There's a reason puff pastry is so intimidating. There's just no way achieving perfectly golden, ultra-flaky bites could be simple. Right? Actually, thanks to pre-made frozen puff pastry dough, that notion couldn't be more wrong. These 11 puff pastry recipes are not only easy to master, but they also look and taste like you could run your own bakery.
The cronut craze may have simmered down, but our appetite for airy, layered donuts remains (as much as we wish we could squash that sweet tooth). To make these puffs of joy, simply brush puff pastry dough with egg yolk, fold the dough into thirds, freeze for 15 minutes, cut donut-size pieces with a circle-shaped cookie cutter, and either pop them into a deep fryer (props to you for having one!) or bake in an oven (our preferred method). Smother with homemade vanilla sauce, sprinkle with powdered or cinnamon sugar, or enjoy as is.
Sure, party platters covered in fresh produce, cured meats, and homemade dips are impressive (and beautiful), but sometimes the best appetizers involve a little ham and cheese—not the fancy kind. These five-ingredient pinwheels only take 10 minutes to prep and 15 minutes to cook, making them one of the easiest pastry recipes we've ever seen. The sneaky addition of Dijon mustard and fresh parsley also makes them all kinds of grown-up—if that's the vibe you're going for.
Add this to the list of pastries we thought we'd never be able to master at home. These turnovers are ready to eat in five simple steps (one of which is optional) and better than anything we've tasted at coffee shops. Start by making the apple filling and prepping the frozen pastry by cutting it into sections and then fill 'em up, fold and seal the dough, pop 'em in the oven, and appreciate your masterpiece for at least a minute before diving in. (Plus, it helps to let them cool a little.)
If you value mellow evenings but love a good get-together, try hosting brunch instead of dinner. The recipes are just as fun—if not more—and you can even incorporate cocktails, like mimosas. Better yet, brunch provides an awesome excuse to load up on hearty-healthy smoked salmon and palate-friendly cream cheese.
While bagels may be what you're picturing, we actually prefer popping the toppings onto freshly baked puff pastry squares to make them extra special. We love the simplicity of chopped chives and fresh dill, but the bites also taste great with chopped tomato, diced red onion, and a sprinkle of everything bagel spice.
Sometimes dessert really is the best thing for breakfast. (OK, not when it comes to nutrition, depending on the recipe, but how fun is starting the day with leftover pie?) For mornings when you're in need of a little treat, try this blueberry and peach puff pastry tart, which is as simple as thawing dough, brushing it with egg, filling it with fruit, and baking. You can even skip the sauce and opt for sprinkles of brown sugar if you want to keep it extra easy.
Pigs in a blanket just got a serious upgrade—and a green one at that. The recipe still delivers plenty of pig by bundling pancetta into the wraps, but the main stars are the asparagus spears and shaved Parmesan. The perfect appetizer, side dish, or hearty snack, these veggie-filled bundles are on at the top of our list when it comes to entertaining guests—and ourselves. Serve with roasted lean protein (salmon or chicken with lemon goes particularly well) or with a side sauce, like honey mustard.
Perhaps the most genius use of puff pastry dough is simply wrapping it around a hunk of Brie. Divine with only dough and cheese, this recipe jolts this dish into melty heaven by spreading fig jam on top of the circle of Brie and along the inner layers of the pastry dough. The only things left are the ever-important brushing of the egg yolk (this is what makes the pastry so golden—and prevents it from burning), a sprinkle of sea salt, and the patience to let it bake. Spread onto apple slices or crackers, or eat by the spoonful.
Sometimes the wheels on the bus go round and round, and sometimes they go directly into your mouth. After all, how could anyone resist wheels filled with four types of cheeses—please hold while we wipe up our drool—lots of savory spices, and even some hearty greens? Breakfast, brunch, dinner, lunch... these fiber-filled bites are great for any time of day. In fact, they're so good you don't even need an occasion or time of day as an excuse to gobble 'em up.
Don't let the shape fool you. These twisted danishes are just as easy to whip up as the rest of them—and they just happen to be a lot more fun. This recipe doesn't even save the best for the last. It actually starts with the best step, which is spreading Nutella all over the thawed pastry dough and sprinkling chopped hazelnuts on top. What comes next is another layer of pastry dough, simple slicing, a little twist, a little twirl, and you're done. (But don't tell your guests it was that easy.)
Sick of the same old egg dish? We feel you. Make things more special by breaking eggs into puff pastry bowls and cooking them with white cheddar cheese and a handful of chopped herbs (we're partial to parsley). For all you meat eaters out there, we love placing a piece of prosciutto under the egg so it bakes to crispy perfection. Prefer to live meat-free? Sauté sliced mushrooms with a splash of balsamic vinegar and pour on top of the pastry when it's ready to eat.
Oh, the beloved almond croissant. Do pastry dreams get better than this? Though we were hesitant to master this dish due to fears of eating almond croissants all day every day (wait, that doesn't sound so bad... ), we quickly changed our tune when we realized this recipe simplifies things by using almond extract instead of almond filling to provide that perfectly almond flavor. A little less sweet and a little bit smaller than the average bakery buy, this recipe makes us feel like we found a lovely happy medium. (Meaning we'll be eating them every other day.)