Recipe – How to Use Leftover Puff Pastry

tracing the edge of pastry dough around a plate with a knife

Sometimes there are recipes that create leftovers.  I don’t mean leftovers of the finished result, but bits of the ingredients that you wouldn’t necessarily use again because they would go bad before you could use them.  When I made the spinach artichoke pull-apart bread, there was a ridiculous amount of leftover puff pastry.  Because while the bread that I made was circular, the pastry itself was rectangular.  In this blurry photo you can see how much I had leftover after tracing the edge of the plate with my knife.  It was a lot.  I know how good puff pastry is, and thought it would be a crime to waste so much, so I took the cooled pastry, put it in an airtight container and popped it back into the fridge with the intention of using it in the very near future.  That would turn out to be the next day, and it would be for dessert.

My default idea for using puff pastry or extra bits of pie dough is automatically going to be cinnamon sugar.  This is what my mom and grandmother used to do with leftover bits when I was growing up, and so it just seems natural to me.  But I think it would be very easy to have a savory version too, as long as whatever you sprinkled on the dough/pastry was powdery enough.  My first thought here would be grated parmesan (the kind that is not sold refrigerated and comes in the plastic can would be perfect here) and garlic powder.  Or if you were very delicate about how you placed the cheese, you could do something a little spicier you could have Mexican-style shredded cheese with Tajin.  Basically, anything you could stick to pastry that would make it delicious.

And how do you stick your topping to the pastry?  You’re going to need melted butter and some kind of pastry brush.  Get that butter nice and liquid-y, and then generously slather it on.  This is not the time to be shy with butter.  Make sure you have enough on the pastry pieces so that your topping will stick.  And then be quick about adding the topping because you don’t want the pastry or dough to absorb all the butter before you have a chance to enhance it with delicious goodness.

Once your pastry is adorned, pop it in the oven at 425 F for about 10 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed up.  You’ll then want to drop the temperature down to 375 F for another few minutes to finish baking your treats, and to get them perfectly dried out and crisp golden-brown.  This is more something you’ll need to do by sight.  If you need more information on using store-bought puff pastry for baking, I highly recommend this article by The Kitchn.  And then you’re done!  Let the pastry cool just a little bit before you bite in (you don’t want to be me and perpetually walking around with burned-off taste buds), but puff pastry does not get better with age.  If you have a plate full of gussied-up scraps, eat them as soon as you can.  The Boy and I enjoyed munching on this mountain of airy-sweet goodness while watching TV one evening, and it was a pleasure.

If you’ve got other ideas for good topping combinations, leave them below.  But in the meantime, be sure to use your pastry scraps.  It’s good for your budget, your trash can, AND your tummy.

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