30 Puff Pastry Desserts That Look Impressive but Are Secretly Easy

editor@purewow.com (PureWow)
·8 min read

We’re pretty sure that keeping a package of puff pastry in the freezer at all times isn't mentioned in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective 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 30 of our favorite puff pastry desserts.

RELATED: 20 Puff Pastry Recipes to Try for Dinner Tonight

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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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14. Puff Pastry Cinnamon Rolls

We’d love to wake up every morning to freshly baked cinnamon rolls. But making yeast dough from scratch isn't exactly on our weekday morning agenda. Enter these super simple puff pastry rolls—a happy medium between making them from scratch and just popping open a can of the premade stuff.

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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, they'll be the hit of your next cocktail party. Plus, isn’t everything better on a stick?

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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).

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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.

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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.

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19. Blueberry Puff Pastry Tarts with Lemon Cream

This light and airy dessert has summer picnic written all over it. The blueberry sauce uses frozen fruit though, so you can whip up a batch any time of the year. Even better, the fluffy lemon cream only needs four ingredients.

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20. Fig Tarte Tatin

Don't let the fancy French name fool you. This dessert comes together in your handy-dandy cast-iron skillet, which caramelizes the figs against a blanket of crispy puff pastry. It won't even take you a full hour to prepare, but none of your guests would ever guess.

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21. Galaxy Puff Pastry Donuts with Chocolate Starglazing

These cheater's doughnuts go from zero to breakfast in just 30 minutes, thanks to magical boxed puff pastry. And the glaze is just as simple, made from butter, cocoa and powdered sugar. Oh, and remember: There's no such thing as too many sprinkles.

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22. Cheat's Brown Butter and Salted Maple Pecan Sticky Buns

We can see it now: You, coming out of the kitchen with a platter of these bad boys on Christmas morning while your family opens gifts. The five-ingredient sticky sauce is well worth a celebration, as are the puff pastry buns. Bake for a half-hour and voilà.

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23. Strawberry Cardamom Mascarpone Tartlets

They're as elegant and impressive as they are effortless. Roasted pistachios offer crunch to the flaky dough, while strawberries and jam (or marmalade of your choice) bring the sweetness. Try apricot, fig or orange.

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24. Warm Chocolate Banana Galette

It's just like dessert pizza, only on a bed of flaky puff pastry instead of crust. The six-ingredient masterpiece puts caramelized bananas front and center, along with a melted pool of semisweet or milk chocolate.

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25. Puff Pastry Fruit Pizza

Looks like puff pastry, tastes like strawberry cheesecake. Want a shortcut? Skip making the cream from scratch and just use canned whipped cream straight from the fridge.

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26. Spiced Palmiers

OK, hear us out. If you haven't noticed, we have nothing against frozen puff pastry. But this recipe challenges you to make it yourself so you can add all the warm winter spices, like cloves and cinnamon.

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27. Lazy Strawberry Cinnamon Rolls

It's time to dig up that package of frozen pastry dough you've been hanging onto, because odds are you have most of the ingredients in your kitchen right this second. Did we mention it'll only take you 40 minutes from start to finish?

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28. Skillet Blueberry Bourbon Pandowdy

In the words of Legally Blonde's Paulette, this dessert looks like the Fourth of July. And between the cherries, blueberries and that optional-but-not-really scoop of vanilla ice cream, the color scheme is just right, too.

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29. Butterfinger Pumpkin Stuffed Donuts

Oh, canned pumpkin. Is there anything you can't do? These doughnuts only take 35 minutes to fry and fill, so they're pretty darn perfect for impromptu brunch (and for using up leftover Halloween candy).

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30. Banana Tarte Tatin

If you're a sucker for caramel, you're in luck. Butter, sugar and bananas caramelize into the most decadent, sticky-sweet topping for the puff pastry base, almost like a virgin bananas foster.

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RELATED: 18 Low-Sugar Desserts That Won’t Destroy Your Diet

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