In the Kitchen

Grab Some Puff Pastry Dough: It’s Time for Twists

Though we typically embrace the whole “cooking from scratch” thing in the Plated Test Kitchen, there are a few store-bought ingredients that just makes everything so, so much easier. We’ve rhapsodized about the versatility of everything from vermicelli to pizza dough, and now we’re turning our sights to another irreplaceable staple: puff pastry dough. Pâte feuilletée in French, this delicate, multilayered pastry is made by placing slabs of cold butter between layers of pastry dough, then rolling it out, folding it, letting it rest, and repeating the whole process 6 to 8 times. The result is a pastry that has hundreds of layers of butter and dough and, when baked, creates beautiful puffy layers. Swoon. Unsurprisingly, from that brief description we just provided, puff pastry is a pretty arduous task to make at home, even for our chefs. So, just stick to the versions sold in the freezer aisle.

This puffy, crispy-crunchy dough is endlessly customizable and super easy to use. We’re giving you a few examples—both sweet and savory—that look sophisticated and elegant, but take almost no time at all. If you already know you’re gonna love these recipes, keep your eye out for our tomato-brie tarts, hitting menus later in August.

Delicately arranged on a platter, few things are as beautiful as some golden brown pastry twists. These sweet versions—in both chocolate and cinnamon-sugar varieties—make a beautiful addition to dessert, a decadent breakfast, or really, a snack any time of day. On the savory end, our cheese twists (or, straws) turn crisp and golden in the oven, and serve as a fabulous appetizer. Or, again, a snack whenever you want a quick bite.

Chocolate Twist

1 package puff pastry, thawed but still cold
flour, for dusting
1 cup melted chocolate or chocolate hazelnut spread
1 egg
sea salt

Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Sprinkle flour on a clean, dry surface, then roll out 1 sheet puff pastry to smooth out any folds. Horizontally slice the puff pastry in half, then spread .5 cup onto one half. Lay the other half over the chocolate one, pressing to seal in the chocolate. Slice the dough vertically into 10–12 strips, then twist 3–4 times, sealing the ends together. Repeat with remaining puff pastry and chocolate. Place twists on baking sheet.

Whisk the egg in a small bowl, then carefully brush the twists with the egg wash. Sprinkle over a little sea salt, then bake until golden and cooked through, 20–25 minutes (depending on package instructions).

Allow to cool on baking sheet, then serve.

Cinnamon Sugar Twist

1 package puff pastry, thawed but still cold
flour, for dusting
1 egg
+1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
+ cinnamon sugar

Brush each horizontally cut piece of puff pastry with melted butter, then sprinkle cinnamon sugar over one side. Cut, twist, and repeat egg wash and baking (see steps above).

Cheese Straw

1 package puff pastry, thawed but still cold
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
flour, for dusting
1–1 1/2 cups of your favorite cheese
Dried thyme, for sprinkling on top

Whisk egg with water. Then, brush each horizontally cut piece of puff pastry with beaten egg mixture. Sprinkle 1 to 1 1/2 cups of your favorite shredded or grated hard cheese (Cheddar, Gruyère, Parmesan) over two halves of the puff pastry, lightly sprinkle dried thyme, then layer over the other half, pressing down to seal in the ingredients. Cut and twist, then bake until golden, 10–15 minutes. Then, flip, and bake until golden, 2 minutes more.

But wait, there’s more!

Pot pies are a comfort classic for a reason: the flaky crust, saucy inside, what’s not to love? Here, we have two varieties: a take on traditional chicken pot pie, and a vegetarian version that doesn’t skimp on flavor or texture.

Chicken Pot Pie

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 carrots
6 ounces Cremini mushrooms
4 sprigs Thyme
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup pearl onions
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup peas
1 package puff pastry, thawed but still cool


1. Sear Chicken
Preheat oven to 375°F. Pat chicken dry with paper towel and season all over with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium high-sided ovenproof pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add chicken to pan and sear until cooked through and no longer pink, 5-6 minutes per side. Remove from pan and set aside.

2. Prepare Ingredients
While chicken sears, rinse carrots and cut crosswise into ¼-inch slices. Wipe mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel and quarter caps, discarding stems. Strip thyme leaves, discarding stems. In a small bowl, using the back of a fork, mash together butter and flour until combined. Set aside.

3. Sauté Vegetables
Wipe pan from chicken clean and add 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add pearl onions, carrots, and mushrooms and sauté, stirring occasionally, until softening, 5–6 minutes. Meanwhile, shred or roughly chop chicken into bite-size pieces.

4. Simmer Filling
Add 3 cups chicken stock and thyme to pan with vegetables. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium high. Immediately whisk in butter-flour mixture until no lumps remain and simmer until thickened, 8–10 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Stir in peas and shredded chicken. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

5. Assemble Pot Pie
On a clean, dry surface roll out puff pastry so it will cover the pan. Trim any overhang and make slits for steam to escape.

6. Bake
Bake pot pie until filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown and has puffed up, 30–35 minutes.

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