I love both savory dishes and sweet desserts made with puff pastry. Adding flakiness and a crunch to any food is what puff pastry does. In other words, whatever it is added to is elevated to the highest level of “deliciousness”! Incorporating puff pastry into your cooking and baking repertoire is easy as well.

You can purchase ready made puff pastry from the freezer section of the grocery store OR you can make my “Puff Pastry in a Hurry” recipe which is available on a baking video on this website. It is also included in my newest book, “Baking with Success”.

Puff pastry can be used under foods, as in a tart or turnover, or on top of foods, as on a potpie. It is really foolproof and can be used as a great “fakeout”. By that I mean that you can look like you really slaved all day on a dish or dessert, but in reality, you only spent the bare minimum of time in the kitchen. It really is a win-win situation.

Here are some great ideas for using puff pastry and making it FAST:

  • A quick fruit tart. Roll out a rectangular piece of puff pastry and top it with thinly sliced apple or pear slices, or any other relatively dry fruit. Drizzle some caramel sauce over the fruit and bake it in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven until it gets nice and brown and puffed. Don’t allow the caramel to burn. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream!
  • A vegetable tart for an appetizer or a meal. Roll out a puff pastry rectangle or circle and brush the entire dough with melted butter. Sprinkle with some minced shallots, and bake in a 400 degree Fahrenheit¬† oven until puffed and golden brown. Remove from oven and spread the entire surface with some hummus, and top with a lightly dressed salad using arugula or mixed baby greens. Drizzle the entire surface with some high quality extra virgin olive oil and serve!
  • Individual pot pies. Make your favorite savory filling or stew with chicken or beef, pork or lamb. Allow it to cool thoroughly or make a day in advance. In greased, individual ramekins, add the stew almost to the top. Cut out circles of puff pastry that are large enough to cover each ramekin. Lightly brush the edges of each filled ramekin with some beaten egg, and place the puff pastry circles on top, and fit them over the edges pressing to seal. Brush the tops of each ramekin with some egg as well, make a few slits on the top of each pot pie with a knife, and bake them at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until the tops are nice and brown and the filling is bubbling through the slits. Serve at once!
  • Cut the puff pastry into small squares an cover each with some pesto and top each with a slice of soppressata or chorizo sausage. Sprinkle each with some shredded parmesan cheese. Bake on a parchment lined sheet pan at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 6-10 minutes or until the pastry squares are puffed and golden brown. These are yummy as an appetizer, as a soup topper or as funky “croutons” on top of a salad.

Try some of these ideas and let me know how they came out or if you have any other suggestions on how to use puff pastry.

Happy Baking!

Chef Gail