I am no Nigella but with a bit of creativity a packet of puff pastry comes into its own and both sweet and savoury dishes can be quickly made.
I sometimes use tinned fruit to make an upside down cake and invariably there is some left over. Whether it is peach, apricot, pineapple or pear when added with thick custard or jam to readymade puff pastry they can easily be turned into something nice and what is better than a Danish pastry as a morning treat.
Roll and cut the pastry into squares. Put a dollop of jam in the centre of each, (if you are using custard add double the custard powder the manufacturer recommend to achieve the right consistency). Add an apricot, peach or even pear half on top. You can either bake open so you get the traditional Danish you see in the shops or you can cover with a pastry top. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on a rack and add a drizzle of icing or slivered almonds.
I mentioned pears above and I love the sweet of fruit with the tang of cheese so I often place a thinly sliced pear on top of a square of puff pastry and then dot with Blue Cheese or Gorgonzola. Let cool slightly and serve. They only take a few minutes to bake and make a lovely supper dish.
Alternatively, you can add slices of cooked ham and grated Gruyere cheese bake at 200˚C for approx 20 minutes or until golden brown. These are delicious eaten straight from the oven.
I have one of these nifty little gadgets that I bought for just €1 which makes the meals look quite professional when they are placed on a plate.
Sausage meat Plait
4 sausages, skinned (approximately 250g) I like the herb ones from Iceland.
1 small onion finely chopped
1 apple peeled, cored and chopped
1 tsp dried sage
½ pack Puff pastry
Preheat the oven to 200˚C.
Mix the sausage meat with the onion, apple and sage. Roll out the pastry to 12in square then make (2-2 ½ in) long cuts on each side of the pastry about 1in apart but alternate them.
This is how the finished slice should look however, I seem completely unable to understand how thick 1″ really is, even with a ruler, I cut my sides a little wrong and my resulting plait is normally a bit skew-whiff.
Place the sausage meat mixture in the centre of the pastry. Fold down the top and then overlap the sides to give a plaited effect. Press the pastry together to seal. Brush with egg or milk to glaze and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the pastry has rise and is golden. Remove from the oven.
I like this cold, but him indoors prefers it served warm, it’s nice either way, great with a salad for supper.
This is my version of the Russian coulibiac it is tasty and freezes well. It looks impressive if serving to guests but is very easy to make.
1 Pkt Puff Pastry
8oz salmon fillet, skinned
¼ pt milk
1 bay leaf
1oz long grain rice cooked
1 small onion, finely chopped
2oz small button mushrooms, finely sliced
2 large eggs, hard boiled and sliced
Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
First poach the salmon in the milk with the bay leaf until it is slightly undercooked (it will finish off when baked in the oven). Reserve the milk. Skin and flake the salmon.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and fry the onion until translucent, add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes. Mix with the fish and season to taste.
Add 1 tablespoon flour to the milk and heat until it forms a thick sauce, season (I like to add curry powder) and then add to the fish, onions and mushrooms to bind.
Now for the pastry. Roll out as for the Sausage meat plaited above.
First spoon half the salmon mixture along the centre leaving a gap of an inch all the way round. Next cover with rice, top with the egg then finish with the remainder of the salmon mix – what you’re aiming for is a loaf shape. Now start to plait.
When ready to cook, brush the pastry all over with beaten egg. Now place in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until it’s golden brown. Remove it from the oven and leave to rest for about 10 minutes before cutting into slices.
I also have a perennial problem with overfilling, but I made sure to photo only the good side of things!
With more puff pastries, turnovers and Danishes than you ever thought imaginable you are never stuck for something yummy to eat.