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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.)


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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.

                    1. Ratatouille

                      Artichoke Hearts mixed with a bit of cream cheese, mozzarella, parmesan, roasted red peppers, and parsley

                      Shrimp and such - saute some onions, cremini and shiitake mushrooms; add garlic and artichoke hearts; add shrimp and lemon zest, cook til pink then remove shrimp from pan; deglaze with some chicken broth and/or white wine; thicken with a little flour and butter, and fill baked puff pastry squares and drizzle with sauce. garnish with parsley.

                      Brie with Bacon and Cranberry (Sauce)
                      Brie with Bing Cherries, Hazelnuts and Rosemary

                      Ricotta, Pistachios and Chocolate Chips

                      Cream cheese blended with a dash of lemon juice, vanilla and sugar, then mixed with diced pear and white chocolate shavings

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Emme

                        I always do cranberry sauce and brie, never thought to add bacon. Good idea!

                        1. re: coll

                          Me, too--and me, either! :) But everything's better with bacon! And one step beyond that, candied bacon! I I like the cherries with hazelnuts and rosemary idea, too...very unique combo.

                          1. re: kattyeyes

                            also, for a sweet variation, omit the rosemary and do bing cherries, hazelnut, and a dollop of nutella... bc well, everything is better with nutella ;)

                      2. Almond paste and extra-bitter Callebaut chocolate discs.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: mnosyne

                          Ohmygoodness, yeah...that is the ultimate--talk about two great tastes that taste great together! Why don't you ever find croissants filled this way?

                          On the savory side, this is in my "gotta try it" file: Prosciutto Asparagus Spirals. Aren't they pretty?

                          1. re: kattyeyes

                            with the asparagus spirals, try using gruyere in place of the cheese spread. and adding tarragon. or, use neufchatel or boursin cheese and drizzle with truffle butter.

                            1. re: Emme

                              Mmmmmmmmmmmm! You're killin' me!

                            1. Mushroom, Butternut Squash, and Gruyere.....I just tried this one as an appetizer for Christmas and it went over very well.


                              1. No guava love? Guava paste and cream cheese aka:

                                Your friends will love you.

                                7 Replies
                                  1. re: mariacarmen

                                    mariac, I made them this morning; prep last night, baked in the am.
                                    My family loves guava and these are so simple to pull together last minute.
                                    I keep guava paste on hand all the time for quick desserts. It has so many uses
                                    and I find way too many good home cooks ignore guavas. Give the guava some love!

                                    1. re: HillJ

                                      What a great idea, I put that recipe in my files and it looks delicious. I'm looking forward to trying more desserts with guava here, thanks for that suggestion.

                                      1. re: lilgi

                                        wonderful, lilgi! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

                                      2. re: HillJ

                                        i love guava! but i just re-read this - so it's guava PASTE, not the actual fruit. somewhere else on CH i found someone talking about stuffing canned guavas with cream cheese and i tried that and LOVED it, so i think i thought the recipe you posted was some version of that, but just on puff pastry. i actually have some guava jelly at home, so i might try it with that first, before i buy guava paste. thanks!

                                        1. re: mariacarmen

                                          For this recipe, def. paste. Paste holds up to the heat and blends with the cream cheese nicely. Guava jelly will thin and melt in the pastry under the heat of the oven and I'm not sure that would provide a nice result for you. Guava jelly is delicious but not a sub for this puff pastry recipe.

                                          Athough, you could use cream cheese alone while baking and the guava jelly heated and drizzed on the top of the pastry after baking.

                                          1. re: HillJ

                                            sounds good, will have to try that! thx.

                                  2. I felt the same way a few years ago when I discovered phyllo pastry in my freezer section. Not that I had ever made it myself, but I knew what it was (from bakery baklava) and couldn't believe I could make it work at home! So I rolled up any and every vegetable / cheese combo for strudel, and made little mashed potato and mushroom "blintzes". Haha the filling didn't matter I was so in love with the shattery goldenness of that particular kind of crust. Of course I got around to baklava too.
                                    A recent try which would certainly go with puff pastry too was nice yellow Yukons, popped (from heat) mustard seeds, cumin, chopped onion, green chile, turmeric. The potatoes are boiled and chopped small. Mixed and mashed a little with cooked onion and spices. Now they are a filling for just about anything--I layered and buttered 3 sheets of phyllo, cut that in half, put a mound of filling on each half, folded each up like blintz. Repeat 'til filling is used up. Baked for 30 minutes 375F until browned.

                                    1. Pear and brie bites in puff pastry. Cut into small squares, push those into a mini-muffin tin, fill with a small chunk of pear, some brie, and a few pecans. Yummy, and good with spiced pecans as well.

                                      1. Creme schnittchen or Russian napoleon cake. For the schnittchen you need only sandwich a stiff vanilla pastry cream between two layers of puff pastry. For the napoleon, it will be many layers of pastry alternating with thick almond cream. Garnish with toasted almonds and powdered sugar.

                                        1. On the savory side, I made "Aussie" meat pies the other day with TJ's puff pastry. I can't vouch for the Aussie authenticity (it was a Rachel Ray recipe, so...) but it was tasty! You can find the recipe here: http://onedinneratatime.blogspot.com/...

                                          I also like to use it for a breakfast pizza, similar to this one: http://www.foodspiration.com/2009/02/...

                                          1. I was thinking the next time I get my hands on some puff pastry, I'll buy a salmon filet and wrap it around the fish with some herbs and butter (maybe a bit of dijon mustard).

                                            Would probably work great with chicken and any other meat (beef wellington), as well.

                                            1. When tomatoes come back into season, try this simple tomato tart recipe. It couldn't be easier, and it tastes heavenly. I always have to make several because they are gobbled up so fast. The original recipe comes from Canal House. http://www.aldenteblog.com/2010/09/ju...

                                              1. I've made excellent empanadas with puff pastry.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: letsindulge

                                                  i would love to try that...just wrap filling?

                                                  1. Thank you for this thread. Puff pastry is now something i will try...haven't ever done anything with it, other than the little mini cups and there are tons of great ideas here for it!

                                                    1. Try the Dufour Brand, usually Whole Foods carries it - I can't speak for TJ - but Dufour beats the pants off of Pepperridge Farm.

                                                      Also, they (Dufour) just came out with chocolate puff - haven't tried it yet, but I'm sure it's awesome.