Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Raspberry White Chocolate Mousse Napoleon

Finally, the third installment of my series on frozen puff pastry. This should have been up last week but due to work and being exhausted from work it never got done. Such is life. I'm just glad to be back at work after not having any work for most of the winter. The old body is taking some time to adjust to being on my feet all day. I don't think people would ever imagine how physically demanding being a Pastry Chef really is. On your feet all day and lifting heavy pans and ingredients. The rewards are so tasty and beautiful though, to say nothing of how yummy pastries can bring a smile to people's faces and make them very happy. So, here is a very easy plated dessert that I know will make your guests and family smile, Raspberry White Chocolate Mousse Napoleons. Layers of puff pastry are filled with fresh raspberries and white chocolate mousse. The plate is garnished with raspberry coulis. The combination of the sweet white chocolate mousse and the raspberries is devine. Add the slight crunchiness of the puff pastry and you have a win, win combination. I must confess, that while I was making this I took pieces of the puff pastry, slathered it with extra white chocolate mousse, squirted it with raspberry coulis and was devouring it. This is one of those combinations where you think you've died and gone to heaven. This dessert was adapted from Chocolate Ephiphany by Francois Payard. It is very easy to make and will give a big wow factor to your next dinner party. Serves 8
Puff Pastry
3 sheets of frozen puff pastry
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
Flour a board and the top of the puff pastry. Roll slightly to even out the seams.
*Cut each sheet of puff pastry into 2 1/2" x 4" pieces for a total of 24 pieces.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and lay each piece of puff pastry on the pan. Depending on the size of your pan you will need at least 2 pans. Place another sheet of parchment paper on top of the puff pastry. Then place another sheet pan on top of the parchment paper. Bake the puff pastry for 20 to 30 minutes until they are a nice golden brown. *Note: You can make the puff pastry any size you want. You may want to have a slightly smaller dessert but I don't think you would want to go any larger for an individual dessert.

Raspberry Coulis
1 pound raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Combine the raspberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a blender or food processor and puree. Strain the puree through a fine mesh sieve over a bowl, to remove the seeds. Set aside. This can be made ahead and refrigerated for 2 days. I like to place it in a plastic squeeze bottle.

White Chocolate Mousse
1 cup heavy cream
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/3 cup sugar
8 ounces white chocolate, melted
Whisk the cream with a hand mixer or standing mixer until it holds soft peaks. Set aside.
Whisk the egg and egg yolk with a hand mixer or standing mixer on high speed.
While the eggs are being whipped, combine the sugar and 2 Tbs. water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. After the syrup has boiled for one minute, pour it into the eggs in a slow stream, with the mixer running on low, down the inside of the bowl. Continue whipping the eggs on medium-high speed until they have doubled in volume and the bottom of the bowl is cool. They will be pale yellow.
With a spatula, fold the melted white chocolate into the egg mixture. Then fold the whipped cream into the white chocolate mixture. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour, or up to one day.

Place the white chocolate mousse in a pastry bag fitted with a #806 round tip. Pipe a dot of mousse at the center of a plate. Place a puff pastry rectangle on top of the mousse. Starting at one end place a raspberry on each corner of the puff pastry rectangle and pipe a 1/2" mound of mousse in between them. For the next row pipe two mounds of mousse and place a raspberry in between them. Continue with alternating rows of mousse and raspberries until you have five rows and have filled the rectangle.
Place another rectangle of puff pastry on top of the raspberries and mousse. On this layer start with two mounds of mousse and a raspberry in between them. For the next row place two raspberries and a mound of mousse in between them. This will give you an alternating look from the first layer. Continue piping alternating rows until you have five rows.
For the last layer of puff pastry sieve some powdered sugar on top of it and place it on the last layer of mousse and raspberries. Place two raspberries with a mound of mousse in between in the middle of the top puff pastry. Place a sprig of mint in the mousse.
Take the squeeze bottle of raspberry coulis and drizzle on the plate in whatever design you would like. Serve immediately and sit back and wait for the oohs and aahs.

I hope you'll give this easy but impressive plated dessert a try. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to email me. Up next will be the final installement of this series of sweets and savories with frozen puff pastry. Quick and easy Sweet and Savory Palmiers. 


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Roasted Tomato Goat Cheese Dill Tart

Here is the second installment of my recipes for Quick and Easy Puff Pastry. Once again I have used frozen puff pastry which can be found in the frozen section of your grocery store. These would be wonderful served for lunch with a baby green salad or could be made in a smaller version for appetizers. They are made with parmesan cheese, carmelized onions, goat cheese with dill, and roasted tomatoes. The first thing you have to do is roast the tomatoes, carmelize the onions, and take the goat cheese out of the refrigerator to come to room temperature. This recipe makes eight tarts.
Roasted Tomatoes: Take four Roma tomatoes and cut them in half. Place them on a baking sheet and sprinkle with one Tbs. olive oil* and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Roast at 375 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes. Turn them over the last 10 minutes of roasting. Let cool.
* A word about olive oil: I use extra virgin olive oil for all of my cooking. I know they say you don't need to do this when the olive oil is going to be cooked but I feel it does give a much better flavor. I never buy regular olive oil, only extra virgin. The choice is up to you.

Carmelized Onions: Take 2 medium sized onions, peel, and cut them in half. Thinly slice each of the four halfs. Heat two Tbs. olive oil and one Tbs. unsalted butter in a medium saute pan. Add the onions, one tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and a 1/4 tsp. sugar. Saute the onions on medium heat until translucent and just starting to turn slightly brown. About 10 minutes. Let cool.

Goat Cheese with Fresh Dill: Let eight ounces of goat cheese come to room temperature. Stir in one Tbs. fresh chopped dill, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Reserve.

After letting the puff pastry thaw for about twenty minutes on my counter, I floured a board and rolled it a little bit to smooth the folds. (You can also let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator.) I then cut out eight four inch rounds. You then take a smaller cutter, I used a three inch, center it on the cut out circle and make a slight indentation. You do not want to go all the way through the dough. Place these on parchment on a baking sheet. All of the ingredients that you're going to put on the tarts must be kept inside the inner circle. You want the outside rim to be able to rise up around the filling.

Fill the tarts in the following order:
Place 2 tsp. grated parmesan cheese on the bottom of each tart.
Divide the carmelized onion evenly between the 8 tarts. About 1 Tbs. each.
Divide the dilled goat cheese evenly between the 8 tarts. About a Tbs and a half for each.
Place a half of the roasted tomatoes on the goat cheese for each tart.

Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. The last five minutes of baking sprinkle on some grated parmesan cheese. Garnish with a fresh sprig of dill. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Other cheese could be used such as fontina or gorgonzola.
Other fresh herbs could be used such as basil or thyme.
They could be made smaller for appetizers by using smaller round cutters. Adjust the amount of your fillings as necessary.
Try a square or even oblong shape.

I hope you enjoy these Roasted Tomato Goat Cheese Dill Tarts. They are really delicious and not difficult to make. Stay tuned for the third installment, Raspberry White Chocolate Mousse Napoleans. If you have any questions please email me.  lrice5241@att.net