I always crave a treat after dinner. But who has the time or energy to bake desserts from scratch? Fortunately, the solution to satisfying your sweet tooth is simple: Stock up on ready-made ingredients that eliminate multi-step preparation and allow you to turn out “homemade” baked goods quickly.
One “lazy” dessert must-have is puff pastry. This flaky dough makes the perfect base for confections like cinnamon rolls, danishes, and croissants. Plus, it’s sold in the freezer aisle — so you don’t have to use it immediately. Keep reading to learn why pre-made puff pastry is a half-homemade baking staple, and get three tasty recipes that bake in under 45 minutes.
Puff Pastry 101
Unless you’ve got extra time on your hands, using pre-made puff pastry is preferable to making it yourself. Creating puff pastry from scratch requires repeatedly folding hundreds of layers of butter or fat between dough. It’s a tedious but necessary process, as it’s what makes the pastry puff up as its baking, creating light and flaky desserts. But just because it’s necessary doesn’t mean you have to do it. The good news is that you can get the same result using the ready-made version.
Store-bought puff pastry typically contains two sheets of dough per package. Puff pastry should be stored in the freezer, and only allowed to thaw in the fridge or at room temperature when you’re ready to use it. The thawing process may take a few hours, but some brands include instructions for thawing puff pastry in the microwave in minutes. Once completely thawed, pre-made puff pastry is a baking shortcut that lets you indulge your dessert cravings in a flash.
3 ‘Lazy’ Puff Pastry Desserts To Try
The options are endless for baking with puff pastry. Start with these three simple recipes that yield tasty results every time!
Easy Strawberry Danish by PetiteCakeryBlog.com
- 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
- ½ block (4 ounces) cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup plus 6 tablespoons powdered sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Handful of strawberries, thinly sliced (or your favorite berries)
- White sugar, for sprinkling
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons milk, divided
- Prep: 15 min
- Cook: 15 min
- Total time: 30 min
- Yield: 4 large pastries
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Combine cream cheese, ¼ cup powdered sugar, and vanilla in bowl and set aside.
- Cut puff pastry into squares and fold as you like. Place cream cheese filling in middle of pastry, and place strawberry slices on top.
- Combine egg and 1 tablespoon milk; brush mixture on top of pastry before placing in oven for golden brown finish. Lightly sprinkle each danish with white sugar.
- Place in oven and bake at for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. To make glaze, mix together remaining 6 tablespoons powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon milk. Set aside.
- Once baked, drizzle danishes with glaze and allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.
Chocolate Croissants by Nigella Lawson
- 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
- 1 (100-gram) chocolate bar (milk or dark, depending on taste)
- 1 egg beaten
- Prep: 20 mins
- Cook: 15 mins
- Total time: 35 mins
- Yield: 12 small croissants
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Unroll pastry sheet and cut into 6 squares.
- Cut each square diagonally to yield 2 triangles (they will appear small). Position triangles with widest edge facing you.
- Break off ½-inch pieces of chocolate and place ¾-inch above the pastry’s wide edge nearest you.
- Carefully roll from wide edge towards point of triangle.
- You should now have something resembling a straight croissant. Lightly seal with fingertips and gently curl into crescent.
- Place chocolate croissants on parchment-lined baking tray and brush with beaten egg. Bake 15 minutes until golden brown, and puffy. Cool 10 minutes on wire rack and enjoy.
Cinnamon Rolls by RealSimple.com
- 2 sheets puff pastry, from a 17-ounce box, thawed
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- All-purpose flour, for dusting
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
- 6 tablespoons packed brown sugar, divided
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Prep: 10 mins
- Cook: 20 mins
- Total time: 30 mins
- Yield: 16 cinnamon rolls
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Lightly coat countertop with flour to avoid sticking, then unfold 1 sheet puff pastry and lay on floured surface. Using pastry brush, coat entire surface of dough with thin layer of the beaten egg. Evenly sprinkle mixture of 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar on top.
- Gently roll up puff pastry as tightly as possible, starting on long side of dough. Take your time. When fully rolled, tightly close seam by pinching and pressing your fingers. Cut roll crosswise into 8 same-size pieces. Lay each cut-side up on half of lined baking sheet, making sure to space them out evenly.
- Repeat same filling, rolling, and slicing with second sheet of pastry. Evenly brush each cinnamon roll with remaining egg wash.
- Bake until rolls are golden brown and puffed up, 20 to 25 minutes. Be careful not to burn brown sugar mixture. Transfer to wire rack and allow them to cool completely before glazing.
- Mix powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract together thoroughly until smooth. Drizzle evenly over cooled cinnamon rolls.
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