One of my favorite parts of holiday dinners are holiday leftovers. My friends and family reading this are probably laughing out loud right about now, because they know I don’t eat leftovers. But holiday dinners are different. For some reason, I actually do eat those leftovers. Maybe it’s because the familiar flavor combinations make me feel like the holiday lasts longer than just one day. Or maybe it’s because I’m a carb-o-holic and can’t resist those mashed potatoes, stuffing, and buttery dinner rolls. Hmmm…big mystery, that one.
But I digress…
This Thanksgiving was a little different. I sent all the leftovers home with my guests. And that left me with nothing. No mashed potatoes. No stuffing. No buttery dinner rolls. My fridge was a barren wonderland of sadness. (I don’t even know what that means.)
There was nothing except one can of cranberry sauce. One lonely can of cranberry sauce that was put in the back of the fridge to chill, and then forgotten. Left all alone, unable to fulfill its Thanksgiving destiny. Tragedy!
I couldn’t let that happen. I had to rescue that poor can of cranberry sauce and find a way for it to shine. And then it hit me. I had other orphaned food items in my fridge that had been languishing, too. And I wondered if there was a way I could combine them into something yummy. Turns out I could.
I turned that forgotten cranberry sauce and a close-to-expiring box of puff pastry into these cranberry cream cheese pastry puffs.
Start with cranberry sauce (I used about half a can), a block of cream cheese, a box of pastry puff sheets, and a quarter cup sugar. Let the cream cheese and puff pastry come to room temperature. You’ll also need an egg and some flour, but we’ll get to that later.
Mix the cream cheese, cranberry sauce, and sugar until it’s evenly combined. Set the bowl aside.
On a lightly floured surface, unfold the puff pastry dough. Sprinkle a little flour on top of the dough, then roll it out until it’s approximately 16 x 16. Be sure to move the dough around so it doesn’t stick to your counter. And if the rolling pin sticks, rub a little flour on it. The dough will end up being very thin – but that’s OK, that’s what you want.
Cut the dough into 16 squares, being very careful not to tear it.
With the egg, make an egg wash. An egg wash is nothing more than an egg and about a tablespoon of some other liquid, like water or milk or cream. Brush two adjoining sides of each piece with the egg wash. This will be the glue that will help seal the filling goodness inside.
Place a generous teaspoon of the cranberry cream cheese filling in the center of each pastry square.
Fold the egg-washed corner over the filling so it lines up with the un-egg-washed corner. (Is un-egg-washed a word? Well, it is now.) Work the air out as you press the two sides together.
Using a fork, crimp the edges to make sure the seal is strong. But be careful not to pierce the pastry or you’ll end up with cranberry carnage all over your cookie sheet.
Place each crimped pastry onto a cookie sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. If you use all the filling and both pastry sheets, you’ll end up with 32 puffs – so you’ll need to use a couple cookie sheets, for sure. Brush more egg wash on the tops of each pastry. This will give them that golden brown color that makes them look so good.
Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and delicious-looking.
You’ll want to eat them while they’re still warm out of the oven (that’s when they’re the absolute best), but try to restrain yourself long enough that you don’t bite into molten cranberry-flavored lava. I suggest making these when you know you’ll have a large-ish group of people at your house. Otherwise you’ll run the risk of eating them all yourself. Not that I speak from experience or anything.
Here’s the complete recipe. Enjoy!
1/2 Can whole berry cranberry sauce
1 Eight ounce package of cream cheese
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 Box pastry puff sheets
1 Tablespoon cream or milk or water
Flour for rolling
1) Let the puff pastry and cream cheese come to room temperature.
2) Mix the cream cheese and cranberry sauce until well combined.
3) On a lightly floured board, roll the dough into a 16 inch square.
4) Cut the dough into 16 smaller squares.
5) Beat the egg and water/cream/milk/whatever together to make an egg wash.
6) Brush two adjoining edges of each piece with the egg wash.
7) Place a generous teaspoon of filling in the center of each square.
8) Fold pastry into a triangle and press out the air.
9) Seal the edges by crimping with a fork.
10) Place on a foil-lined cookie sheet and brush tops with more egg wash.
11) Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, or until golden brown and delicious.