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June 8, 2010

Puff pastry (Recipe: turkey and cheese in puff pastry)

Turkey and cheese in puff pastry

Rachael Ray often says, "Take a little help from the grocery store," and while I'm not saying that every meal should be made in less than thirty minutes, I agree with her on this one thing.

The grocery store is your friend.

When I moved to a small town in Rhode Island, from the not-so-small town of Boston, I discovered that grocery stores have come a long way. Our local market (the independent that's trying to hold its own against the large chains) stocks more variety in every aisle, more ingredients we used to consider exotic or simply hard-to-find, and lately, an upgraded produce department. 

And -- hallelujah -- a healthy supply of frozen puff pastry.

I've made puff pastry from scratch, and proved to myself that it's not hard to do, but it's easier to buy it and keep a few boxes in the freezer. If anyone asks, you don't need to tell that you took a bit of help from the grocery store.

What is puff pastry?
A wheat dough made by rolling the dough with layers of butter; the finished dough has close to 1500 layers of butter and flour.

How/where to store:
In the freezer, until the use-by date. Defrost according to package directions, right before using.

More facts about puff pastry, and ingredient photos, in The Perfect Pantry:
Puff pastry (Recipe: asparagus gruyere tart)

Turkey and cheese in puff pastry, brought to the table whole and cut into squares.

Turkey and cheese in puff pastry

Adapted from a Barefoot Contessa recipe that used ham, this savory tart starts with store-bought puff pastry and a few things from the supermarket deli department. My market sells sliced roasted turkey breast, which is so much better than the preformed stuff. It takes more time to defrost the dough than to put the dish together, and the presentation is a wow (even when you let the pastry get a tad too brown, like I did). Great for brunch, lunch or a light supper, served with a green salad. [Note: you can substitute Tartelette's fabulous gluten-free puff pastry in this dish.] Serves 6.

Ingredients

1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted (I use Pepperidge Farm)
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 lb thinly sliced turkey breast
1/2 lb thinly sliced Gruyere cheese
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp of water (egg wash)

Directions

Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper.

Lay one sheet of pastry on a floured counter top, and roll it out to 10x12 inches. It's very hard to keep the pastry squared on the edges, but do the best you can. You can trim it later. Place pastry on the sheet pan.

Brush the center of the pastry with the mustard, leaving a one-inch border around the edge (leave a larger border if you think you'll have to trim the pastry later). Layer on the turkey breast to cover the mustard, and then spread the cheese.

Brush the border with the egg wash.

Roll out the second sheet of puff pastry to the size of the first, and place it on top of the filled pastry, lining up the edges as best you can. If the edges are a bit ragged, trim with a very sharp knife. Press the edges together to seal them, and then, as extra insurance and for a bit of decoration, press with the tines of a fork all the way around.

Brush the top of the tart with egg wash. With a small, sharp knife, make three slits in the top (cut all the way through the pastry) to allow steam to escape.

Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20-25 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes, and serve hot or warm. It's also good cold, which makes this a great picnic dish, but the puff will settle down a bit.


More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Mushrooms and peppers in puff pastry
Puff pastry cups filled with sweet potato, apple and nuts
Spicy turkey rolls
Dulce de leche milhojas
Vegetable samosas
"Chicks in blankets"

Other recipes that use puff pastry:
Homemade strawberry crossover puff pastries, from White on Rice Couple
Quick and easy apple tart, from The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Mango tatin tartlets, from La Tartine Gourmande
Puff pastry tomato tarts, from Cooking with the Single Guy
Savory mango chutney and cheddar cheese palmiers, from Cookin' Canuck

Use store-bought ingredients to assemble this turkey and cheese puff pastry tart.

Comments

Yeah, I made puff pastry a few times in cooking school. I've done it... don't need to do it again.

Now that turkey-cheese puff, I'd do again... I might substitute some smoked turkey. Sounds delicious!

ooooooH! This looks tasty and easy!

Puff pastry is considered a staple in my house. We always have a couple of boxes in the freezer and try to dream up as many uses for it as possible. I love how the turkey and cheese are nestled into the middle of this dish - the flavor possibilities are endless for this method.

Puff pastry can be a lifesaver when unexpected guests pop in Lydia. I love this turkey puff...and the cheese:D

This sounds fabulous. Puff pastry is one of those things I'd probably never make from scratch; I don't mind this kind of short cut at all!

Puff pastry is one of those things that, as of yet, I am unwilling to make from scratch. I'm sure it'll happen eventually...just not yet. I love the sound of this stuffed puffed pastry! Great fillings.

Julia, smoked turkey would be great. I'm also going to make this with roasted veggies and goat cheese.

Debbie, that's the best part. It really is easy!

Cookin' Canuck, puff pastry is truly one of those things that I have no urge to make from scratch. Like pie crust, sometimes the store-bought products are absolutely fine.

Valli, it's true that puff pastry dresses up almost anything and it's great for last-minute appetizers.

Kalyn, this was such a good tart for entertaining. Looks much fancier than it actually is.

Joanne, I'm a big believer that you should make everything from scratch once, to understand how it should taste and the amount of work that goes into it (pita bread is another thing I put into that category). Then, take some help from the good-quality ready-made products available.

Let's see. I have phyllo in the freezer and precooked chicken. You're inspiring me again, Lydia! Puff pastry goes on next week's shopping list.

You mean you can make puff pastry? I thought it only came from the supermarket cold storage.

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  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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