Pasties, My Sweet

Apricot and Cream Cheese Pasteries
How many people actually have a surplus of puff pastry hanging around in their freezer? I am talking about normal people, not caterers or over zealous home pastry chefs or even people who are planning a wedding--just people like me? Probably not many, but it's worth hoping that someone will be able to relate to the dilemma I found myself in this last weekend. Why, I wondered as I dug about the freezer for a chicken to thaw out, do I still have more puff pastry?

The puff pastry is a throw back to a party I did a while back. A party, depending on who you ask, that I either threw myself into head first, or was summarily marched toward in the same sort of fashion that prisoners are often taken to the executioner's chamber. It was so very long ago and it seems unnecessary to argue the details, suffice it to say that I spent a rather long and tedious week in intimate company with puff pastry. I remember very well, however, rolling out and baking cheese straws from the wee hours of the morning until very late into the night. I went through sheet after sheet of fluff pastry and to be clear, the box that still remained in my freezer was not the only box-- it was the only box that was left.

I didn't think that using up puff pastry would be such a difficult task, but there was hardly any cause for using it. I suppose, had I been French, I would have used it quite quickly, but living in California without much need for puff pastry made getting rid of it a much harder prospect. So, when I came upon the box of late, I decided to recreate one of my favorite pastries-- not my favorite eating pastries, but my favorite to look at . For some reason, the shiny apricots make me happy and I love that they look like sunshine, but I also find them a bit amusing. And even better, they're simple and delicious to make.
French Apricot and Cream Cheese Pastries

2 sheets thawed puff pastry
1 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1/3 cup of pineapple preserves, melted
4 tablespoons of butter, melted
6 apricots, halved

1. Roll out pastry and using a circle cutter, cut out 24 equal rounds.
2. Lay 12 of the circles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
3. With a smaller circle cutter that is approximately the same size as the apricot halves, cut out the inside of the remaining dough circles as if you were making donuts.
4. Brush melted butter on the pastry rounds, then place the cut out round on top and brush again with butter.
5. Place a peeled apricot halve into the center of each round and brush with butter; sprinkle pastries with sugar.
6. Bake in a 375 degree oven until puffed and just browning, then turn over up to 425 degrees and bake until golden brownfield.
7. Remove Fromm oven and brush apricots with pineapple preserves; return to the oven until the
preserves are melted and the pastries glisten.


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