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Tamara’s perfect puff pastry hacks

chocolate hazelnut pull apart

Keep a packet of puff pastry in the freezer - it’s budget-friendly, easy to use and can turn the simplest pantry ingredients into something sensational

Winter’s the perfect time to indulge in baked treats, whether it’s for morning or afternoon tea or an indulgent dessert. A packet of frozen puff pastry is one of the most versatile and budget-friendly ways to turn a few simple pantry ingredients into something sensational. But it doesn’t stop at dessert; easy homemade sausage rolls, a batch of cheese and spinach triangles, or a hearty chicken pie are just some of the savoury options where your trusty frozen puff pastry comes into its own. Check out my quick and easy puff pastry ideas, then let your imagination – and what’s in your pantry – be your guide!

Expert Tam

“The situation’s all too familiar: surprise visitors drop in for tea, your kids bring home friends from school, or you just fancy something quick and easy to make for dessert. One of my all-time freezer favourites is a pack of puff pastry, because it’s ready to go in minutes and portioned out in sheets, which means minimal wastage and mess. The trick is to only take what you need out of the freezer a few minutes before using it, as it will defrost quickly and become quite soft and sticky. I usually transfer frozen sheets to the fridge to defrost until I’m ready to use it.”

– Tam

Upside down apricot honey pastries


Upside-down apricot and honey pastries

I’ve made these super-easy pastries with all sorts of fruit – thin wedges of peeled apple, sliced mango or pineapple and even banana – and they’re always a hit. Make sure you drain the apricots (or any tinned fruit) well before placing them on the baking paper, so the pastry stays nice and crisp. These pastries are lovely served with a dollop of thick cream or warm custard. Don’t waste the leftover pastry scraps, even if they’re odd shapes and sizes. Simply top them with a drizzle of honey or scattering of sugar, or a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese and paprika, place them on a baking paper-lined tray and bake them into deliciously crunchy sweet or savoury snacks.

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chocolate hazelnut pull apart


Chocolate-hazelnut pull-apart

This looks so impressive when you serve it up, yet it’s so simple to make. It’s also very adaptable – I’ve made it with strawberry or raspberry jam, then scattered over some flaked blanched almonds after I’ve brushed the pastry with egg. It’s also delicious as a savoury pull-apart. I just replace the spread with a generous sprinkling of grated cheddar. Sometimes I’ll add some finely chopped ham or baby spinach, too.

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cheats cinnamon cruffins


Cheat’s cinnamon cruffins

The love child of a croissant and muffin, these crunchy, puffy treats are best served warm, so brush them with the remaining melted butter and toss them in the remaining cinnamon sugar as soon as they’re cool enough to handle. (That’ll also help the sugar stick better.) Keep the pastry sheets in the fridge as you’re preparing each stage to make handling them easier. To ensure the pastry rounds don’t come apart, gently press each end to seal before placing them in the muffin holes.

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