• Tarah Cantrell

Leftover Puff Pastry? Try This!

Updated: Aug 5, 2019

Updated 8/5/2019:



When we were kids, my mother would take us on epic grocery shopping journeys in the hopes that she wouldn't have to leave our little town to go to the 'big city' of Anderson again for at least another week or two, and while these trips generally weren't any fun at all, there was one very real exception.


About once a month, the "bread store", as my mom called it, would have an epic sale. The "bread store" in question was actually a last-chance saloon for old staples that were about to expire, as parodied on The Middle. (If you're wondering about what my life was like growing up in central Indiana, look no further than this TV show. Seriously.)


On these days, my mom would pile us in the van and buy enough bread for the entire month, getting most of it for free because it was literally going to expire the same day. Thankfully, mom was also the queen of the deep freezer, so most of the loaves would go directly into that behemoth of a machine before it could be rendered completely inedible. Plus it was mostly white bread anyway.


But I digress. We would visit this processed foods Mecca and buy up what felt like the entire shop. What I remember most about these trips is Hostess mini-donuts and deep-fried hand pies. While nothing can replace the sheer joy (and inevitable stomach ache) that came from eating what has gone completely out of fashion for being a deep-fried, corn-syrup-filled snack, my little leftover pastry hand pies and tarts come in a very close second. And they're not deep fried. AND they have actual fruit in them.


Sweet treats are my my absolute favorite things to make, especially with puff pastry. I don't have to tell you that there's nothing like pastry with sweet filling, and when you try to make these adorable and very easy little tarts you may never use pastry for anything else ever again!


(Just kidding--let's be real here, you're going to make these sausage rolls and use the leftover rough puff to make the recipe below, right??)





Extra Pastry Tarts and Hand Pies


Yield: approx. 24 tarts per 2 sheets of puff pastry

Time: 45 minutes


Ingredients: 2 sheets of puff pastry

Fruit compote of your choice (my own recipe to come!)

or

1 jar of jam of your choosing (strawberry and blackcurrant both work very well--see note below the recipe)

1 egg

Tools: bowl

fork

rolling pin

ruler

knife

a mug or cookie cutter

pastry brush

silicone baking mat or parchment paper

cookie tray

oven

tablespoon or teaspoon

Method:


Assemble and Bake:

Allow puff pastry to thaw for 20 minutes until cold but workable.


Preheat your oven to 350°F or 200°C.


Crack the egg into the bowl and use the fork to whisk the egg until it becomes liquid in texture. Sit the egg aside.


Dust your surface and lay out the first sheet of puff pastry. Roll out until it measures approximately 1/8" or 2mm thick.


Using your knife, cut the pastry into 12 rectangles of similar size. (Even better, cut out shapes using a mug or cookie cutter!)


Sit six of the pastry pieces onto a parchment lined baking tray, at least 1/2" or 4mm apart.


Spoon about a tablespoon of fruit mixture or jam into the center of 6 of the pastry pieces.


Take the other 6 pieces of puff pastry one at a time and, after dipping your pastry brush in the egg wash, brush all the edges of the piece. This will serve as the hand pie's seal.


Place the lid of each pie onto its fruity companion and crimp around the edge with a fork or your fingers.


Score the top of each pie with your knife.


Using the egg wash, gently brush each pie on the top.


(Optional Step) To make these hand pies that little bit more like the ones I remember from the "bread store", take about a tablespoon of sugar in your hands and sprinkle it lightly over the egg washed hand pies just before the go into the oven.


Bake the pies for 12-15 minutes or until a puffy golden brown.


(Optional Step) Repeat the steps for the second sheet of puff pastry.


Allow the pies to cool thoroughly before enjoying them. They are best eaten the same day, but leaving them in a covered dish overnight should be perfectly safe. I don't recommend putting these into the refrigerator though, because they become too soft.



To better suit your specific needs, I have also included a couple of variations and notes that have worked well for me in the past.


The Leftover Pastry Method: Switch Out Jam for Homemade Fruit Compote


I'm not sure how it happens, but almost every time that I make sausage rolls I end up with leftover rough puff. Rather than keeping it and eventually forgetting about it until it becomes too old to work with, I developed this recipe to use up those extra scraps--generally two to four squares.


Take a couple of teaspoons of jam and place them in the center of the squares instead of creating a compote as above. Be careful not to put too much in each as this method can become quite leak-prone.


Bake them alongside the last of the sausage rolls and they'll be golden, hopefully literally.


Tarts Instead of Pastries: Twice as Much Jam or Homemade Fruit Compote


Are you low-carb slumming it? Perhaps you just really like the taste of fruit, and the vehicle by which it enters your mouth is secondary. But most likely you ended up with an odd number of leftover pastry squares.


In any case, instead of creating lids for your pastries simply lay each of the leftover squares directly onto the parchment.


Take a fork and poke the center of the pastry so that it creates a well for your compote or jam. Try not to poke all the way through, but if you do no worries; you may just have a soggy bottom on your hands. (I just had to; sorry not sorry.)


Place a couple of teaspoons of the compote or jam over the center.


Use your brush to wash the sides of each pastry square with egg.


Bake these alongside your sausage rolls or a few hand pies. The pastry will puff around the fruit as it bakes, making a pastry tart.


Allow them to cool, top with a dusting of powdered sugar, and bob's your uncle.


A Note About Using Ratios of Fruit and Sugar


When making the fruit compote, I have found that it is easier to measure in parts rather than with traditional measurements since I generally want to make only enough compote for a few tarts or hand pies. However, if you're measuring enough for two full sheets of puff pastry, I suggest using 1 cup of fruit and up to 1/3 cup of sugar to make the compote. As stated earlier, I plan to write a recipe for this but in the meantime let the above ratio be your guide.


If These Aren't Leftovers...


Feel free to substitute pie crust for puff pastry. I do this regularly, and it makes the cutest hand pies ever. Just be sure to increase the bake time to 22-26 minutes. The only exception is using the tart method; you're better off just making traditional tarts in that case, I promise.


A Final Note About Fancy Equipment (Or the Lack Thereof)


You really don't need a pastry brush for this. Use the back of a spoon or even your kids' fingers--just be sure to have them wash with soap first!


Did you try these homemade riffs on the hand pies that my siblings and I shared as a kid? Let me know what you thought of them below!

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