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puff pastry square ideas?

I recently discovered Trader Joe's Puff Pastry, and I have to say, I'm completely hooked. Why did I spend all those years toiling away in the kitchen when I could have been popping pre-made puff pastries into the oven?!

I realize it's probably completely déclassé, but ... what are some of your favorite puff pastry square toppings? (Savory as well as sweet.)

Thanks.

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  1. fig jam and fontina, Danish not domestic. cut into square and pushed into muffin cups to bake

    Dijon mustard and parmesean cheese with black pepper grindings--cut into 1/2"x4" fingers

    1. - Duxelles with a bit of mascarpone
      - Napoleons with a raspberry coulis
      - goat cheese and tomato tart

      8 Replies
      1. re: chefathome

        Ina Garten has a great Spinach and puff pastry recipe in her Paris cookbook. It is really wonderful but I will leave out the pine nuts the next time that I make it. I had a bad reaction to Chinese pine nuts and apparently it is not that rare..... So, enjoy the recipe but leave out the nuts. Or, replace with other nuts! It is Spinach, Gruyere, eggs, and lots of yummy spices. It is easily found on the web. Hmm, I may have to make it this weekend!! Enjoy!

        1. re: rjlebed

          Huh. That sounds very cool, and in fact the house tonight is nut free. I will try it out. Thanks.

          The Barefoot Contessa was "First Lady" of my business school (hubbie was the Dean), but at the time I was unfamiliar with her work.

        2. re: chefathome

          Chef at home, hope you see this, or maybe someone else can answer. I made duxelles for a party Sat. (frozen now) and these 5" by 5" squares of puff pastry, also frozen. i think i will quarter them, getting 4 small squares out of each. I have cream cheese rather than mascarpone (tho that sounds really good!) once everything is defrosted, would i spread the cream cheese on in a layer, then the top layer of duxelles, sprinkle of fresh thyme, and bake? or would i bake the squares, then either spread the cheese/duxelle mixtures on top and just heat gently to melt a bit, or would it be better to bake squares, cool, SPLIT the squares in half so i have tops and bottoms, put spreads on one half and top with other, then again gently warm? sorry for asking for such detail, but i'm not sure which would work best. thanks!

          1. re: mariacarmen

            I think you'd found the spreading to be difficult. I'd defrost your pastry and your duxelles. Warm up your duxelle, then stir in the cream cheese so it's blended. Cut the pastry into your desired size and then put a dollop on each. Mush the duxelles mixture around so most of the pastry is covered, but leave an edge. Then bake. The part of the pastry under the duxelles will cook but stay flat, while the edge will puff up beautifully.

              1. re: katecm

                I'd suggest triangles rather than squares. A little neater to eat, and looks attractive.

                If doing bite-sized circular puffs. I like a dried prune or apricot (make sure they are moist, or plump them first) stuffed with almond paste (either) or dark chocolate (apricot).

                1. re: greygarious

                  good suggestion about the shape. as for fruit, i'm already doing them savory, already have the duxelles made. thanks!

            1. re: chefathome

              I like to do bite-sized squares topped with goat cheese and tomato, the topped with tapenade after baking. The bite-sized pieces are easier to do if you do a square of four, then cut them after baking; singly they are too small to manipulate comfortably.

              I also like to do pithiviers, both sweet and savoury. I started a thread here on pithiviers a couple of years ago.

            2. it's one of my favorite ingredients, as well. i was running late to a party last weekend and picked up the puff pastry as well as a log of the vanilla/blueberry goat cheese. sliced the cheese onto the pastry, baked, cut into squares...gone! they were really good, just good simple flavors. i also did a savory one with their artichoke bruschetta (jarred) and some grated parm, which was also really good. a fave that involves more prep is some really good carmelized onions with goat cheese.

              i find there isn't much that doesn't taste good on a puff pastry creation...it's a good way to use leftover whatevers.

              1. déclassé, pas; choix intelligent oui. Unless you're preparing food for royalty it is, IMO, a poor choice to spend needless time preparing items for the menu that you can obtain on the open market that are equal or nearly so in quality. Commercially available puff pastry offers such a great range of possibilities (as you pointed out, whether savory or sweet) that it has saved me many times, especially when I needed something at or near the last minute.
                Cooking down any kind of fresh fruit and stuffing puff pastry makes a fresh and "looks like you cooked for hours" dessert. I'll stuff puffed pastry with chicken or fish in a cream sauce, spinach and herbs, custards, left over stew or chili, and mixtures of cheese. I don't feel secure if I look into my freezer and don't see a package of puff pastry.

                3 Replies
                1. re: todao

                  Thanks for the reassurance. :-)

                  What does "stuff" mean in the context of commercial puff pastry? Do you mean that you push the stuffing into a single layer of commercial pastry (I can experiment) or that you create a pastry sandwich or roll?

                  1. re: fadista

                    you can create your own shaped shells by cutting the puff paste either with a knife or using sharp cutters, then "glue" it together into shape using an egg yolk wash. A favorite technique of Julia Child's.

                    ie use a circle cuttter for the bottom, and cut a larger circle for the op. Mound filling like a tidbit of smoked salmon on minced mushrooms sauteed with butter and shallots & sherry, ( a la ravioli) then brush edges of bottom with wash, top with larger circle of pastry, crimp edges with fork, egg wash over the whole thing, and bake.

                    Josephine Arrauldo (sp?)of SF taught a class locally and she used the "cut into strips method" brushed on dijon mustard, and called them allumettes--matchsticks.

                    I wouldn't try to separate the layers; you really can't see them when dough is raw, especially the commercial dough.

                    1. re: fadista

                      Sorry for the crude undefined term. When I stuff puff pastry I usually cut one piece to the size I need, top it with whatever I'm using to fill it, the place a mating piece on top and seal the edges. With just a little practice you'll learn how to manipulate your puff pastry (it can be a little temperamental when it's handled incorrectly and can refuse to puff where you want it to or seal where it's supposed to) to create final shapes that add a bit of style to your presentation.

                  2. fig preserves, caramelized onions, and goat cheese wi fresh thyme

                    fresh figs with quark, honey, and black pepper

                    what is it about figs, puff paste, and cheese?!?

                    I am also thinking about some fo the old fashioned gratins, like celeriac, done in puff paste instead of gratin dishes.