Napoleon


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This past week I was left with some puff pastry and though I could have used it  to make dinner one night, I chose to keep this treasure to make a fun concoction.photo

On week-ends I like to spend time in my kitchen and make up desserts. Yesterday I really wanted to do something fancy without spending hours in the kitchen and that’s when I thought of making a much admired French dessert called Napoleon.photo

Though today this dessert is known as Napoleon, it used to be called Millefeuille which described this dessert perfectly, more so in fact that Napoleon. Indeed Millefeuille  means a thousand layers which defines perfectly what  a Napoleon is: a dessert made of 3 layers of puff pastries and pastry cream.
Ingredients for 3 large individual Napoleon or 13 mini ones:

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry thaw out in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Ingredients for the Creme Patissiere, or PAstry cream:

  • 410 gr. or 14.45 oz. of whole milk,
  • 5 egg yolks,
  • 80 gr. or 2.80 oz of granulated sugar,
  • 20 gr. or .71 oz of flour,
  • 20 gr. or .71 oz of corn flour,
  • a pinch of salt,
  • 1 stick of butter.
  • 1 vanilla bean.
  1. With a knife, cut the vanilla bean in its length. Then with the back of knife, push the vanilla seeds out of the beans and place them into the milk.
  2. In a small saucepan warm up the milk with the vanilla bean, and the vanilla seeds and bring the mixture to boil.
  3. Meanwhile, in  large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until the mixture becomes whitish.
  4. Add the flour and the corn starch to the eggs and mix.
  5. Pour the hot milk into the egg mixture and stir.
  6. Place the milk/ egg mixture back onto the stove and cook until the mixture is bubbling and is becoming really thick. Remove the pastry cream from the stove, place it into a bowl. Cover it tightly with a plastic wrap and let it cool.

While the pastry cream is cooling, prepare the layer of puff pastries for the dessert.

  1. Turn the oven to 400.
  2. Place the off pastry sheet on the roulpat and with a rolling pin, spread the dough out to make a rectangle of 12.5 by 9. Roll the pastry into the roulpat and place it in the fridge to cool for 15 to 30 minutes.photo 2
  3. Remove the pastry from the fridge. At this point you may want to cut equal rectangles to make the Napoleon. You would need 10 rectangles of about 2.5 x 4.5.photo 1
  4. If you wish to make smaller Napoleon, I would advise to bake the phillo as a entire sheet and to cut it later.
  5. Place a silpat above the pastry. Turn it around and peel the puff pastry off the roulpat carefully making sure not to stretch it.
  6. Place another silpat on the phillo dough, and a perforated sheet to keep some weight on the pastry and prevent it from rising too much:-)photo
  7. Bake in a warm oven for 15-17 minutes. It should be golden. It may still be soft but it will harden as it cools down.
  8. Let the puff pastries cool completely before assembling the dessert.
  9. If you have not cut the rectangles before baking, you may do it now. You will need 10 rectangles of 4.5 x 2.5 or 40 rectangles of 2.5 x 11/4 for the mini ones.
  10. Pour the cream into a piping bag with a sscalloped tip and pipe the cream onto the first rectangle. Place another rectangle and pipe the cream again.photo
  11. Place another rectangle to finish.
  12. At this point, you are done and  you can just sprinkle some powdered sugar over the Napoleon, or prepare un glacage ( icing)

Ingredients for the glacage ( icing):

  • 1/4 cup of powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp of water.
  • Vanilla for flavouring.
  • 1/4 cup of bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 plastig bag or ziploc bag.
  1. In a small container, mix the first 3 ingredients, and with a pastry brush, brush the icing over the top layer of each Napoleon.
  2. Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 40 to 60 seconds and pour the melted chocolate in a small ziploc bag. Cut the end of the bag to make a very narrow opening.
  3. Draw lines on the icing.

photo 3

With a toothpick draw an imaginary line to make drawings on the icing going from left to right, and the other line from right to left as shown below: photo 5

Et voila!!! Lots of steps, but really easy to make. Your turn;-)photo 2

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Framboisier or Raspberry Cake


Last week was my mother-in-law’s birthday and since she loves, loves, loves raspberry I thought of making her a Framboisier. I really wanted to make her a Raspberry Bavarois but since it requires several hours to set and I did not have time to bake her cake before her actual birthday I decided to make her a Framboisier out of Sable Breton and Creme Patissiere ( Pastry cream). Both require very little time to prepare, and can make succulent and wonderful looking cakes.

For the cake base, we will be making a salty shortbread dough or in French “Sable Breton”.

Ingredients for 10-12 individual tartlets, or 2 10 inches tarts:

8 oz or 225 gr. of all purpose flour, 1 pinch of sea salt, 1 tbsp of baking powder, 2/3 cup of salted butter at room temperature, 3/4 cup of granulated sugar, 4 large eggs lightly beaten.

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together and set aside. In a mixer, beat the butter until is is light and fluffy. Add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time and continue beating until they are well incorporated. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and with your hands kneel the dough until it is homogeneous. Mold the dough into a ball, place it inside a ziploc bag and place it in the fridge.

While the dough is “resting”, prepare the cream for the cake. We are making une creme patissiere also known as pastry cream.

Ingredients: 1 cup of whole milk, 1/2 vanilla bean, 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, 3 large egg yolks, 2 1/2 tbsp of cornstarch, 1/2 of a tube of marzipan from Odense or about 3 oz of marzipan paste( can be found in most grocery store).

Pour the milk into a small saucepan. With a sharp knife, cut the bean in half in its length and with the tip of the knife, scrape the seeds out of the bean. Place the seeds and the bean into the milk and cook the milk until is is almost boiling. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until the mixture is becoming lighter in color and is becoming fluffer. Add the cornstarch and mix well. Pour the milk slowly into the egg mixture while stirring. Place the mixture back onto the stove and cook at a medium temperature until it is becoming really really thick. Remove it from the stove. Add the marzipan, mix and place the mixture into a bowl and into the fridge to cool.

Turn the oven to 350. Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out so that it is about 1.5 cm thick or 5/8 inch thick. Roll out two discs of about 10 inches, and place those discs into two large round mold. With a fork prick the dough and cook in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the dough is a pale golden color.

If you are making individual cakes, you can use metal pastry rings of about 3 inches. Cut the dough with the pastry rings, lift the ring and the dough and place both onto a silpat. And cook like that for 8-10 minutes.

You may also cut the dough in circles, and place each circle into a muffin pan to cook. It will take about 8-10 minutes as well.

When the dough or the “Sable Breton” has turned to a light brown color, remove the sable from the oven and let them cool.

To assemble:

For the large, pipe the marzipan pastry cream all over the cake and place the raspberry on top of the cream. Sprinkle some powdered sugar for added decoration.

For the individuals cakes, pipe a very small amount of  pastry cream all over each cake to allow the raspberries to stick. Place the raspberry only on the outer part of the cake. Then pipe more cream in the middle inside the ring of raspberry.

For added effects, melt 1/4 cup of bittersweet chocolate chips into the microwave for about 60 sec. When the chocolate is melted, use a pastry brush and make streaks of chocolate onto a silpat. Let the chocolate set, and brush more chocolate on each streaks. Repeat this process at least 4 times in all. Then place the silpat into the freezer for the chocolate to set.

Once the chocolate is set, place one on each cake. Sprinkle some powdered sugar on the chocolate.

Decorate the plate with some raspberry syrup, and place each cake in the center of the cake. Et voila!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!