Puff Pastry User’s Guide

Reader Chana writes in with a special request/conundrum:

I recently made my first batch of puff pastry (following Nick Malgieri’s recipe/technique); it did come out okay, but mostly it was a wonderful learning experience. So now I have several half-pound blocks of puff pastry in the freezer. My overwhelming desire is to ignore them — what I really want to do is make another batch of puff pastry. But I think it would be best to wait until the summer and the humidity are gone. In the meantime — how about a column on 101 ways to use up puff pastry?

Well Chana, I don’t know about 101, but I can rattle off several for you. Perhaps some readers out there might want to chime in and help me! (Hint).

There are the classics: tarte tatin, Napoleons, fruit turnovers, cream horns, “shells” for appetizer or dessert fillings (vol au vent), as a wrap for beef Wellington or baked brie, as a bottom crust for sweet or savory tarts and as a base for a variety of cookies, notably palmiers. People also commonly use puff pastry for sausage rolls and pasties, and as a covering for pot pies.

As far as the non-traditional, the sky is really the limit. There’s every kind of appetizer you’ve ever seen. People use it to cover everything from salmon fillets to meat loaf, to make ersatz strudel, “phillo” pies, Danishes and croissants, I’ve even seen it used for mini cocktail pizza crusts. It can be used to make empanadas, baklava, I’ve seen it wrapped around chicken Kiev. I’m not endorsing all of those, mind you, just telling you what I’ve seen.

I hope that’s enough to get you started. More as helpful readers chime in!

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