Category:  Desserts, Creams & Sauces

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Passionate Peach Fantasy

In Desserts, Creams & Sauces On June 10, 2010 2 Comments

I’ve been fantasizing about peaches lately, but I’ve been lazy about preparing and rolling out pastry sheets. Thanks to ready made pastry, this luscious peach dessert is assembled in only 25 minutes. Red raspberry coulis adds color and delights all your senses! When serving, take in all the “oohs” and “aaahs” – your guests will think it took you hours to create this masterpiece.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 15 to 18 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients:
One package Pepperidge Farm® frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed per manufacturer’s instructions
4 yellow peaches, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Five-Minute Raspberry Coulis (previously published on this blog)
Whipped cream and fresh mint leaves for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 425F and line a 12 X 18-inch baking sheet with parchment paper (alternatively, grease and flour the baking sheet).

2. On a flat surface, lay out two pastry sheets next to one another; set aside.

3. Meanwhile in a 2-quart bowl, stir to combine cut peaches with the sugar, flour and cinnamon; set aside.

4. With a pastry wheel or a knife, cut one pastry sheet in half lengthwise (vertically). Cut each half into three equal pieces – you now have 6 pastry rectangles.

5. Repeat with remaining sheet – you now have 12 pastry rectangles.

6. Divide the peach mixture evenly among 6 pastry rectangles.

7. Cover each peach filling with remaining 6 pastries; trim edges with pastry wheel or a knife to form neat rectangles.

8. Carefully transfer each peach pastry onto prepared baking sheet. Cover edges of each pastry with thin strips of aluminum foil – this prevents burning.

9. Place baking sheet with pastries on a rack positioned in center of oven for 15 minutes.

10. After 15 minutes, remove foil strips and bake an additional 2 to 3 minutes – monitor this carefully to prevent blackening.

11. Transfer baking sheet with peach pastries to a counter to cool 5 minutes.

12. Beginning at short end of each pastry, carefully slide a metal spatula between parchment paper and pastry. Gently loosen and lift pastry, placing it on an individual dessert plate. Repeat with remaining pastries.

13. Decorate each plate with the raspberry coulis; garnish pastries with whipped cream and mint leaves. Serve warm.

Variation: Using shears, cut pastries into squares, placing them on plates for decoration and garnish.

Text and Photographs ©2010 Nancy DeLucia Real

Chocolate Pastry Cream with Berries

In Desserts, Creams & Sauces On May 6, 2010 0 Comments

Catherine de’ Medici, an Italian noblewoman, introduced pastry cream or “crema pasticciera” to the French court in the sixteenth century. In turn, the French called it “creme patissiere”. While traditional pastry cream is made with eggs, sugar, flour and milk, contemporary versions of this recipe have added flavorings.

As a chocoholic, I created this pastry cream to satisfy my palate. I use this rich chocolate cream as a filling for cakes or simply served with berries. Rest assured that this is a definite crowd pleaser.

Active prep time: 3 hours (chill time)
Inactive prep time: 3 hours (chill time)
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unbleached, all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups milk (2% is best – not too heavy and not too light)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup fresh strawberries, stems removed and cut into fourths lengthwise
1 cup fresh blueberries
Powdered sugar and cocoa, for dusting
1. In a 3-quart sauce pot, whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar until well-blended.

2. Gradually and vigorously whisk in the flour, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, making sure that each addition is completely absorbed.

3. In a slow and steady stream, pour in the milk while whisking continuously until all the milk is absorbed.

4. Transfer the sauce pot containing the milk mixture to a stove burner set on medium-low heat.

5. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly.

6. Cook and stir the cream for 1 to 2 minutes or until it has thickened.

7. Remove the saucepot from heat and stir the melted chocolate chips and the vanilla into the cream. Mix until the mixture is uniform.

8.Divide the chocolate pastry cream evenly among four 4-ounce ramekins. Immediately cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.

9. At serving time, top the chocolate pastry cream with berries and powdered sugar.

10. Set each ramekin on a flat dessert plate. Dust each plate with powdered cocoa and garnish with a strawberry and some blueberries.

Note: For more servings, just double or triple the recipe. Pour the cooked pastry cream into a porcelain or glass serving bowl, cool and refrigerate. At serving time, spoon the cream into individual bowls; dust with powdered sugar and cocoa. Garnish with fresh berries and mint leaves.

Variation: The milk can be substituted with soy milk, but the flavor will be different.

Text and Photographs ©2010 Nancy DeLucia Real