Introduction to the Strawberry Puff Pastry
If you know me personally, you know that me and baking just don’t mix. Baking, at it’s core, is a science, and even the slightest miscalculation can ruin a dish. And the worst part is that once you’ve popped your creation into the oven, that’s it. There’s nothing you can really do to salvage or alter your recipe once that oven timer goes off. On the other hand, cooking is much more malleable. You can adjust the sweetness, saltiness, or tartness of a recipe even after it’s “done.”
But, the thing is, for someone who doesn’t like baking, I sure do have a sweet tooth. So, to deal with that by resorting to simple dishes like this strawberry puff pastry which requires zero baking. I use pre-made puff pastry dough instead of making it from scratch (which trust me, isn’t worth the energy – it takes several hours). Then, all that’s left to do is make a simple cream cheese filling and jam that can be whipped up in a couple of minutes.
This dessert is quick, easy, and super satisfying. Plus, it also looks pretty impressive too. So it’s perfect for dinner parties or brunches at home. These puff pastries will be sure to wow your guests!
Breakdown of Ingredients:
This puff pastry has three primary components: (1) puff pastry dough, (2) a cream cheese filling, and (4) a fresh strawberry jam.
Cream Cheese Filling
- Cream Cheese: For this filling, make sure to buy a firm cream cheese that is full-fat. Trust me, I’ve tried this filling with “light” cream cheese and it just doesn’t taste the same.
- Vanilla Extract: Vanilla extract is a must in any frosting or cream cheese filling. It elevates any simple frosting from tasting homemade to store-bought. I buy an alcohol-free vanilla extract from Trader Joe’s.
- Powdered Sugar: Powdered sugar is really the base of this frosting. It is also referred to as confectioner’s sugar. You can find it at most markets. If you don’t have any on hand, you can also pop some regular sugar into a blender with some corn starch and blend until the sugar turns into a fine powder.
- Butter: I always use earth balance butter for frostings. Earth balance is a plant-based butter, and for some reason, it just tastes so much better to me than regular butter! I melt the butter before adding it into my frosting mixture. This gives me a softer consistency for the for the filling which is what I prefer. If you want a “harder” frosting, then do not melt the butter. If you want an even “runnier” consistency, feel free to add a teaspoon at a time of milk to the mixture until you reach your desired consistency.
- Frozen Strawberries: I prefer using frozen strawberries for jams but of course, feel free to use fresh if you prefer. Fruits are actually frozen at optimal ripeness so I find the flavor often turns out better. Plus, it’s just a lot more convenient, and you don’t have to worry about your fruits going bad in the fridge.
- Water: Once you start heating your frozen strawberries, they will already start releasing some water. However, I find that it is necessary to add just a little extra water to help the process of softening and cooking the strawberries. Just be careful not to add to much, otherwise, your mixture will take forever to thicken.
- Sugar: I’ve tried this recipe with several types of sugars and they all work well – plain white sugar, raw turbinado sugar, and brown sugar. So, just use whatever you have on hand.
- Corn Starch (Optional): Cornstarch helps to thicken mixtures and can be a helpful ingredient when making jams. However, most of the time I find it unnecessary since the melted sugar helps thicken the jam mixture without the help of cornstarch any ways. So, this is really an extra ingredient you can go without. It just helps speed up the thickening process and gives the jam a more “jelly” like consistency.
- Puff Pastry Dough: I buy the Pepperidge Farms pastry dough for this recipe. It comes with three sheets, and the quality of the puff pastry is fantastic. Also, a quick tip: if you’re too impatient to wait for the pastry dough to defrost, you can just pop it into the microwave for a few seconds. That’s what I usually do!
- Powdered Sugar: I love topping this dish off with a hefty sprinkle of powdered sugar. It reminds me of the beignets from “Princess and the Frog.” lol. You can also spread another layer of cream cheese frosting on top of the pastry as well and then put the powdered sugar on top of that.
Process + Tips for Success
- Always start off by preheating your oven! There’s nothing more annoying than finishing your dish only to discover that you haven’t started your oven. If you haven’t gathered this already, I can be a little impatient.
- Then, I always move onto creating the jam since this takes the longest time out of any component in this recipe.
- In a pot, add your berries, water, and sugar, and let the mixture simmer until the berries thickens into a jam consistency. Keep mixing throughout this process to prevent sticking or burning. This process should take about 7-10 minutes.
- PRO TIP: Make sure to keep the heat on a low-medium for your jam. Slow and steady wins the race!
- Next, create your frosting by mixing your powdered sugar, cream cheese, melted butter, and the vanilla extract in a large bowl. Since using melted butter softens the consistency of this frosting, you can get away with mixing it by hand using a spoon or fork. However, if you have a hand mixer, that will make things a lot easier.
- Then, cut your puff pastry dough into rectangles and place both the fillings you’ve made in the center, staying about an inch away from the center. If you place the filling too close to the edges of your pastry, the filling will seep out and make a huge mess.
- Wet the edges of the pastry dough and press a clean sheet of pastry dough on top of the one with filling and press firmly around the edges to close the pastry.
- PRO TIP: You can also grab a fork and make imprints into the outer edges of the pastry to help close it. I also recommend poking three sets of holes in each pastry for ventilation. This will prevent the pastry from exploding in your oven!
- Then, bake your pastries at 370 for 20 minutes.
- Let the pastries cool down and then serve with powdered sugar on top!
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Strawberry Puff Pastry
Cream cheese filling
- 4 oz cream cheese
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 c powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp melted butter (I used the earth balance brand)
- 12 oz frozen strawberries
- 1/4 c water
- 2 tbsp raw sugar (or to taste)
- Puff pastry dough powdered sugar
- First create your jam filling. In a pot add your berries, water, sugar, and simmer until the berry mixture thickens into a jam consistency. Keep mixing throughout this process to prevent sticking or burning. It should take 7-10 minutes.
- Next, create your frosting by mixing powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract. Mix by hand or with a hand mixer.
- Cut your puff pastry dough into rectangles and place both the fillings in the center, staying about an inch away from the center.
- Wet the edges of the pastry dough and press a clean sheet of pastry dough on top of the one with filling and press firmly around the edges to close the pastry. You can also grab a fork and make imprints into the edges to help close the pastry. I also recommend poking three sets of holes in each pastry for ventilation.
- Bake your pastries at 370 for 20 minutes.
- Serve with powdered sugar on top!