Making puff pastry from scratch is a labor of love, requiring one to painstakingly layer cold butter (or similar fat) between sheets of thin dough. It's a notoriously intricate process even for seasoned bakers to perfect, but the results are stunning: light, crisp, flaky layers perfectly matched for baking into savory and sweet treats.
Fortunately for us home cooks, there's an easy alternative: readymade, storebought puff pastry — available pre-rolled and, optionally, frozen. There's no need to be a certified chef to master the ingredients; meals that may have seemed out of reach previously, like meticulously presented desserts or savory tarts, can easily be made within 30 minutes, give or take. So, if there's a roll of puff pastry hiding in your freezer, or you've just brought some home from the supermarket, what are you waiting for?
The recipes we've gathered here (tried and tested by our resident Tasting Table recipe developers) are our top picks for celebrating the magic you can create with puff pastry. We've included baked treats oozing with gooey cheesy delights, plant-based protein powerhouses, and sweet desserts with juicy fruits, to mention but a few. Okay, no more teasing — get ready to roll, fold, and bake your way to your new favorite recipes for the weekly meal rotation.
Simple Apple Strudel
When it's cold outside, there's nothing quite like subtly tart, buttery, and sweet apples spiced with warm aromatics and enclosed in a crisp pastry to warm you up. Apple strudel is the epitome of comforting and delicious, and thankfully, you don't have to travel all the way to Austria, Germany, or other European countries for the real deal. Instead, you can make this traditional dessert in the comfort of your home.
Unlike traditional apple strudel, this recipe uses store-bought puff pastry. We're sighing in relief alongside you. This simple swap cuts the cooking time to less than an hour, making it an easy choice for beginners or seasoned bakers alike.
Recipe: Simple Apple Strudel
Sweet And Salty Thanksgiving Pastry Puffs
We know these are called Thanksgiving puffs — and the flavor is undoubtedly perfect for the holidays — but if you wait to make these one-bite petit fours, you'd be missing out. Tiny puff pastry pieces pushed into a muffin pan, topped with squeaky halloumi, caramelized bacon, dates, a drizzle of hot honey, and vibrant pomegranate arils? The recipe combines on-trend ingredients with a complex salty, sweet, tart burst of flavors, making the snacks ideal for potlucks, parties, packed lunches, and celebrations.
Best of all, there's minimal cooking and prep involved. Cut the pastry sheet into 2-inch squares, fry off the bacon, assemble everything, pop in the oven, and wait 15 minutes — easy as pie.
Cream Cheese And Prosciutto Pinwheels
Pinwheels may look fiddly, but in reality, they're anything but. All you have to do is take a sheet of frozen puff pastry, spread over a generous helping of cream cheese, layer on sliced prosciutto, slather over pungent and spicy Dijon mustard with freshly chopped thyme, and, finally, scatter grated parmesan over the surface. Rolling up the dough, cutting it into pieces, and baking is the only thing left.
We're sure this modern and sophisticated take on ham and cheese rolls will be the most popular thing on the dinner table. Who can resist oozing cheese?
Show-Stopper Mushroom Pithivier
French cuisine is renowned for its elegance. The mushroom Pithivier, a delectable dish described as a round, enclosed savory pie, lives up to that reputation. It takes its name from the French town of Pithiviers, believed to be its place of origin.
Our recipe uses intensely savory wild mushrooms with an earthy flavor and meaty texture, cooked in heaps of garlicky butter. We deglaze the pan with wine, then add classic flavorings like French mustard, peppery fresh thyme, plus crème fraîche to add creaminess. Enclosed in a buttery pastry, it's a must-try for plant-based diners, and since you can bake the mushroom Pithivier from frozen, it's ideal to make in advance, too.
Recipe: Show-Stopper Mushroom Pithivier
Flammkuchen (Puff Pastry Pizza)
You don't need a wood-fired oven or a fancy pizza stone to make pizza. In fact, you don't even need pizza dough. This fun recipe uses readymade frozen puff pastry as an unconventional pizza base for a little-known German recipe, flammkuchen. The puff pastry perfectly replicates the airy, crispy crust the German pizza is known for, but with none of the hassle.
Of course, this dish is the perfect chance to get everyone together in the kitchen, as you can pick out individual toppings. Start with the puff-pastry base, then add a peppery, nutmeg-lacked white sauce made from crème fraîche, and finish with toppings of your choice. We keep them simple since people typically enjoy flammkuchen as an appetizer, but there are no strict rules.
Recipe: Flammkuchen (Puff Pastry Pizza)
Baked Malaysian-Style Curry Puff
Are you looking for a surprising, crowd-pleasing recipe to bake with that extra sheet of puff pastry lying around? If so, we've got just the thing. These Malaysian-style curry puffs, known locally as karipap, are irresistibly flavorsome.
Stuffed with a tempting mix of ground chicken and potatoes cooked in an aromatic, thick sauce enriched by coconut milk, Malaysian curry powder, tomato purée, and plenty of onions, garlic, and ginger, the puffs have a big flavor payoff without much effort. You could easily make them meat-free, too. Recipe: Baked Malaysian-Style Curry Puff
Funfetti Napoleon Cake
One of the most impressive desserts we can think of is the Napoleon cake, also known as mille-feuille, meaning "1,000 layers" in French. Traditionally, it's an exquisitely layered concoction from layers of crispy puff pastry with rich, custard-like pastry cream.
We've adapted the traditional dessert, combining the childhood classic Funfetti cake with the fancy Napoleon. Now you've got the refinement of the original dessert with all the colorful celebration of the sprinkles essential to Funfetti. Plus, we've made the dish easier to execute by switching out pastry cream for a sweetened mascarpone layer. If we say so ourselves, it's even tastier.
Recipe: Funfetti Napoleon Cake
Cheesy Caramelized Onion Tart
Onions are quite possibly one of the most basic pantry staples you can imagine. Essential for pasta, curry, soup, and so much more, we really couldn't do without them in our kitchens. But with just a sheet of puff pastry, two onions, and some cheese, you can elevate the simple ingredient to the star of the show.
You'll need to cook the onions for around 40 minutes, but all that time is worth building the nuanced, complex layers. Once done, we choose Swiss and Parmesan cheese to sprinkle over the pastry — a natural match with the sweetness of the onions. Serve hot or cold with a light salad.
Recipe: Cheesy Caramelized Onion Tart
Parmesan Pastry-Wrapped Brussels Sprouts
As the saying goes, you either love or hate them — and we're firmly on the side of loving Brussels sprouts. They're exceptionally tempting if you jazz them up by roasting the sprouts in olive oil, freshly cracked black pepper, and sea salt flakes.
And, as if that wasn't enough, we toss the golden sprouts, tender in the middle and crisp on the outside, with sharp and nutty Parmesan cheese. Once done, we roll the sprouts in strips of puff pastry, toss them in the oven, and sprinkle over more cheese before gobbling them up. It's the perfect side for any festive meal.
Savory Mushroom And Lentil Hand Pies
Who said vegetarian food lacks interest and flavor? These mushroom and lentil hand pies are here to combat that myth. Not only are they packed with an intensely earthy and nutty flavor from cooked (or canned) black lentils and loaded with natural umami from rich mushrooms, but the dish boasts tons of plant-based protein, too.
Combine leeks, carrots, and mushrooms with a handful of secret seasonings like balsamic and soy sauce — this is key — to boost the meaty flavors. Cutting the pastry into squares, spooning on the filling, and folding them into triangles is so easy the whole family can get involved.
Asparagus Goat Cheese Tart
We don't mean to tell you what to do, but... when asparagus is in season, dash to the store, buy a bundle, come home, and make this asparagus and goat cheese tart immediately. It's tantalizing moreish — guaranteed to impress people who aren't big fans of the mild, tender vegetable.
Shockingly, you only need four ingredients: thin asparagus spears, ready-made puff pastry, crumbled goat cheese, and a dash of dried thyme to finish it off. The recipe is straightforward, foolproof, and works as an appetizer, delicate lunch, or mouthwatering side dish to a larger meal.
Recipe: Asparagus Goat Cheese Tart
Spinach And Sun-Dried Tomato Puffs
Is there a better flavor combination than sundried tomatoes and spinach? We'll wait. These two ingredients invoke Mediterranean sunny days spent eating tasty nibbles and drinking wine by the coast. While we may not have that luxury, each bite of these vegetarian puffs transports you into that Mediterranean state of mind.
The dish is unbelievably straightforward; we start by sautéing sweet onions, garlic, frozen spinach, oily and smoky sundried tomatoes, tart goat cheese, and then add two eggs for binding. Bake the puffs in a muffin tin for easy shaping, and serve with peppery arugula and a homemade dipping sauce to complete the meal.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.