Friday, June 29, 2012

Puffed Pastry

Taking off where I left off yesterday, I mentioned puffed pastry and said I'd discuss it today so here goes.  This is a wonderful product because you get to let the experts do the work and you get all the glory with your own finished product.  I love puffed pastry because it makes it very easy on me and I’m all for that.  I’ve seen puffed pastry made and I don’t think I ever want to tackle it.  It is laying butter and flour over and over and over and a real pains taking process.  I’m grateful someone has done it for me.

There are two types of puffed pastry that I like to use: shells and sheets.  I recommend that you have both available in your freezer for a quick meal or dessert. 

Years ago a dear friend who is no longer living invited me and some friends to her home for lunch.  She served us Chicken Divan in puffed pastry shells.  It is the first time I had these simple little wonders and it was not my last.  If you are still wondering what to do with that left over chicken from yesterday, here are two more simple chicken dishes you can serve in them.

Chicken Puff Pastry Shells

1 chicken breast (Another way to used that roast chicken)
2 tbs. butter
2 scallions
8 oz. can of artichoke hearts
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup chicken broth
1 tsp. corn starch
2 tbs. whipping cream
Puff Pastry Baskets

Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.

Finely dice the chicken breasts. Melt the butter and heat the chicken on medium heat if you are using left over roast chicken.  If it is raw chicken you need to fry the chicken until it is fully cooked. Chop the green onions and add to the chicken. Drain the canned artichoke hearts well, dice and add to chicken. Season with pepper and salt. Pour in the chicken broth. Dissolve corn starch in a little cold water, add to the boiling sauce to thicken and stir well. Add the cream.

Bake the Puff Pastry Sheets (e.g. Peppridge Farm if what I use) according to directions on the package. Put the warm shells on plates and fill with chicken and vegetable mixture. Arrange some of the chicken mixture next to the basket on the plate.

Variation:  You may like to add some grated cheese to add even more flavor. 

Chicken Divan

This is so easy because it is left over chicken, soup out of a can, cheese, and broccoli.

1 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped broccoli
2 cooked chopped boneless chicken breast
1 cup chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Add broccoli and chicken to your chicken broth in a sauce pan.  Add the cream of chicken and mushroom soup, mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Add the cheddar cheese and heat the mixture over medium heat until everything is well blended and bubbly. 

Bake the Puff Pastry Sheets (e.g. Peppridge Farm is what I use) according to directions on the package. Put the warm shells on plates and fill with the chicken divan. Arrange some of the chicken mixture next to the basket on the plate also. 


OK.  Now for the important part….dessert.  You can go crazy thinking up wonderful ways of using this pastry.  Just looking at the packaging gives you ides.  You can fill them with fresh fruit and put whipped cream on top.  You can fill with puddings and drizzle with chocolate.   You can fill them with ice cream and top with your favorite sundae toppings.  You can make a cream puff out of them.  Let your imagination go wild. 

I can’t always find the puffed pastry shells in my local stores but I can usually find the sheets in the freezer department.  I always have a box in my freezer for stand by for a quick crust or a dessert to take for get together.  If I find them, I stock up to have them when I need them.

I like to make turn over’s with them because they are so quick and easy (no needs to know that though).  It is just laying out your pastry and cutting it into square and taking your favorite pie filling in a can and filling the squares in the middle.  I like to use me apple-pie-in-a-jar I have canned and in my pantry and make apple turn over’s.  You pull the corner of the square over and seal the triangle by using a fork around the edge.  I like to sprinkle it with a little sugar and cut a slit in the top.  If you want to have a larger quantity, you can cut the pastry into smaller squares and fold over into a small rectangle.  You can get twice as many for a larger gathering.  When making this version,  I put three slices in the top of the pastry to show off what type of fruit is inside.

Bake in a preheated at 350 degrees F. for 20 or until golden brown. You only need to bake the pastry.  Let cool or serve warm with ice cream.  Put it on foil when you are baking them because they do break open and can make a mess on your pan.  Oh, now I have done it.  I haven’t had my breakfast yet and it is making my stomach rumble just thinking about it.  Warm out of the oven is great.

You can also make them into savory dishes by filling them with meats, cheeses, spinach; or sprinkle them with sesame seeds or poppy seeds.  You can cut them into strips and twist them into stick appetizers and add flavored salts like garlic and onion, grated Parmesan cheese or seeds.

You will always have a quick meal at hand if you keep these in your freezer. Hope you love them as much as I do.

Be happy and may God bless you and yours.


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