Not So Guilty Pleasures: Puff Pastry

But not just any puff pastry. I am talking about the Trader Joe’s brand, which is perfectly simple, delicious and easy to use. Apologies to those without a TJ’s near them.

It's actually easier than pie to make a tart out of a frozen puff pastry shell and any fruit you have lying around.

I know from experience that most puff pastries you can pick up at a store have shortening in them, and that just won’t do. You see, puff pasty is layer upon layer of dough and butter. As the dough heats, the butter creates air pockets inside, creating the fluff we all love. TJ’s brand has only five ingredients: Flour, Butter, Sugar, Salt and Water. It can’t get any simpler than that.

That’s only partially the reason it’s a not-so-guilty-pleasure, though.

The second part is that it is super easy to use. For instance, last night I needed to make a dessert. I defrosted a sheet of puff pastry, and a bag of frozen blueberries. I mixed the blueberries with a tablespoon of cornstarch and some sugar (although they probably don’t need any) and put them in the middle of the pastry, rolled up the edges to form a make-shift tart shell, and baked at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. I then topped it off with a little fresh whipped cream.  Yum.

A few weeks back, I paid $6 for a pork tenderloin, also at TJ’s, stuffed it with dried apples, then coated the inside of the puff pastry with herbs and mustard, warpped it all up, and baked it to make a tasty Pork Wellington a la Alton Brown.

Both of these things looked like they took a sizable amount of time and effort. But they didn’t. Had I made the puff pastry myself (I really don’t recommend trying this, unless you enjoy failure or are a trained pastry chef) then it might have been more complicated.

The beauty is, you can pretty much do anything your heart desires. If you search for puff pasty on the Interwebs, you will find countless ideas and recipes, most of them ridiculously easy. I keep a few packages in my freezer at all times to facilitate the making of deliciousness.


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