I'm slightly obsessed with puff pastry. It's a magical thing, that puff pastry. It can transform a normal dish into something fancy, and make it look like you did a lot of work, even if you bought your puff pastry instead of making it yourself. Because come on, seriously, who has time to make their own puff pastry? I'm not Superwoman.
These Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry Shells fall into the category of "accidentally vegan." For one of my first vegan Thanksgivings, I filled these with a wild mushroom ragout (sauteed wild mushrooms, plenty of garlic and fresh herbs, and a touch of vegan sour cream), but you could also use these for desserts, and fill them with a sweet custard and berries, for example. They are very versatile and work well with sweet or savory fillings. And I guarantee your guests will say, "ooh, fancy," and be all impressed and stuff, even though it's really quite easy to make these.
I saw this recipe for Tal Ronnen's Chick'n Pot Pie on the Gardein website and had been wanting to try it. I made the filling according to the directions, but instead of pouring it into ramekins and covering with puff pastry sheets, as Chef Tal suggests, I just spooned the filling into these shells. Simply bake the shells according to the package directions, then spoon the warm filling inside and serve immediately.
Another note: these pastry shells come 6 to a box. The Pot Pie recipe made probably enough for 10 - 12 of these, so you could either cut the filling recipe in half, if you only want to make 6, or you can make the recipe as is and use 2 boxes of the pastry shells. The puff pastry doesn't reheat all that well, though, so I recommend making the exact number that you're going to serve.
These were so delicious, and I felt like they were just the right portion size, as the filling and the pastry shells are both rather rich. These would make a very nice first course/appetizer for your holiday menu, or even a main course along with all the sides.
Bake the shells according to package directions.
Use a fork to gently lift the top off of the shell.
Fill and serve. Oooh, fancy!