There is nothing like pulling homemade pastries out of the oven, but most of us don’t have time to whip up homemade croissants on a daily basis not matter how easy the recipe is. Trader Joe’s has impressed me with some of their ready-to-bake pastries over the years and, since my mouth began to water as soon as I saw the Chocolate En Croute in the freezer case, I knew that I needed to give it a try.
Trader Joe’s Chocolate En Croute is a frozen puff pastry treat that is filled with almond cream and chocolate, then topped with sliced almonds. The pastry comes unbaked and only needs a few minutes of time to defrost before baking in a 350F oven for about 45 minutes, or until deep golden brown. The almond cream is very much like almond paste and is a dense, flavorful layer beneath the dark chocolate, which melts beautifully in the oven. The pastry is beautiful to look after baking, with glistening chocolate peeking out from beneath a golden, flaky pastry that is topped with crisp, toasted almonds.
When you are baking frozen pastry, there is always a risk that the pasty will not bake all the way through. This is usually because the pastry is overly thick or the filling is overly wet. I’m pleased to say that neither of these were the case with the Chocolate En Croute. The dessert had a light and crisp pastry that was bursting with butteriness – and it was perfectly baked all the way through. The lightness of the pastry was a great contrast for the denser, richer filling. The chocolate and almond married together well, so you got each flavor in every bite.
This is a delicious dessert option for just about any occasion. It is best when it is still warm from the oven and can be served in thin slices with a scoop of vanilla ice cream alongside. It also, in my opinion, should be a contender for a brunch treat, since the buttery pastry feels like it would go perfectly with a big cup of coffee. This one is well worth picking up and taking home next time you’re browsing the frozen section at TJ’s.