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Easy and Elegant 4th of July Desserts

by Stephanie

Here are two 4th of July desserts that are sure to please and will give you plenty of time to relax and take in the fireworks with your guests! I have to admit that I felt a bit guilty making desserts from pre-made ingredients. Since I started catering, I’ve been making all my baking elements from scratch and never looked back.

Not that I was trying to be a dessert snob, but I could certainly tell the difference between a from-scratch cake and box cake and I insisted on giving my customers hand-crafted, top-shelf desserts! But with summer swallowing me up, and my calendar pre-filled to the gills with events, I decided to re-visit my old friend, Pillsbury.

And you know what? We became fast friends all over again because I could make scrumptious and elegant 4th of July desserts AND still have time to finish my other craft and holiday projects BEFORE the holiday was over!

That, my friend, is the ultimate win-win situation! Both of these recipes were easily adapted for the 4th of July by using star shapes and summer fruits. So, set aside 30 minutes and you, too, can have these elegant 4th of July desserts for yourself or to share!


Mini Star Pies

  • 1 package Pillsbury pie crust
  • 1 can of pie filling of your choice
  • 1 lemon, grated for zest
  • 1 beaten egg for wash, or you can use apricot or apple jam
  • Sanding sugar for garnish, (optional)

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Unroll your pie crust and roll lightly with a rolling pin to flatten. Use a star shaped cookie cutter to cut as many pairs of stars as you can. Gather your scraps and re-roll to cut more stars. Place a single layer of stars on a parchment lined baking sheet. Scoop about a tablespoon of filling onto each star dough. Sprinkle lemon zest on your filling and cover with another cut star. Press down your edges as best as possible.

Cut a small slit on the top of your filled stars to vent when cooking. Brush each star with your egg wash or jam so the pies get a nice, even golden color in the oven. Sprinkle with sanding sugar for garnish if you prefer. Pop in the oven and bake for 13 – 18 minutes or until golden brown. Depending on the size of your cookie cutter, this recipe can yield 8 – 14 mini pies.

Wow Your Guests with These Easy and Elegant 4th of July Desserts!

Next up is a recipe using my other long lost friend, the puff pastry. I actually attended pastry school and learned to make laminated dough…a supremely flaky and delicious dough using lots of butter sandwiched between glutinous layers of flour by folding your dough many, many, many, many, many times.

Did I mention that you have to roll and fold your dough a LOT?! It certainly was easy when you had a laminating machine to do all the heavy lifting, but try manipulating a 5 lb block of dough by hand so that you get the millions of layers of sandwiched butter.

Needless to say, I hardly make any pastries with puff pastry because I’m too lazy for the workout that comes with it! I certainly won’t subject you to all that hard work either, so here is the modified workout version for you!


Puff Pastry Stars

  • 1 package frozen puff pastry
  • Fresh fruit of your choice cut into small pieces, jam or jelly or you can use pie filling of your choice


  • 8 ounces of cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice plus 1 teaspoon grated zest


Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Allow your puff pastry to thaw for about 15 – 20 minutes to make it more workable. While your pastry dough is thawing out, make your cream cheese filling by placing all ingredients in a bowl and beating until smooth.

[column type=”two-thirds” last=”false”]Once your dough is thawed, unfold it and cut into squares. My sheet of puff pastry could be cut into 9 squares. Use a paring knife, cut slits from the corner of your squares toward the middle, but don’t cut all the way to the middle. Starting with one corner, fold a point toward the middle. Continue folding every other point to the middle until it looks like a star or pinwheel.[/column]

tinselbox-4th-of-July-Desserts-cut-doughtinselbox-4th-of-July-Desserts-finalDollop about a tablespoon of cream cheese in the center of your stars and dollop about a teaspoon of fruit filling or sprinkle fresh fruit on top of your cream cheese filling. Pop in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. One recipe yields approximately 18 pastries.

These 4th of July desserts are so cute, yummy and easy! Fireworks are still going off in my head on how easy and delicious these desserts are! You barely have to dust off flour from your hands which means more time to kick your feet up, grab a nice cold drink and sit back to watch the fireworks in the sky. Have a tasty, safe and happy 4th of July, everyone!


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