Happy Saturday, my beauties! The weekend is the best part of the week, don't you agree? Well quite a while back last year, travelled to Paris, and came back with these enchanting ideas for little desserts. My mum still had a craving for the delicious nibbles from France, so she told me to make something with strawberry and pastry. So here I present the Roasted Strawberry Napoleon with Orange Pastry Cream, which surprisingly did not take too much of my time. Personally, I loved this petite dessert, and how all the flavours infuse together.
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- All-purpose flour, for dusting
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, from standard package (17 1/4 ounces), thawed
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 14 medium strawberries (about 1 pint), stems trimmed
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (optional)
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped pistachios
- 1 cup milk
- 2 strips (1 or 2 inches) orange zest, from 1 orange
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 large whole egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Orange Pastry Cream:
In a small saucepan, combine milk, orange zest, and 2 tablespoons sugar. Scrape in vanilla seeds, and add the pod. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and cover. Set aside 10 minutes; discard orange zest and vanilla pod.
Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix together remaining 2 tablespoons sugar with cornstarch. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg and egg yolk; add the sugar mixture, and continue whisking until pale yellow.
Return milk mixture to heat. Bring to a boil, scraping vanilla seeds from sides of pan.
Slowly ladle half of boiling milk mixture into egg-yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Transfer this new mixture back to saucepan.
Set pan over medium heat, whisking constantly and scraping sides and edges of pan. Once mixture comes to a boil, whisk vigorously until very thick, about 1 1/2 minutes.
Remove pan from heat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape pastry cream into a medium bowl; set over ice bath. Whisk butter, piece by piece, into the pastry cream while still warm. Let cool completely. Lay plastic wrap on surface of pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming; wrap tightly. Store pastry cream, refrigerated, up to 1 day.
Remove the empty pan and top parchment, and return pan to oven. Bake until pastry starts to puff and is light-golden brown, about 8 minutes. Remove from oven; lightly brush with reserved corn-syrup mixture. Using a long metal spatula, gently flip rectangles. Brush again with corn-syrup mixture. Bake until shiny and golden brown, about 9 minutes more. With the spatula, transfer puff pastry to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
Increase oven temperature to 232°C (450°F). Using a pastry brush, coat the bottom of a medium oven-proof saute pan with 1 tablespoon butter; scrape vanilla seeds into butter. Place strawberries, cut sides down, in pan. Sprinkle with granulated sugar, and lay vanilla pod on top. Roast until strawberries start to "slump" and feel soft when squeezed, 10 to 12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer all but 2 of the berries and vanilla pod to a plate to cool. Reserve juices in pan.
Set pan over high heat. If using Grand Marnier, add to pan, and light a match, carefully igniting liqueur; allow flame to burn out, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium. Using a fork, mash 2 remaining strawberries; add orange juice. (If not using liqueur, add 2 tablespoons more orange juice). Cook until thick and syrupy, 30 to 40 seconds; discard vanilla pod. Remove from heat. Swirl in the remaining tablespoon butter, and set aside.
Combine cream and confectioners' sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer, and whip until stiff peaks form.
Without using a tip, close off the end of a pastry bag with a paper clip or clothespin; fill with whipped cream. Repeat, filling a second pastry bag with orange pastry cream. (Alternatively, use two resealable plastic bags, and cut off a corner on each; an offset spatula can also be used to spread both whipped and pastry creams.)
Pipe a tablespoon of pastry cream onto the middle of a serving plate. Center a rectangle of puff pastry on top. Leaving a 1/2-inch border, pipe orange pastry cream onto puff pastry. Arrange roasted strawberries on top of pastry cream; scrape any remaining juices from plate into reserved sauce. Place a second rectangle of puff pastry on top of strawberries. Leaving a 1/2-inch border, pipe whipped cream onto second rectangle of puff pastry. Sprinkle with pistachios. Place a third rectangle of puff pastry on top.
Using a serrated knife, slice assembled napoleon into 4 pieces. Drizzle with the reserved sauce, and serve.