Firstly collect all the pastry scraps and trimmings and knead together very lightly, then …
1. Palmiers/Pinwheels – roll the assembled pastry into a rough rectangle, it can be a raggedy one. Scatter something delicious over the surface – good combinations would be Cheddar and Chilli, Pecans & Maple Sugar, Ham and Cheese, Dried Fruit & Brown Sugar, whatever you’ve got. Roll up the pastry from one long edge, moisten the far edge and seal the roll. EITHER place sealed side down on a greased baking sheet, glaze and sprinkle the top as appropriate, bake till crisp and golden and then slice into pinwheels OR slice before baking, lay cut side up on the baking tray and cook like that. The second option is good when using cheese as it goes all melty and yum.
3. Turnovers – roll the pastry out thinly, cut into circles and put a spoonful of something delicious on half the pastry disks. Brush the edges water, milk, cream or beaten egg and fold in half enclosing the filling, press the edges together. Place on a lightly greased baking tray, brush the top with milk or cream and sprinkle with sugar or salt. Using the tip of a sharp knife prod a little hole in the top of each turnover to allow steam to escape. Bake in a medium hot oven (say 190ºC/375ºF/
170ºC fan/gas 5) till crisp and golden. Turnovers can be fried too as with these fake samosas!
4. Anchovy Bites – these are much the same as above but using anchovy paste (either Patum Peperium aka Gentleman's Relish or mash an anchovy or two into some soft butter). Continue as above. These are particularly beguiling cut into fishy shapes.
5. Rustic Tarts – if you don't have tart cases just cut out rounds or squares of pastry, top with chosen filling leaving about 1cm naked edge and then fold the edge up and over the filling to frame it which gives and attractive a rustic effect. Brush with beaten egg and bake till crisp and golden.
6. Sausage Rolls or similar – see here for "similar" made with rhubarb!
7. Mini Napoleons – cut the rolled out pastry into equal squares or rectangles and lay a little apart on the greased baking sheet. Bake till risen, cool, split and fill with something wonderful.
8. Baby Tatins – use a little muffin tray for these. Put a spoonful of your chosen filling (which then becomes a topping) into each of the muffin um … hollows? Top each with a circle of pastry tucking it in at the edges and bake till crisp. Cool a little and then turn out carefully. Apple is the traditional Tatin topping but roasted tomatoes, caramelised shallots etc. are good too. Nothing too wet or runny.
9. Cook's Treat – just toss the trimmings with a little sugar and powdered cinnamon and bake till crisp. Make a cup of coffee and have yourself a sit down. You could add a little leftover ice cream (which you are sure to have if you’ve got a copy of my genius recipe ice cream book!)
10. Crunchy Topping – using the same principal as above but more sophisticatedly (is that a word?) roll the scraps out and cut into random or not random (ie. leaves) shapes, toss with sugar and cinnamon and scatter over the top of a dish of cooked apples (or whatever). Bake till hot and crisp.
11. BORING – just save all your bits of pastry in the freezer till you have enough to make something big.
For how to do the Cheese Straws pictured above please see this earlier post which also has a tip for how to store puff pastry scraps.
A little more pastry scrap information …
~ Sprinkle a little coarse sea salt on savoury pastries.
~ Where appropriate sprinkle the pastry with grated cheese before cooking.
~ Sprinkle sweet pastries with sugar – caster or light brown are my favourites.
~ Only used ready cooked or quick cooking fillings for these little nibbles as the pastry doesn't take long to bake.
~ Cook these pastries in a medium hot oven 375˚F / 190˚C / Gas 5 / Fan 170˚C would be good but if the oven’s on a different temperature you can, within reason, use that!
PS. ~ I've had some more ideas! See Brown Sugar Doo Dahs here.