When it comes to no-fuss appetizers that look like you spent hours in the kitchen, frozen sheets of puff pastry are your secret weapon. Here's how it works: thaw, cut, fill, bake, serve. Talk about effortless elegance.Puff pastry consists of hundreds of paper-thin layers of dough and butter. In the heat of the oven, these layers puff to impressive heights
, becoming crispy and golden.
Making puff pastry from scratch isn't terribly hard, but it does require a significant time commitment. Frozen puff pastry from the store is a convenient alternative and arguably just as good. Look for puff pastry made with all butter; these will be the tastiest. I love Trader Joe's brand, but Pepperidge Farm will do in a pinch (though the latter does contain some shortening).
Once thawed, a square of puff pastry presents a lot of possibilities. You can cut it into strips to make cheese straws, make cups to later fill with an hors d'oeuvres, top it to make a quick tart, or fold squares of it to make turnovers. You can go sweet or savory, warm or cold. Puff pastry is endlessly accommodating.
Here are a few ideas to inspire your next dinner party:
• How to Work with Frozen Puff Pastry
• How to Braid Puff Pastry
• Puff Pastry Cheese Straws
• Pistachio and Chive Goat Cheese on Puff Wafers
• Three Cheese Tomato Tart
• Melt in Your Mouth: 5 Nibbles with Puff Pastry
• Petite Palmiers
What's your favorite recipe to make with puff pastry?
Related: The Kitchn's Top 10 Tips for More Successful Baking