All good things in life start with puff pastry: sausage rolls, sausage rolls, and dictionaries written by shit lexicographers. But puff pastry is more versatile than just providing a jacket for mashed up bits of pig. Puff pastry is noble, clever, and fills any dips in serotonin you may be experiencing with its wondrous fat to carbohydrate ratio. Also, it’s a totally acceptable thing not to make from scratch, because it involves hours of chilling and folding, and really should be left to experts such as Noel Fielding from the Great British Bake Off.
This blog post is a celebration of all things puffy, so go forth and enjoy, or go fifth and hate everything.
Look away, anyone who values Italian authenticity. This is fast food at its finest. Lick my clink.
2. Pie time
Make a stew. Any stew will do, but this one is good and conveniently, serves 100 people. When you’ve made your stew, let it sit overnight to muddle all the flavours. The next day, pile it into a big pie dish, top with puff pastry, and bake for 30-40 minutes at 200. You have to serve this with mash and gravy, or a Northerner evaporates.
3. Puff Pastry Lingerie
Cut out circles of pastry, mold them on your boobs and bake them (pastry, not boobs) to make the best fitting bra you’ve never worn. Cool before wearing. Bonus points for holding it together with strawberry laces.
4. Brie, bacon and cranberry cups
This recipe looks very fancy, tastes sort of middle-of-the-road-posh and requires very little skill. All you need is a muffin or cupcake tray and the self restraint not to eat all the cheese before you assemble everything.
Preheat the oven to 220. Fry or grill some bacon* let it cool and cut it up. Roll out your pastry quite thin, and slice it into roughly 12 equal squares the size of a gift-shop novelty coaster. Grease the muffin tin and lay each rectangle in each hole, pressing it into the corners to make a sexy orifice. Chop up a wodge of brie into thumb-sized chunks. Remember where you put the bacon. Retrieve the cranberry sauce from the fridge.
Place a couple of bits of brie and bacon in each pastry-well, and plop over a teaspoon or so of cranberry sauce. Fold the pastry edges in on top of your squodge and bake in the oven for like 12-15 minutes or until puffy and golden. Delicious with 8 liters of mulled cider.
*OK, I use pancetta, don’t @ me
5. Cheat’s cinnamon swirls
This is brilliant, costs very little money and takes very little time. Preheat your oven to 200ish and roll out your puff pastry into a rectangle. In a wee bowl, mix up a few tablespoons of sugar with a generous teaspoon of cinnamon, nutmeg and any other powdered substances you fancy. Spread some melted butter on the pastry sheet, sprinkle the sugar mix evenly all over and roll that bad-boy up like an annoying carpet. Make sure you smodge it quite tightly together or your swirls will unravel in the oven, just like you would. Slice the carpet pastry log into centimetre rounds, and lay them out flat on a lined baking tin, with space between them. Bake for like 10-12 minutes but watch them as they do burn quite easily.
6. Cut out the word ‘FUCK,’ bake it and gift it to someone. You have now given a fuck.
Oven, 220. Attitude, 11.
7. Cheat’s pain au chocolates
I did this in lock-down for Lewis because he’s a pastry fiend and I couldn’t be bothered with going to lidl. Also don’t tell any French people I’m writing this.
You cut out your puff pastry into squares. You chop up a bar of chocolate into rough chunks. Now, you lay like two strips of chopped dark chocolate chunks down each square, vertically, like in the middle but not quite in the middle. Gah, lemme explain that better. Pretend to divide your squares vertically into four equal strips. Don’t actually do it, just think about it. The inner two strips, right, that’s where you lay you chocolate chunks. That way, you get to fold the edges of your pastry over the chocolate and press down into the middle to encase the chocolate in both sides. Flip these (now rectangles filled with raw chocolate pieces) over and brush with egg (or soy milk if you a vegan) and sprinkle with some sugar before baking in a 220 oven for 12-15 minutes.
8. For a horrible Christmas surprise, replace the marzipan in stollen with raw puff pastry
They’ll be none the wiser – and probably quite angry and confused.
9. Puff Pastry Jam Bites
Ok so these work with any filling you have tbh, and I love making them. I sometimes do cheese and pickle just to pass the time, but diced apples tossed with sugar and cinnamon are a pretty good bet too.
Cut out twice as many circles from a sheet of puff as you have tablespoons of jam/nondescript filling. I find a tablespoon fits nicely in a puff pastry circle around mug-circumference size, but it does get very hot if you bake it, so remove the tablespoon before you put it in the oven. Scoop a bit of filling into the middle of each circle, then place another circle over the top and use a fork to shrimp the edges. Score the top with a knife, or they explode. That’s a threat. Brush with egg if you can be bothered, indifference if you can’t, and bake at 210 for 15 minutes. Don’t eat straight away because these discs are piping hot in the middle, a bit like planet earth, or a ravioli. Serve with clotted cream for ultimate yums.
10. Leave your block of puff pastry in the freezer for if a burglar comes.
Not so you can make him a nice snack, but so you can blunk him over the head with it. The bigger the puff pastry block, the blunkier you can get. These bastards freeze solid, and your run-of-the-mill crook won’t know what’s hit him. Like, he really won’t know.
So, there you go. 10 things to do with a block of shop-bought puff pastry. I hope you will do one of the suggestions at some point, and send me a picture of it on Twitter with the hastags #ToriesOut and #RuffMyPuff.