I recently tried using some purchased puff pastry. Mind you, I have never made puff pastry from scratch. Seeing that the dough available at my local bakery is butter-based though, I thought I would give it a try. I have been avoiding vegetable oil shortening in my baked products, it’s on my big “DO NOT EAT THAT IT IS NON-FOOD” list.

Butter-Based Bought Puff Pastry

I thought I’d split this package of dough in half to try two different things: to make Something Savoury, and to make Something Sweet.

For Savoury, I used the veggies that were at hand: brussels sprouts, potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, mixed up with bits of goat cheese.

In the Sweet half I used some thawed blueberries that I’d mixed up with an egg and a bit of brown sugar and had previously stored in the fridge. I really have no idea why I’d mixed the blueberries, sugar, and egg in the first place… perhaps I was going to try to make a pie or a custard.

Mixed Veggies and Goat Cheese

In any event, the methods for making both Savoury and Sweet treats were the same. I cut little rectangles, plopped some of the filling inside, and then pressed another rectangle of dough on top. Pinched the edges. I poked the tops with a fork (it told me to on the packaging… I think it allows more air to get inside, causing the “puffing” effect). The Savoury puffs, I pressed little almond slivers into them. This was because I adore veggies with almonds, and also because I was curious what would happen with the puff pastry.

Puff Pastry with veggies, goat cheese, and almonds

 I baked the puffs for the prescribed amounts of time and temperature listed on the packaging.

I was happy with the results for the Savoury Puffs. They were actually pretty good. The Sweet Puffs, however, I wasn’t so impressed with them. I think the problem was that my frozen blueberries had been thawed, and therefore were a soupy mess. Oh, and they’d been mixed up with a runny egg, too. Because of this, I couldn’t pack enough filling into the puffs, so the dough/filling ratio was off-kilter. The next time I try this (and, oh, yes, believe me there will be a next time…) I will use frozen blueberries (or fresh!), no egg, and just a dash of that brown sugar. Perhaps instead of the sugar I’ll use some apple for sweetening. Here’s hoping they’ll be good enough to share!

I think it is good to experiment a little with cooking, and to learn from our mistakes. If anyone has any suggestions for “how to use puff pastry” please don’t hesitate to share some tips in the comments!

Ah, the Blueberry Puffs were good, just not quite good enough...

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

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