Puff Pastry Dough: Our Secret Weapon for Holiday Appetizers
Words Colleen Cleary
I love hosting holiday parties whether it’s a potluck with friends, a cocktail party for colleagues or even a family feast. Over the years I’ve learned one of the best party food hacks around can be found in frozen puff pastry dough.
First of all, puff pastry is impressive and it makes everyone think you’ve pulled off a major culinary feat. Secondly, it’s versatile — use it full size for a tart or cut it into smaller pieces for bite-size treats. Most importantly, it’s EASY. Pick it up at the grocery store and when you’re ready to use… defrost and voila.
Here are some of my favorite uses:
Brie en Croute
The basic recipe is to roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface with a rolling pin, place the brie in the center, and fold all 4 sides of the dough over the brie. Seal the dough by pushing the edges together. Brush with egg wash and bake for 22 to 25 minutes in a preheated oven at 425 degrees.
Here’s the fun part: before you seal the dough, get creative by adding different flavors, perhaps an apple compote? What about a bit of leftover cranberry sauce? Even store-bought jams work great.
Another one of my favorite uses for Puff Pastry is this recipe for Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pesto Pinwheels from Food Network’s Michael Chiarello. I made it one year for my parents’ New Year’s Eve Party and it was a huge hit. I added a bit of grated parmesan and a small sprinkle of salt on top of the pastries before baking and they came out great.
Last year, I was inspired by this idea for a Pesto-Stuffed Christmas Tree from Genius Kitchen. It came out adorable and tasted phenomenal. But if I were going to make it again, I’d make a template to keep the shape and slices more even.
Puff pastry dough is a blank canvas for a tart: just roll out the dough and top with whatever you’re craving – caramelized onions, mushrooms and olives work great, so does goat cheese and tomatoes, or any sliced vegetables plus a cheese is never a bad idea.
What do you like to make with puff pastry dough during the holidays?