18 Puff Pastry Desserts That Look Impressive but Are Secretly Easy
We’re pretty sure that having a package of puff pastry in the freezer is not mentioned in The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. But it should be. Store-bought puff pastry dough is our go-to secret weapon for pulling an elegant dessert out of thin air when company shows up unannounced, for making a breakfast treat on a busy weekday morning, and for concocting Great British Bake-Off–level sweets without ever mastering a technical challenge. Here are 18 of our favorite recipes, all made deceptively easy by the wonders of puff pastry.
1. Puff Pastry Plum and Thyme Galette
A galette is always an easier move than pie (rustic, un-crimped edges are our friends), but this one goes a step further. Instead of making dough from scratch, all you have to do is unwrap a sheet of store-bought pastry. We love the combination of fresh plums and thyme, but feel free to sub in whatever fresh fruit you have on hand.
2. Simple Cherry Pastry Pies
We can’t think of a better dessert for a summer barbecue than these adorable little cherry pies. (But if you get a hankering for a little taste of sunshine when it’s cold and gray outside, frozen cherries work just as well.)
3. Super-Easy Blueberry Almond Tart
This recipe is as flexible as it is easy—it works as a quick breakfast on the go, a delightful side dish at brunch or a light dessert. With blueberries, almonds and a spread of cream cheese and Greek yogurt, it’s also (gasp) reasonably healthy for a sweet treat.
4. Brown-Sugar Pear Puff Pastries
These gorgeous little guys look like they belong in the pastry case of a Parisian bakery that you only see in your dreams (or on Instagram). In reality, they couldn’t be easier to make, thanks to the magic of puff pastry.
5. Cinnamon Sugar Apple Puff Pastry
We like to keep a sheet of puff pastry in our freezer just for this recipe, since we usually have everything else on hand. That way, if surprise company stops by (or we’re just in dire need of a Tuesday-night pick-me-up), we’re in business.
6. Cream Cheese Danish with Fruit
We love making these in the summer with fresh seasonal berries. But they’re actually great year-round—just sub in a dollop of your favorite pie filling (cherry, blueberry, apple and strawberry are our go-to fruits).
7. Puff Pastry with Sabayon Custard and Strawberries
If we can’t have Coterie member Heidi Larsen as our valentine, we’re at least stealing her idea for the easiest, most elegant dessert. This is basically a fancy take on strawberry shortcake, and if you’re not going for a romantic vibe, you can use a biscuit cutter to shape the pastry into rounds instead of hearts.
8. Easy Homemade Toaster Pastries
Why buy frozen toaster pastries when they’re almost as easy to make at home (and sooooo much better)? This genius recipe uses store-bought puff pastry, strawberry jam and a creamy vanilla icing drizzled on top.
9. Shortcut Salted Kouign Amann
If you’ve never heard of kouign amann (pronounced queen a-mahn), now is the time to get on board. These French pastries are flaky, buttery and rolled in endless layers of sugar. The real thing is a bear to make, but this easy hack (store-bought puff pastry for the win) gets you pretty close without all the hassle.
10. Chai Spiced Apple Ricotta Galette
We love a simple apple galette, but this one ups the ante with a layer of creamy ricotta and a warm, chai-spiced maple syrup glaze. Serve it with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream and never look back.
11. Puff Pastry Cannoli Cones
Making traditional Italian cannoli involves a difficult dough and a whole lot of piping. But this genius shortcut gets at the heart of the matter—flaky pastry and chocolate chip–studded ricotta filling—minus the fuss.
12. Apple Danish
We don’t know about you, but we’re powerless to resist a good crumb topping. This one is full of brown sugar and cinnamon and has just the right amount of crunch.
13. Monkey-Bread Danish
Everyone loves monkey bread, the sticky, doughnut-y cake that you pull apart in hunks. But this version takes it a step further. Each mini monkey bread (no sharing necessary) is filled with rich cream cheese and topped with a crunchy cinnamon streusel.
14. Puff Pastry Cinnamon Rolls
We’d love to wake up every morning to freshly baked cinnamon rolls. But making a yeast dough from scratch is not exactly on our weekday morning agenda. Enter these super simple puff pastry–based rolls—a happy medium between totally homemade and just popping open a can of the premade stuff.
15. Cranberry-Brie Puff Pastry Pops
If you’ve never thought to add Brie to your dessert repertoire, this recipe will quickly change your mind. A little sweet, a little tart and a little creamy, these will be the hit of your next cocktail party. Plus, isn’t everything better on a stick?
16. Puff Pastry Almond Croissants
We always thought that homemade croissants were a little above our pay grade. This puff pastry version may cheat a little bit, but it’s way cheaper than a plane ticket to Paris (and almost as delicious).
17. Cranberry Apple Danish
We can’t think of a better way to use up leftover cranberry sauce after Thanksgiving. In fact, we like these little tartlets so much, we recommend making extra and freezing them so you can have these autumnal treats on hand anytime.
18. Puff Pastry Apple Galette
If a dessert has flaky pastry, warm cinnamon apples and a scoop of ice cream, we’re pretty much guaranteed to love it. Coterie member Gaby Dalkin says the the salted caramel sauce is optional, but we’re inclined to disagree.