Puff Pastry sheets have long been used in European kitchens. As is mentioned in history, the pastry was created by the Spanish Domingo Hernández de Maceras and published in 1607.
Maceras was the head cook at the University of Salamanca, and in his publication, the book Libro del Arte De Cozina, (The Book On The Art Of Cooking), he described the first recipe to make puff pastry sheets. Consequently, puff pastry sheets seem to have had extensive use in Spain by the beginning of the 17th century with some Arab or Moorish influences, historians say.
The Spanish published recipe contradicts the version that puff pastry was a French creation as the first publication mentioning puff pastry in France was published by François Pierre La Varenne in the book Pastissier François in 1653. That’s 46 years after the Spanish book was published.
A possible reason why puff pastry sheets are associated with France is that they resemble the croissant texture and buttery flavor, with visible airy layers. Croissant is a kind of bread that is very much consumed in France; although its origin is Austrian. In France, puff pastry sheets are known as pâte feuilletée.
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What are Puff Pastry Sheets?
Puff pastry sheets are an unleavened pastry with a very unique texture and buttery flavor that is used in many desserts, pies, bread, tarts, and even cakes.
It is made of only four ingredients: wheat flour, water, salt, and butter. Do not confuse it with phyllo – filo – dough sheets, although they look and taste similar. Phyllo dough sheets contain many thin, and fragile pieces, and are, therefore, more delicate than puff pastry sheets.
Compared to Phyllo dough sheets, puff pastry sheets are thicker and more consistent.
As it is presented in a layered form, puff pastry sheets consist of laminated dough, composing alternated layers of dough and butter multiple times. The quality of the puff pastry sheets can vary greatly depending on the quality of the materials used and the process of production.
Although it is a European creation, puff pastry sheets are popular and consumed in many countries worldwide.
How do you use Puff Pastry Sheets?
Regardless of whether you are making puff pastry sheets from scratch at home, or getting them readymade from a grocery store, the secret to avoiding the layers from breaking is to keep them cold at all times of use.
If the pastry sheets get too soft while you are manipulating it, rolling, or even cutting it, simply put it back in the freezer or the fridge for a few minutes to firm it up again. If you are trying to create a specific shape, keep the puff pastry as cold as possible while working on it, and it will be easier to make precise cuts with a pastry cutter, a pizza wheel, a pasta cutter, a sharp knife, or a simple cookie cutter.
As puff pastry sheets are delicate, take care not to load them with an excessive quantity of fillings or toppings, so as to not weigh them down. This could let the liquid out, and make the pastry sticky or spongy and lose its shape.
Once you have rolled and filled the puff pastry sheets with your chosen filling, brush it with an egg glaze that was previously beaten with about one teaspoon of water, on top and the corners. You’ll need to do this before baking the puff pastry. This procedure will give it a beautiful caramel sheen and keep the edges well-sealed, preventing opening while baking.
If you are not baking it straight after preparation, some recipes can be frozen for one week or two. Just make sure to wrap it well.
What can you make with Puff Pastry Sheets?
Beef Wellington, Cheese straws, Croline, Galette des rois, and Miguelitos are some dishes where puff pastry sheets are used.
Others include Mille-feuille, Palmier, Pastel de nata, Pithivier, Sausage rolls, Steak, Kidney pie and other types of pie, Strudel, Tarte conversation, Tarte Tatin, Torpedo dessert, and Turnovers.
Where in the grocery store do you find Puff Pastry Sheets?
You are most likely to find puff pastry sheets in the frozen aisle of the grocery store. They are usually found at the dessert section, near-frozen bread, pies, or close to the baked goods. You may also sometimes find it refrigerated instead of being frozen. So have a look at the dairy aisles as well.
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Does Trader Joe’s sell Puff Pastry Sheets?
Trader Joe’s sells puff pastry sheets and even has it on its own store brand. At the store, you can find packages with more than one sheet of puff pastry sheet made with butter instead of fat.
Does Aldi sell Puff Pastry Sheets?
Aldi does have puff pastry sheets available, however, you will only find one brand – Frasers.
Does Walmart sell Puff Pastry Sheets?
At Walmart, you can pick up refrigerated puff pastry sheets as well as frozen alternatives. Best-selling puff pastry sheet brands at Walmart include Wewalka, Tenderflake, and Pepperidge Farm.
Does Publix sell Puff Pastry Sheets?
Publix usually has the best prices for puff pastry sheets. Check the freezers for the Pepperidge Farm brand.
Does Costco sell Puff Pastry Sheets?
At Costco, you can find Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets, but they may not always be in stock. You are more likely to find them during holidays and the autumn season.