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5 Mistakes to Avoid While Working with Puff Pastry

By Alyssa Vaughn Published

Frozen puff pastry can be the fast track to a wide array of scrumptious, flaky dishes—but if you’re not careful, it can bake up soggy, greasy, or flat.

When you have a box of frozen puff pastry on hand, you’ve got a head start on a wide array of dishes, from flaky appetizers to buttery desserts to main courses such as our Upside-Down Tomato Tart—but if you’re not careful, you may inadvertently inhibit your puff’s performance. Here are five common mistakes to avoid while working with this freezer aisle favorite.

  • TRYING TO SPEED UP THAWING TIME

    We’ve all been there: You forgot to pull your puff pastry out of the freezer ahead of time, and now you’re considering leaving the box on the countertop to thaw more quickly. Resist the temptation! You can thaw puff pastry on the counter if your kitchen is cool, but you risk overheating it. The safest bet is always to defrost it slowly in the fridge.

  • ROLLING OVER THE DOUGH’S EDGES

    Watch where you roll: When rolling out your dough to the correct size, make sure you don’t roll over the edges of the sheet. Flattening the edges inhibits the “puff.”

  • USING A DULL KNIFE 

    Along the same lines, a too-dull knife will also pinch the puff pastry’s edges together—to preserve the flaky layers, you need a knife or bench scraper with a keen blade to make clean, precise cuts.

  • BAKING IMMEDIATELY AFTER SHAPING AND CUTTING 

    If you pop your pastry directly into the oven after you’ve cut and shaped it, you risk the butter melting too quickly and leaking out. Just a 15 to 30 minute chilling period in the fridge before baking will firm the butter and help retain flakiness.

  • TOSSING YOUR LEFTOVERS

    If you thaw more puff pastry than you need for your recipe, you needn’t waste it: Simply refreeze what’s left over. In testing, we’ve found that there is little difference between dough frozen once and dough frozen twice; pastry made with all butter (rather than butter and shortening) won’t rise quite as high after a double freeze, but the effect is minimal.

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.