Is your family tired of the same old meals? Are you looking for an easy way to turn your old favorites into something special? Lucky for you there is one secret and easy to use ingredient that can help give some class to almost anything you serve. You might think this magical secret ingredient would be hard to find or cost a lot of money, but it isn't. In fact it can be found right in your local grocery store for under $5.00. So what is this wonderful food that will transform your meals? Frozen puff pastry. You know, that stuff that you probably never bother to use because it thought it was only reserved for Greek desserts and looks to delicate and difficult.
Well it's not, in fact, puff pastry is quite easy to use and very versatile and it's a wonder why it is one of the most overlooked foods you can use to cook with. Frozen puff pastry is easy and economical, it handles beautifully and needs no additional prep. It can be used to give a gourmet flair to a variety of staple meals and it works great every time. From your Friday night family pizza to that Sunday roast lamb, puff pastry can add a bit of class to any meal and make you look like a gourmet chef.
Of course, you might be most familiar with puff pastry when used for desserts. It can be used with a variety of fillings for a light, delicious dessert. When you server a puff pastry dessert your guests will think you spent hours baking when you can whip up something like this fruit tart in about 20 minutes. Fruit Tart 1. Thaw 1 sheet of puff pastry and cut into 4 pieces 2. Put 1 tablespoon of fruit into the middle of each of the 4 pieces 3.
Fold the opposite corners of the pastry into the center and pinch together with your fingers. 4. Glaze the tart with a milk and beaten egg mixture 5.
Sprinkle the top with sugar 6. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes For variations you can add different fillings or make a while pie using one whole puff pastry sheet for the bottom and another one for the top - either in a pie dish or just flat on a cookie sheet. There's no limit to what you can do with puff pastry.
Use cookie cutters to cut the pastry into interesting shapes - glaze and bake then use to garnish almost any dish. Put them on top of soups and stews or casseroles. Use them on chops or with eggs. The only limits are your imagination! One great use for puff pastry that even the kids will love is to make little mini pizzas by cutting the pastry into rounds and cover each round with grated cheese, sauce and veggies.
You an also use them to make little appetizers - use different shapes and top them with chili sauce, crab mix or anything you want. Cooking with puff pastry is quite easy but there are a few things you need to be careful of in order to get them perfect every time. One of these things is to make sure you cook them at the right temperature. You should, of course, follow the directions on the package but most ready made puff pastry "puffs" at around 400 degrees F.
Also, you must only give it a light glaze since if you add too much on it will cause the pastry to become soggy and not rise successfully. A light brushing of the egg wash with a pastry brush is all that is needed for perfect puff pastry. So now that the secret is out, you better rush to the supermarket and stock up on puff pastry before it's all gone!.
Lee Dobbins writes for Online Gourmet Foods where you can read more articles about gourmet foods and fine cooking.