • 6 ounces cream cheese

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 2 egg yolks

  • 2 tablespoons sour cream

  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • Egg wash, made with 1 egg and 2 teaspoons water

With an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, sugar, egg yolks, sour cream, vanilla extract, and salt, mixing until smooth. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface. Cut into four, 6-inch squares. Brush with egg wash. Spoon cream cheese mixture into center of each square. Fold corners into the center until touching. Brush with more egg wash. Bake seam side up in a 400-degreee oven for 20 minutes.