Puff Piece

Turn to puff pastry for exquisite appetizers and individual desserts

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Somewhere between the piecrusts and packaged berries in your grocery store’s frozen dessert section lies a baking gem: puff pastry, a prepared dough that can be baked into everything from crispy hors d’oeuvres to dainty tarts. Puff pastry is made by enveloping butter, margarine, or shortening in a flour dough, then rolling and folding the dough so that the fat is incorporated into fine layers that puff when baked. It’s a time-consuming process—the dough needs to be chilled between multiple roll-and-fold steps—making prepared puff pastry the best option for home cooks. This is especially true around the holidays, when time is short and elegant hors d’oeuvres are in high demand. Keep a package in your freezer, and try these simple recipes for bakery-caliber creations that will wow any crowd.

Chocolate-Hazelnut Banana Rounds

Butternut Squash and Pesto Tarts

Asiago Twists

Broccoli Raab and White Bean Crescents