Tips & Techniques
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Our recipes follow 11 preparation techniques. Watch our demos to see the basic steps of each technique. Once you’ve learned them, you’ll be able to make any Puff Pastry recipe, and create your own!
Thawing & Rolling
Cutting Puff Pastry
What Size Brie?
The Melting Point
Add Your Own Twist
Puff Pastry Twists
Puff Pastry Wrapped Jumbo Shrimp
Prosciutto Asparagus Spirals
Southern Pecan Crisps
Jalapeno Poppers in a Blanket
Holiday Brie En Croute
Asparagus, Prosciutto & Fontina Tart
Parmesan Cheese Twists
Gouda & Apple Puff Pockets
Inside-Out Caramel Apples
Pear & Walnut Tarte Tatin
Herbed Chicken In Pastry
Puff Pastry-Wrapped Brie
Brie En Croute With Cherries
Apple Turnovers & Caramel Sauce
Asparagus & Parmesan Rolls
Brie En Croute
Puff Pastry can be stored in the freezer in the original packaging for up to 6 months.
Remove only as many pastry sheets as you need. Wrap unused sheets in plastic wrap or foil and return to the freezer.
Puff Pastry can puff up to 8 times its original thickness. That means even a sheet rolled to a thin ¼-inch thickness will rise 2 inches
Helpful Puff Pastry tools: Rolling pin, pastry board, sharp knife and/or pizza wheel to cut dough, pastry brush, baking sheets or parchment paper.
If you don't have a pastry brush, you can use the tip of a rolled-up paper towel or your fingertip to apply egg wash.
Puff Pastry should be eaten within a few hours of baking. Keep filled and prepared pastry in the fridge, covered in plastic wrap, until you're ready to bake and serve.
Thawing & Prepping Puff Pastry
Don't try to manipulate Puff Pastry that's not completely thawed; unfolding it while it's still frozen could tear the sheet.
Thawed Puff Pastry sheets should be cold to the touch but easy to manipulate. If sheets reach room temperature, return to the fridge to rechill (but not refreeze).
The quickest way to thaw Puff Pastry is to separate the sheets, cover each with plastic wrap and leave on the counter (away from the oven) at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
You can thaw Puff Pastry in the fridge. Separate and place each sheet on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and defrost in the refrigerator for about 4 hours.
Once Puff Pastry is thawed, work quickly while it's still cold. You can cut it into desired shapes, then store in the fridge until you're ready for the next step.
Puff Pastry works best when cold. So chill your tools—knife, pastry/pizza cutter, cookie cutters, even pastry board and baking pans in the fridge—while thawing your pastry.
Use a long, heavy rolling pin to roll out your Puff Pastry dough: it helps create a pastry that's even all over and you won't have to press down too hard to roll it out.
Avoid pressing too hard when rolling out the ends and edges—you want to avoid pressing the edge layers together, as that will prevent the pastry from rising.
Handling Puff Pastry
Work with one Puff Pastry sheet at a time, keeping the others in the refrigerator.
Heat is the enemy of Puff Pastry—it handles best when cold. So avoid working with it on hot, humid days, in a stifling hot kitchen or next to your oven.
Puff Pastry works best when cold. Your hands should be cold, too, when handling it. Run them under cold water or squeeze a plastic zipper-top bag full of ice to cool them off.
Try to keep Puff Pastry from becoming too warm when working with it by only using your fingertips—the coolest part of your hands.
If any cracks form while you're working with Puff Pastry, just rub with a little water and press to seal the dough together.
Use a marble pastry board to help keep Puff Pastry cold while rolling and cutting.
Use a floured surface to roll out your Puff Pastry sheet, but be sure to brush off excess flour before filling, cutting or folding, since flour will prevent layers from sticking together.
When cutting Puff Pastry, the sharper the knife or pastry cutter, the better. A dull edge can cement layers together and prevent pastry from rising.
Always cut Puff Pastry straight down, never on an angle, to prevent layers from sticking together and inhibiting the rise. Cut up and down, and don't drag the knife.
You can brush an egg-wash glaze (1 egg plus 1 tsp. water) over the Puff Pastry to create a rich, golden sheen when baked.
Use an egg wash to help seal filled pastries and connect Puff Pastry pieces: mix 1 egg plus 1 tsp. water, brush between layers, then pinch or press together.
When using an egg wash, be sure it doesn't run down the cut sides of the pastry, as that will make edges stick together and stop the pastry from rising.
If your Puff Pastry becomes soft and sticky while working with it, chill it in the fridge for a few minutes. Place in the refrigerator between rollings, too.
To seal stuffed Puff Pastries, pinch the edges together or press with the tines of a fork, just as you'd seal a piecrust.
Make sure the edges of your Puff Pastry are cut—a folded edge will not rise and puff.
Baking Puff Pastry
Always preheat your oven for a minimum of 15-20 minutes before baking, because Puff Pastry depends on even heat to rise and puff. Place pastries 1 inch apart.
If you want a flaky thin and crispy pastry that's not very puffy, prick the unbaked Puff Pastry all over with a fork, which lets steam escape while baking.
For a flatter pastry without much puff—like a Napoleon—prick the dough all over with a fork, place parchment paper on top, then place 1-2 cookie sheets on top of that to weigh it down.
If you're making a tart or filled Puff Pastry, place it on the baking sheet before adding toppings or fillings. That way, you won't have to transfer the dough with the extra weight and risk tearing it.
For extra-thin, crisp Puff Pastry, set a second baking sheet on top of the filled pastry before baking.
To create a tart with an extra puffy crust: take a knife and score two lines around the edge, then prick the area inside this border with a fork.
Puff Pastry fillings should be at room temperature. If they're hot, they can begin to melt the pastry layers, which will affect the pastry's ability to rise and puff.
The kind of pan you use can affect baking times. A nonstick or dark glazed baking sheet may bake faster, so adjust your time and check pastry while baking.
When baking Puff Pastry, note that it's done when it's golden and puffy, not wet and doughy. Use the baking time in the recipe as a guideline, and rely on your eyes as well.
You can bake Puff Pastry on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. For a more even rise, place a sheet of parchment paper on top of your pastry as well.
How to tell if Puff Pastry is done baking? Take a sharp knife and nick off a teensy piece to test for crispness and flakiness.
Always use a preheated conventional oven to bake Puff Pastry, never a microwave or toaster oven, as they can't achieve the right golden puffy effect.
If bubbles appear on the surface while baking Puff Pastry, prick with a fork to deflate them.
Always flip and place the cut side of the Puff Pastry down on the baking sheet.
Serving & Decorating Puff Pastry
A lattice pattern can be created by topping the Puff Pastry with a metal cooling rack, then turning it at a right angle halfway through the baking.
You can use a fluted ravioli cutter or cookie cutters to create decorative edges or shapes. To create circles, use a plate, bowl or water glass and trace with a knife.
You can use scraps to make cookies by sprinkling sugar and cinnamon on top before baking; or make cheese straws by doing the same with grated Parmesan and chopped fresh herbs.
Puff Pastry scraps can be twisted into shapes and cut with cookie cutters to make pastry decorations, but don't re-roll together with your dough, as it will not rise properly.
To add special texture and flavor, sprinkle chopped nuts, seeds, ground spices or grated cheese on top.
When serving Puff Pastry, cut with a serrated knife for the most even, attractive presentation.
Tips for Puff Pastry Shells & Cups
Remove as many Puff Pastry Shells or Cups from the package as needed. Rewrap any unused pastry Shells or Cups in plastic wrap or foil and return to the freezer.
Place Puff Pastry Shells or Cups on ungreased baking sheets with "top" facing up. Place Shells or Cups about 2 inches apart on baking sheet.
Always bake Puff Pastry Shells or Cups in a preheated 425° F oven. Do not bake Shells or Cups in a microwave or a toaster oven.
The top works well as a garnish.
Unfilled baked Puff Pastry Shells or Cups may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
To recrisp Puff Pastry shells, place them in a 400° F oven for 5 minutes.
Always bake Puff Pastry Cups in a preheated 400° F oven. Do not bake Cups in a microwave or a toaster oven.
What is Brie in Croute?
In French cuisine, the term "en croûte" translates as "in a crust," and refers to any food wrapped in pastry and baked. Brie en Croute is a recipe in which an entire wheel of Brie cheese is wrapped in puff pastry. When baked, the cheese becomes warm, melty… and completely irresistible! Brie en Croute is also referred to as Puff Pastry Wrapped Brie.
- Sweet Ideas
Customizing your Brie with additional flavors is easy and the options are almost endless.
- Any preserve or jam
- Fresh berries
- Assorted nuts
- Dried fruit
- SAVORY IDEAS
Be as creative as you like by experimenting with your favorite flavors!
- Sautéed mushrooms
- Caramelized onions
- Roasted garlic
- Roasted vegetables
- Any fresh herb (parsley, rosemary, thyme, mint)
- Cooked bacon
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Olive tapenade
- WHAT SIZE BRIE?
You can vary the size of the Brie wheel depending on the number of people you're serving. An 8-oz. wheel is perfect for serving 5 to 6 people. For larger gatherings, a 13.2-oz. size serves about 9 to 12 people and the 16-oz. size serves about 12 to 16. If your store is out of the 16-oz. size, just get two 8-oz. wheels. Remember that if you're using a larger size of Brie, be sure to roll out the Puff Pastry sheets so they're large enough to completely cover the Brie when you wrap it.
- THE MELTING POINT
You can vary the stand time according to how soft you like your Brie. The less time you let it stand after baking, the softer and more melted it will be. For example, if you're using an 8-oz. wheel of Brie and you like an average amount of melt, let it stand for 20 minutes. If you like more melt to your Brie, let it stand for 15 minutes. For larger sizes of Brie, let stand 45 minutes for an average melt, and 35 minutes for more melt. So in sum, the less time, the more melt!
- DECORATING THE TOP
To really wow your guests, add some decoration on top. Using the leftover scraps of puff pastry, cut out shapes like leaves, flowers, stars or letters—use your imagination! You can make "berries" by rolling the pastry into little balls. Before you bake your masterpiece, brush the decorations with an egg wash for that golden color.
- MAKING A BOW
For Puff Pastry Wrapped Brie, create a beautiful bow garnish on top. Cut leftover scraps into 5 strips about 3/4" each. They don't need to be perfect. Take two of the strips, loop them around, and bring the ends together to fashion a bow. Next, place two shorter strips at the bottom to create the tails of the bow. And finish with one last strip across the middle to tie it all together. (For reference, watch the Puff Pastry Wrapped Brie video from 2:29-4:05.)
- MAKING IT AHEAD
If you're planning to bake the Brie later, wrap it, along with the egg wash, in plastic wrap, brushing only the seams of the pastry until you're ready to bake it. When you are ready to bake, brush the entire surface of the pastry generously and entirely. This egg wash will give the puff pastry a beautiful golden brown finish.
- PRESERVE YOUR WORK OF ART
Besides helping you achieve that beautiful, deep golden color, you can also use your egg wash to secure your decorations/designs on top. The egg wash acts as a glue, and you'll have beautiful, puffed-up decorations that won't shift when baking!
- SET THE SCENE
Wonderful food deserves to be beautifully presented. People actually enjoy their food more when it's set on an attractive platter and a lovely table. That doesn't mean everything needs to be on silver trays. Instead, consider using platters made of various materials, from porcelain, glass and hand-painted ceramics to wood, woven baskets and copper. Pretty embroidered linens or tablecloths and of course, flowers, no matter how large the bouquet, are always a nice touch.
- WINE PAIRINGS
The rich creaminess of Brie combined with flaky Puff Pastry calls for a dry, fruity wine like a Chardonnay. If you like red wine, try a light, grapey wine such as Beaujolais Nouveau or a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. For special occasions, Champagne and sparkling white wines make an excellent addition.
- NON-ALCOHOLIC PAIRINGS
Because Brie en Croute goes so well with a fruity wine, likewise it goes nicely with most fruit juices. Chardonnays have overtones of apple, pear, citrus and melon, so some good choices would be lemonade with seltzer, apple or white grape juice with a sprig of mint or a twist of lime. You could also match the ingredients inside to your beverage. So, if you have dried cherries or cranberries in your recipe, try a cranberry spritzer.
- ON THE SIDE
Embellish your table with food that complements your Brie en Croute. Some ideas: fresh fruit (grapes, kiwi, apple slices, strawberries); dried fruit (dried cranberries, raisins, dried pineapple); roasted and salted nuts, good olives, cornichons or gherkin pickles, brined caperberries and, of course, Premium Quality crackers .
See what other Puff Pastry fans are talking about and join the discussion!
Brie en Croute in the Blogosphere!
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Re-heating Brie en Croute
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PUFF PASTRY WRAPPED BRIE (SIMPLE BRIE EN CROUTE)
Now, this is the classic version—just the basics, but in perfect proportion. However you decide to serve it (with your own creative additions or in its pure form), you'll get compliments from everyone who tries it.
DRIED CHERRIES, PECANS AND ROSEMARY BRIE EN CROUTE
Fruit, nuts and herbs are the classic counterparts to cheese. Here, they add just the right amount of crunch, tartness and zest.
HOLIDAY BRIE EN CROUTE
In this festive version, cheese is topped with cranberries, fruit preserves and almonds. While it's great for the holidays, it's also fantastic served any time of year.
BRIE EN CROUTE
Toasted almonds and fresh parsley add a flavorful contrast to warm, gooey cheese and flaky pastry.
WHAT SIZE BRIE?
Find out how to choose the right size Brie wheel for your needs.
THE MELTING POINT
How melty do you like your Brie? Get timings based on your preferences.
ADD YOUR OWN TWIST
Get suggestions for making your Brie en Croute your own unique creation.