Puff Pastry: When Store-Bought Beats Homemade

There are three things I absolutely will not make at home. I haven’t even attempted them, and I won’t. They are: strudel dough, phyllo dough, and puff pastry. All three are time consuming, and in the case of phyllo and strudel, border on physically impossible. I don’t even have the space required to stretch strudel and phyllo, but that is not what keeps me from trying my hand at it. It just looks tedious, difficult, and not worth the effort. Especially when all three of these tricky doughs are available in the freezer isle of many grocery stores.

I may get in to strudel and phyllo later, but today I want to talk about frozen puff pastry. First, a warning:


Seriously, please do not buy it. It tastes like Pillsbury tinned croissants and has a similar texture. I was always loyal so Dofour frozen puff pastry, but it’s usually 12 bucks at Whole Foods, so when I discovered Trader Joe’s puff pastry, I broke it off with Dofour immediately. Taste and texture-wise, Trader Joe’s is comparable to Dofour and it’s a third of the price.

Puff pastry is great for making all kinds of sweet and savory treats. For example:

Parmesan Twists

Cut in strips, brush with egg wash, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, bake until puffed and golden.

Hand Pies

Cut into 4 even rectangles, egg wash the edges of two rectangles, fill with 2-3 tbs of compote, top with remaining two rectangles of dough, crimp edges together with fork tongs, egg wash top and sprinkle with sugar, poke a few holes in the top to let out steam, bake until golden.

Chicken Pot Pie

Top chicken stew or chicken casserole with a sheet of puff pastry, brush with egg wash, bake till puffed and golden.

However you use it, puff pastry is fancy and delicious, and the frozen stuff will save you an hour of folding, turning, rolling, and chilling.

Here’s a super simple apple tart made with frozen puff pastry, thinly sliced apples, sugar, and cinnamon.

Simple apple tart made with Trader Joe’s frozen puff pastrySimple apple tart made with Trader Joe’s frozen puff pastry.

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