Puff Pastry: Making Dinner and Your Love Life Easier One Box at a Time

I love to cook, but when it comes to baking, my enthusiasm fades. Cooking allows for spontaneity and exploration and baking requires precision and accuracy, which I have no patience for in the kitchen (I'm the exact opposite in all other aspects of my life HA!). Despite my aversion to baking, I do enjoy homemade goodies fresh from the oven and my secret to buttery, flaky baked deliciousness is puff pastry.

Puff pastry can be found in the freezer section of the grocery store and usually costs around $4 per box. It acts as a substitute for the dough of many desserts that would otherwise require tedious measuring and in my case, failed attempts to figure out which  ingredients need to be room temperature or ice cold. My two favorite recipes to use it in are vegetable pot pie and homemade toaster pastries.

 I use this recipe for homemade toaster pastries because it only requires a handful of ingredients and is quick and easy. In college I would make them when I invited a guy who I liked over to my apartment study. As a testament to their impressiveness, I will say I got two boyfriends from baking these. The way to a mans heart is through his stomach, right? I made a toaster pastry for dessert tonight and my partner, who was one of those two boyfriends, reminisced about the first time I made him one back when I was just that girl from the bar.

Vegetable pot pie is equally delicious in my book even though it requires a bit more work. Below is the recipe I wrote for the cookbook I made as Christmas gifts in 2009. It is my favorite way to make pot pies, but unfortunately it isn't vegan friendly so it is out of my diet for now. I tried a vegan recipe tonight for dinner but it wasn't nearly as good so I thought I would share my older version instead.

Vegetable Pot Pie

6 Tbsp unsalted butter 1 ½ Tbsp heavy cream
1 cup slice yellow onion ¾ cup diced potatoes
¼ cup flour ¾ cup peeled carrots
1 ¼ cup vegetable stock ¾ cup frozen peas
¾ tsp salt ¾ cup celery
¼ pepper 1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 sheet puff pastry 1 egg

Melt the butter over medium heat in a large sauce pan. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Add the flour, reduce heat to low, and cook three minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly add the stock and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Simmer 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the heavy cream. Preheat your oven to 375◦. In a separate sauce pan, cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 8 minutes. Add the other veggies, except for the peas, and cook for 2 minutes. Drain well. Combine the sauce and veggies and mix well. Stir in the frozen peas and cayenne pepper. Divide the mixture between two ramekins. Roll out the puff pastry, making marks all over the surface with the prongs of a fork. Top each ramekin with the puff pastry leaving 1/3 of an inch hanging on all sides. Seal the edges with your fingers. Beat one egg in a small bowl and brush the top of the puff pastry lightly with the beaten egg. Insert both ramekins into the oven on a baking sheet and bake until the puff pastry turns a light golden brown. 

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