Perfectly Acceptable Purchased Puff Pastry

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Both boxes of puff pastry for Purchased Puff PastryWith the holidays approaching, I thought I would test all butter purchased puff pastry.  Normally, I would make my own using my blitz puff pastry method but I thought there might be a place for purchased puff pastry when time was of the essence.

I only wanted all butter puff pastry so that limited my options in St. Louis.  We have Dufour found at Whole Foods for about $14.00 for 14 ounces and Trader Joe’s for $3.99 for 18 ounces.  I kept looking for a catch with Trader Joe’s version and the only one I found is that it is only available from now until the end of the holiday season.  It is not a year round product as is Dufour.

The first thing I noticed was the packaging.  Dufour’s is in a rectangular package.  Dufour puff pastry for Purchased Puff PastryUpon opening, Dufour’ it is folded which would mean I would need to roll it to remove the fold lines.  It is a single sheet measuring 9×15 inches and is 1/8 inch thick.Dufour puff pastry unwrapped for Purchased Puff Pastry

TJ”s has two rolled packages inside the box.  Each sheet is 10 1/4 x 12 inches and 1/16 inch thick.  The puff pastry unrolled easily and no rolling was necessary.Trader Joe's puff pastry unwrapped for Purchased Puff Pastry

Initially, I thawed them in the refrigerator overnight per the instructions on both packages.  That proved to be a big mistake, as they got too soft and had a tendency to stick to the paper they were wrapped in.  So I popped them back in the freezer and thawed them for 2 hours at room temperature per TJ’s alternate directions.  That worked much better as they were not as soft.

I trimmed the edges of each of the sheets of puff pastry to square them up and to help ensure they would rise properly.Trimming edges of puff pastry for Purchased Puff Pastry

I cut a four inch square from each purchased puff pastry and placed them on a parchment lined baking sheet.  At this point, I froze them again, since puff pastry puffs better when initially put in a hot oven frozen or at least very cold.Puff pastry squares for Purchased Puff Pastry

The results were most interesting.  TJ’s started rising at 5 minutes in.  It took longer for Dufour but it is twice as thick so that would be natural.  TJ’s baked for 13 minutes and was crisper and baked through.  Dufour’s was baked for 16 minutes but was not baked through and was not as crisp.  However, it may have done better if the time was increased.  Both colored well and rose well. Dufour, on the left has risen higher but TJ’s, n the right is rolled half as thick coming from the box. Both pff pastries baked for Purchased Puff Pastries

Upon cutting them open, you can see that Dufour has more layers but remember it is twice a thick as TJ’s.Both puff pastries baked and cut for Purchased Puff Pastry

Tastewise, both are buttery but I preferred TJ’s because it has a cleaner taste.  I found Dufour’s to be a bit heavier tasting.  But both are great substitutes when a lack of time or interest keeps you from making your own.

Next week you’ll see how easy it is to make Chocolate Marshmallow Cream Horns, otherwise known as Lady Locks with your newly purchased puff pastry.  TJ’s works really well with these, but the Dufour can be rolled thinner.

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12 thoughts on “Perfectly Acceptable Purchased Puff Pastry

  1. Rockyroad

    Hi Helen,
    I am so glad you tried these. Its the perfect time. Finally getting around to writing to you about this. I have used both types of puff pastry and for many years made my own. I just used some of the TJ’s puff this past week to make some tartlets. It was good, worked well and is so convenient but I find the taste is not like the homemade one. Guess I am spoiled. But because I used fresh ripe fruit it helped to hide the flavor of the dough.
    When I baked in the city we used to get pound boxes of commercially made all butter puff pastry rolled out into 1/2 sheet pan sized pieces with parchment in between. I guess it was from a big bakery somewhere. I can’t remember at this point. But it was tasty. And I did not pay for it so I don’t know if it was expensive- maybe because it was butter.
    This is different but a TJ item-
    Around the holidays TJs sells frozen kouign Amann that is pretty good. You take it out of the freezer, set it on a pan overnight, slightly covered and by morning they are risen and ready to bake. Give them a try if you see them. I don’t eat them that often to make them.

    Reply
    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi M.J. I agree this is not the same as homemade – nothing is. But for some things, like these cream horns, it works very well. I have used the puff pastry that is all butter, rolled out into sheet pan size also. Hugely expensive. We had some at the restaurant in half sheet size. i can’t remember the number of sheets but it cost almost $125.00. Since we didn’t use that much, we had it for a while.

      I heard TJ”s has Kouighn Amann and that it was good. I’ll give it a try. I love it but with just the two of us, I limit how often I make or eat laminated dough. Hope to get around to Danish next year. And I need to run my puff pastry also. Sounds like a busy year!!

      Reply
      1. rockyrd

        I agree about eating the pastry too often. I get around it by making only one at a time and that way we share one. Love the concept of TJs frozen pastry that rises overnight on the counter. Not sure it would work with our dough. It would be over risen wouldnt it? I do rise dough in the fridge w good results.

        Reply
    2. hfletcher Post author

      Hi M.J. I agree this is not the same as homemade – nothing ever is. But for some things, like these cream horns, it works very well. It shows up really well in the cream horns because there is so much pastry in them. I have used the puff pastry that is all butter, rolled out into sheet pan size also. Hugely expensive. We had some at the restaurant in half sheet size. I can’t remember the number of sheets but it cost almost $125.00. Since we didn’t use that much, we had it for a while.

      I heard TJ”s has Kouighn Amann and that it was good. I’ll give it a try. I love it but with just the two of us, I limit how often I make or eat laminated dough. Hope to get around to Danish next year. And I need to run my puff pastry also. Sounds like a busy year!!

      Reply
  2. bmorecupcake

    I have TJ’s puff pastry from last year in my freezer and it’s still perfectly fine. We just made elephant ears this week.

    Personally, I think Dufour is better. Even at the same thickness, it behaves more like homemade puff pastry with proper layers. TJ’s gives me an airier result. But for that price, I only buy TJ’s now. However, both have acid (I think to fight against gluten formation), which I don’t care for. So in the colder months I always make my own.

    Reply
    1. hfletcher Post author

      I agree homemade is superior but a lot of people either don’t have the time or inclination to make their own. The Dufour is twice as thick as TJ’s which is why it has more layers. The acid you refer to is lemon juice as stated on both ingredient labels. It is a tenderizer and I use lemon juice in my pate brisee. It is the same as using vinegar or vodka in pie dough.

      Reply
  3. RobL

    Helen, I make a lot of puff pastry, it is easy, one may be very creative with it, and people love it. I almost always use Plugra unsalted, it has a nice clean flavor, and I use about 40% bread flour. I was curious when you mentioned your ‘blitz’ formula, and I looked through the website, but can’t seem to find it. I was curious to see it, and compare with my own. Always looking to see where I may improve what I’m doing. Maybe you could use it as the basis for a future article? Thanks so much.

    Reply
    1. hfletcher Post author

      At some point, I will post it. I just don’t want to post a month of puff pastry. Thanks for thinking of me and I agree that it is not difficult but I also know that many people don’t want to make it from scratch. It has a reputation of being difficult but it actually isn’t. Stay tuned.

      Reply
  4. Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    Thank you so much for this review. I have not used puff pastry a whole lot — shame on me. I love a challenge but making homemade really didn’t capture my interest. Having a good reliable is very appealing. I’ll have to check out Trader Joe and pick some up. How long would you recommend freezing them? The reason I ask, is because there is a Trader Joe in a city where our children reside and I’d like to purchase extra since the product is seasonal.

    Reply
    1. hfletcher Post author

      The two rolls inside the box are wrapped in heavy plastic so you can use one at a time. I would imagine 6 months or so. I agree about getting extra and freezing it. Just make sure you keep it cold. I thawed mine overnight and found it difficult to work so I refroze it with no harm.

      Reply
  5. Martha

    Dear Helen,
    Thank you for this thorough and sensible comparison. Making puff pastry from scratch is daunting for the inexperienced, and but using purchased pp causes trepidation to occasional bakers like me. You’ve prepared me for what to expect.
    I enjou your website very much.

    Reply
    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Martha – Just keep it cold at all times. If it gets warm or difficult, transfer it to parchment and stick it back in the refrigerator or freezer to firm up. Keeping the pastry cool makes it very easy to use.

      Reply

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