Puff pastries are the perfect ending to a meal or a delicious way to treat yourself during the day. More often than not, puff pastry dough is widely used in French desserts and is a staple ingredient in French culture. Often confused with phyllo (a Greek and Middle Eastern pastry dough), puff pastry is a lighter and flakier alternative. Phyllo dough does not puff up in the same manner.
There are several popular desserts that are constructed around the use of puff pastry. Cream puffs, better known as profiteroles in French, are probably the most widely recognized form of puff pastry. Simply put, a cream puff is a baked puff pastry shell filled with cream, custard, or ice cream and lightly dusted with powdered sugar.
Turnovers and tarts are another popular use of puff pastry dough. Both desserts utilize puff pastry as a vehicle for fruit or compote and made to resemble a hand held pie. Strudel is similar to a turnover, however, strudel has an oblong construction where as a turnover is folded into a triangle shape.
Crescents or “Croissants” are another quick and easy puff pastry treat that make a great breakfast. For chocoholics, bake a square of chocolate into the puff pastry and enjoy. This is also known as “Pain au Chocolat” in French.
For those with kids around, puff pastry twists sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar are a fun and elegant way to make a hand held treat.
Napoleans are another delicious (and French) dessert. By taking vanilla and chocolate custard and alternating it between several layers of puff pastry, you will eventually have a unique looking dessert.
So next time you have a sweet tooth, try one of the many puff pastries that are out there. Or better yet, roll up your sleeves and try making a puff pastry of your own.