Posts Tagged 'berries'

Pipe Dream #130: To Savor a Rich Evening – Bumble Berry Napoleons

This dessert came to me at a well-timed moment. It was one of those rare, glowing summer evenings.

Picture it! It’s a balmy July dusk; the sun is nearly below the horizon. You’ve just had a meal full of grill marks and witty conversation. You’re not wearing any blue clothing, so there are no mosquitoes pestering you (double bonus). As you pour yourself a glass of sweet red wine by the fire, a delightful concoction of flaky pastry, jumbled berries and creamy filling is presented. The flavors and textures contrast and meld together in a  creamy symphony of flavor, fulfilling all of your wildest dreams about how life should be.

It was ideal. But because nights like these are few and far between, I do my utmost to appreciate them to the full.

Thus, this dessert has stuck with me. This is the reincarnated version of the dessert my mum made a few years ago. Frozen puff pastry makes it easy-schmeasy. Because we were feeding a crowd, we cut the pastry into 12 parts, rather than six. It went further, and really, it was a better portion size than the original recipe suggests, I think. Unless you are feeding tha men. Size at your discretion. We also used cream cheese this time around, because I was too lazy to run to the store and get mascarpone. It was still, great, but hey, if you wanna be cheesy and elegant, you go for it, man.

P.S. I hope I haven’t been overwhelming you with berries. I mean, there was The Trifle, not to mention the various lessons in fake frugality I have been obligated to share, all of which include berries, fresh or otherwise. I think this speaks to the fact that I have been somewhat overwhelmed with berries this summer. Not that I’m complaining. These bright bulbs of goodness are in season, after all.


Enjoy these Havana nightttts,

L

Bumble Berry Napoleons

Adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine

1 sheet  frozen puff pastry, thawed and cut into 6 equal rectangles (or 12)
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups fresh raspberries
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons ruby port
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup (4 ounces) Mascarpone cheese (or cream cheese)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees . Arrange the puff pastry on a baking sheet and bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool on a rack for 5 minutes; split each piece into 2 layers.
In a large bowl, combine the berries. In a large, nonreactive skillet, combine 3 cups berries, 1/4 cup sugar, the lemon juice and port over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until cool.
Using an electric mixer, beat the heavy cream, mascarpone, vanilla and the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar until stiff, about 2 minutes. Fold in 3/4 cup berry compote.
Spread the remaining berry compote on the pastry bottoms. Top them with some berry cream, the remaining fresh berries and the pastry tops. Dollop with the remaining berry cream before serving.

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Pipe Dream #64: Um…Chocolate – Flourless Chocolate Torte

I really didn’t know what to call this post except “Chocolate.” This whole recipe is saturated with chocolate. And ok, let’s be real, my whole life is saturated with chocolate. Or at least, I feel that it should be. Can I get an amen?

Also, I make a lot of ‘I feel’ statements. Like, “I’m feeling like you are in a bad mood,” or “I feel that I think that I possibly want to go on a bike ride.” Just thought I would tell you that. Anyway.

Actually, it was my dad’s birthday, so I felt like I should make something that he would like. It wasn’t a hard decision. In my dad’s eyes, chocolate is always a winner. I mean, he can pretend like he’s all healthy eating green shakes in the morning, but we all know where his true heart lies. And can I just say, there is a lot of chocolate in this recipe. You have to go all in and buy 23 whole ounces of the good stuff. But it is worth it, I promise. :]

There is real dark chocolate in the glaze. Also pictured, butter.

There is chocolate in the batter.

There is chocolate lining the very pan in which the cake is baked.

This recipe also includes fewlding in egg whites, which I don’t actually get. Usually, you fold in egg whites because you want your cake or what-have-you to be especially light. This torte is the opposite of especially light; it is like a fudge cake. So I don’t get why you fold in the egg whites, but whatevs. I did it. It turned out fine.


Bonus, this cake has the easiest frosting in the world. Just heat up the chocolate, and pour it over the cake. Ba-am. The golden apples were a little more time-consuming, but I’ll tell you about that some other time, like maybe later this week if I get the time. Hold your breath.

Suffice it to say that this torte was a cinch and my dad totally loved it. Print it, bake it, love it.

I feel,

L

Flourless Chocolate Torte

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Dessert, by Abigail Johnson Dodge (Simon & Schuster, 2002)

Serves 12-14…depending on how you slice it.

For the torte:

Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting
15 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
18 Tbs. (2 1⁄4 sticks) unsalted butter,
cut into small pieces
7 egg yolks
9 Tbs. granulated sugar
1 1⁄2 Tbs. dark rum or brewed espresso (optional)
1 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
5 egg whites, at room temperature
3 cups raspberries
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

For the glaze:

1/2 cup butter
8 oz chopped bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons light corn syrup

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 300ºF. Grease a cake pan and dust with cocoa powder.In the top pan of a double boiler or a janky makeshift version of a double boiler. Sometimes I use a regular pan and a glass bowl…gets the job done. Combine the chocolate and butter. Set the top pan over simmering water and melt, then whisk until well blended. Set aside to cool a bit.In a large bowl, using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the egg yolks, 6 tablespoons of the granulated sugar, the rum, vanilla and salt on medium-high speed until pale and very thick, 3 to 5 minutes. Graduallypour in the chocolate mixture and continue beating until well blended.In a deep bowl, using a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Make sure your bowl and beaters are very clean. Gradually add the remaining 3 tablespoons granulated sugar and continue to beat until medium-firm peaks form, about 2 minutes. Scoop half of the egg whites onto the chocolate mixture and fold them in gently. Fold in the remaining whites just until no streaks remain, so your cake doesn’t deflate. I find this hard to do without feeling like I’m overdoing it–you’ll probably be fine, though.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Bake until the torte puffs slightly and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out very moist but not liquid, about 40 minutes. This is tricky too, as Abigail warns us not to over-bake. Whatever. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes.

Remove the torte from the pan and let it cool completely, then cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
To glaze the torte, combine butter, cut into 4 pieces, and chocolate in the top of a double boiler. Set over simmering water and melt, then whisk until blended. Remove from the heat and whisk in the corn syrup until smooth and glossy. Set the cold cake on a wire rack over a large plate or baking sheet. Slowly pour the warm glaze over the center of the cake. The glaze should cover the surface evenly, but feel free to help it along to be even. I spent a devil of a time wiping off my cake plate after I glazed it so the excess would look even. No, I’ve never been a perfectionist.

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