close up on buttery floury pastry rolled out on a board and being cut into circles

Leftover pastry ideas

By BBC Maestro

After you’ve put so much effort into making fresh pastry, it seems a shame to waste it: how can you use your homemade shortcrust or puff to create an extra, delicious dish?

Pastry is one of those things that often seems to end up as leftovers. Baker Richard Bertinet comments that it’s “difficult to make pastry using smaller quantities of ingredients”, so if you have  excess pastry, you’re in good company.

If you’re wondering what to do with this leftover pastry, read on. We’ve gathered together a selection of leftover pastry ideas for both puff and shortcrust, which can easily be adapted to suit the amount you have left.

Storing leftover pastry 

If you find yourself with leftover uncooked pastry, don’t scrape it into the kitchen bin. You can, of course, hand it over to children for pretend cookery play, or you can store it and use it later for more baking. 
 
Richard Bertinet has some advice for safely storing uncooked pastry: 
 
You can make the pastry in advance, as it can be kept for up to five days in the fridge or up to eight weeks in the freezer. 
 
So even if you don’t have any plans for your pastry, wrap it carefully in clingfilm and pop it in the refrigerator or freezer until you decide how to use it. If your leftover pastry is in scraps and offcuts, re-roll it first into a thick rectangle or disc for storing. 

5 leftover pastry ideas to try 

Get your leftovers out of the freezer and get baking again. We’ve chosen leftover pastry recipes that are easy to adapt, because you can’t plan how much pastry you’ll have to spare. You might need to tweak these recipes to suit your quantities; however, they’ll still act as inspiration for Baking: Round Two. 

Multi-seed cheese straws 

The cheese straw is king of leftover puff pastry. You just need to add a few store-cupboard ingredients, then bake them in the oven. Your house will smell amazing
 
This simple cheese straw recipe from the BBC Good Food website adds poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dried onion and/or dried chilli flakes to bring extra texture and taste. These are optional, and you can simply stick with the classic puff pastry cheese straw. 
 
Our recipe makes sure the pastry stays moist by spreading a layer of soft cheese onto the rolled-out pastry before you sprinkle on the grated hard cheese. Fold, cut and twist to create the classic cheese straw look. 

Pastry snakes 

This is a fun variation on cheese straws that you can make with the kids. The recipe for pastry snakes is very similar to that we used above for the cheese straws. However, when it comes time to twist the pastry strips into cheese straws, keep twisting so they coil around into wiggly snake shapes. 
 
The recipe suggests adding black peppercorns for eyes, which we’d suggest leaving these out for younger diners. Serve them on a bed of grass (lettuce, because we’re optimists). 
 
These fun treats are great for Halloween, sleepovers or birthday parties. If you have leftover pastry, remember that it can keep for up to eight weeks in the freezer, so you can save it in advance for special occasions. 

Pastel de nata 

These gorgeous little Portuguese custards tartlets are such a delight, and because they’re so tiny, are the perfect way to use up puff pastry.  
 
Take a look at the recipe for pastel de nata from BBC Good Food. The pastels are made in individual pastry tins, so it’s easy to adapt the recipe to suit your leftovers. The custard filling uses store cupboard staples like eggs, milk butter, cinnamon and lemon, making these a surprisingly spontaneous treat to bake. 
 
Top tip. The key to getting that authentic bubbled top is to switch the oven to grill mode for the last two minutes: caramelised perfection. 

Mini quiche Lorraine 

This go-to picnic favourite is an excellent way to use up leftover shortcrust pastry. Again, because you’re making individual portions, you can adapt the BBC Good Food mini quiche recipe to suit the amount of pastry you have. 
 
Our recipe uses the classic quiche Lorraine filling, bacon and grated gruyere, plus a dash of double cream for extra richness. You can swap the filling for other classic quiche ingredients, such as cheese and onion, salmon and broccoli or roasted red pepper and goat’s cheese. 
 
From leftover shortcrust pastry to delectable little tarts of loveliness: one bite of these, and you’ll vow never to bin pastry scraps again. 

Individual pies 

You can easily make one of those individual pub-style pies using leftover puff pastry. Make the filling, then simply pop on a layer of puff pastry as an edible lid. There’s nothing quite as hearty, especially if you serve it with mashed potatoes or chunky chips. 
 
This is one of those dishes that you more or less make up as you go along. However, here’s a chicken and mushroom puff pie recipe for the basic guidelines. In summary, you make the filling on the hob, spoon it into the pie dish, add the rolled-out pastry lid, then bake in the oven. 
 
Before you embark on making your delicious pies, make sure you have single-portion, oven-proof pie dishes. If you have enough shortcrust pastry left, you could always try making small, whole pies (with a bottom as well as a top). 
 
 
Hopefully, you’re now inspired to save those leftovers, and use them to create something truly tasty. Who knows – you might even start making extra-big batches and keeping them in the freezer for later… 

Do you know how to make perfect puff and showstopping shortcrust? Improve your baking skills with Richard Bertinet, who takes us through tried-and-trusted techniques in his BBC Maestro bread making course. 

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