Then, she found an easier solution and Christmas was saved!
Instead of making pastry dough from scratch, she bought Pillsbury ready-made crusts and used that. It’s a LOT easier (especially if you have arthritis) and it turns out incredibly well.
I know these are super simple now that you don’t have to make your own pastry dough (though you can if you want!!), but these will always be special to me, and will always taste like Christmas.
The beauty of these is, you can do just about any filling you want. I’ve listed a few here that I like, but you are in NO way constrained to these. If you like figs – go with them. Seriously – whatever you want. The one thing I suggest is that make each one unique.
What I mean there, is that make all of the raspberry ones the same shape so that they are clearly raspberry. Make all of the poppy ones the same shape (but different from the raspberry) so that they are clearly poppy, etc. Have fun with them.
- 4 sheets, premade refrigerated puff pastry *
- Solo Poppy seed pie filling *
- Lemon curd **
- Raspberry preserves **
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips **
- Apple compote ***
- 1 egg
- 1 T plus 1 t milk, divided
- 1 cup, powdered sugar
* Pillsbury makes a version, as does Wewalka, which is what my grocery store carried. Use one sheet per flavor/version. Since I made 5 different pastries, I bought 5 sheets
** Use any or all of these, or choose your own.
*** All of the others are basically from a jar or can, but this you should make – it’s easy and definitely tastes better than the jarred stuff. I’ve got directions below.
DirectionsSince we’re not making the dough from scratch, these are incredibly simple.
First, decide which kinds you’re going to make and make sure you have those ingredients. As indicated above I made 5 different kinds – poppy seed, lemon, raspberry, chocolate and apple. Each one has a different design, so you can tell just by looking at it what flavor it will be.
Ok, open your box of refrigerated puff pastry and lay the first one out (there are two crusts per box).
Get out a cookie cutter or a knife and make squares and circles. I used the squares for the poppy seed, raspberry and chocolate ones and circles for the lemon and apple ones – see below for details. Make the squares something like 3” x 3” – you don’t want them too big – these are snack size.
For the poppy seed, open the can and spread the poppy seed filling around, kind of like its butter on toast. Then roll the whole sheet into a tube and slice like you’re making slice and bake cookies.
Place each pastry on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. They can be right next to one another – you’re not baking them yet.
For the lemon you’ll need two circular cookie cutters – one smaller than the other. You’re going to make these look kind of like a linzer tart. Cut out two identical circles, then cut the middle out of one of the circles place the circle with the cut out directly on top of the whole circle. You’ve got a little pool there – place a dollop of the lemon curd in the middle and place these on the cookie sheet.
Next the raspberry. Cut out 3” squares and place a dollop of the raspberry preserves in the middle. Take two opposite corners and fold them over so that they overlap in the middle. Once again…place on your cookie sheet. Ok…I forgot to take pictures of these (sorry!)
On to the chocolate. Cut out 3” squares and place a few chocolate chips along one edge, leaving room at the ends. Roll the dough into a tube, and carefully twist the ends, so you have something resembling a piece of wrapped candy, and put them on your cookie sheet.
Finally, IF you decide to make the apple version (and you totally should), you’ll need:
- 1 apple (you can always size the recipe up if you want more)
- 2 T butter
- 1 T dark brown sugar
- 1 t cinnamon
Peel your apple and slice it into very small cubes and put them in a small sauce pan along with the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Heat over medium flame, stirring regularly, until the apples are cooked but still slightly crunchy (mine took maybe 5 minutes).
Cut out circles and place a dollop of the compote into the center and fold the dough in half – you’re making a mini apple turnover here. Lightly crimp the edges with a fork to make sure no dough oozes out when you cook. As before, place these on your cookie sheet.
When you fill a cookie sheet, place it in the freezer to freeze your pastries. Once frozen, you can take them off the sheets and put them in freezer bags. Leave the bags in the freezer until you’re ready to bake.
When you are ready, take them out and place them on a cookie sheet. You can mix flavors on the same sheet but give them a little room to spread.
Crack the egg into a small bowl and add 1 T of the milk – this will be an egg wash that will help your pastries get a nice brown color and a bit of a shine. Whisk the egg and milk together and then brush each pastry with your egg wash.
Place the cookie sheets in an oven preheated to 450. Bake for 8-10 minutes until they’re nice golden brown. While they’re cooking, prepare your wire rack and put newspaper or wax paper underneath it. When the pastries are done, take them out of the oven and transfer them to the wire rack.
In a small bowl, place the powdered sugar and the remaining 1 t of milk and whisk to create a glaze drizzle the glaze over the cooked pastries and serve (and they definitely can and should be served warm!)
Using one sheet of pastry dough per version, I got the following number of pastries for each:
- Apple: 16
- Lemon: 15
- Chocolate: 25
- Poppy Seed: 23
- Raspberry: 19
The great thing about these is that you’ve got multiple flavors (and don’t feel compelled to stick to what I chose – feel free to use other ones you like). I do encourage you to try the poppy seed one – it’s unusual, most people haven’t had anything like it and it’s surprisingly good, I promise!
Also, you don’t have to make all the pastries at once. Take what you want out of the freezer, leave the rest for later. And since they all take the same amount of time, you can mix and match flavors on the same cookie sheet!