Thursday, December 2, 2010

Noble Napoleon


Happy Birthday to a fine man
I am lucky you are my man!!!

It is the dawn of another beautiful day. As I opened my eyes to the rays of the morning sun peeking through my bedroom window, the warm and tender sunlight felt surreal and filled my heart with joy. "Good morning" to a day packed with celebrations. I softly whispered in his ears "happy birthday dear" . With his eyes still shut but a smile on his lips as radiant as the sun, he whispered back "thank you and happy deepavali to you". A lot of boiling, baking, steaming and simmering to be done yet the morning feels mystical.

After a cup of freshly brewed coffee, I am taking a plunge to put together a delectable deepavali meal. Along with an authentic festive menu I am whipping up a dessert exclusively for my hubby's birthday. I am taking him on a quick dash to the french land for dessert. No, he does not have to beat the traffic to get to the airport nor experience jet lag. He will savor the classic french dessert "Mille feuille" from the comfort of our dinning room. I am making caramelized pear and walnut Napoleon. A noble dessert for my noble man.

Mille-feuille is the french name for a Napoleon dessert meaning "a thousand leaves" accurately describing the layers of puff pastry sheets. Traditionally, a Mille-feuille is made up of three layers of puff pastry, alternating with two layers of cream patisserie or whipped cream. The top is glazed with icing in alternating white and brown stripes and combed. But it is also made with a lot of variations to suit the palate. It can have a fruit filling, jam, preserves, whipped cream or custard mixed with nuts.

Puff pastry:
1 puff pastry sheet thawed(I used Pepperidge Farm)

Roll out the puff pastry on a floured surface.
Cut the puff pastry sheet into 3 strips along the folded marks. Cut each strip into 2 rectangles.
Lay them on a baking sheet and pierce the sheet with a fork at one inch intervals to keep the dough from puffing too much.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes, until puffed and golden brown.
Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Walnuts:
1/2 cup walnuts
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
 
Chop the walnuts to the consistency of rough crumbs.
Place them in a bowl.
Melt butter on low heat and pour over the walnuts.
Sprinkle both sugar and cinnamon over the walnuts.
Spread the mixture onto a baking sheet and cook in the oven at 400 degrees F for 5 to 7 minutes, until darkened and lightly caramelized.
Set aside to cool.
 
Pears:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 pounds Bosc pears, cut into 1/2-inch slices (about 6 large or 8 small)
 
Melt the butter with both the sugars in a skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced pears.
Cook until pears are just tender and juices thicken to a syrup consistency, about 6 to 8 minutes.
 
Whipped cream:
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
 
Place the whipping bowl and beater in the fridge for about 15 minutes to chill.
Begin whipping the heavy cream in the chilled bowl using the electric hand mixer on a slow speed.
Add sugar, vanilla extract and gradually increase the speed to medium.
When soft peaks have formed stop whipping.
Over whipping will turn the cream into butter.
A wire whisk can be used instead of the electric mixer to get the same results.
 
Serving:
Place a puff pastry rectangle in the center of a serving plate.
Top with a few pears, whipped cream and walnut pieces.
On top of the filling place another pastry rectangle.
Top with pears, whipped cream and walnut pieces.
End the assembly with a pastry rectangle.
Sprinkle with confectioners sugar and chocolate shavings.
 
Denouement:
After devouring this Napoleon it was hard for us to distinguish which was the best part of the dessert. The flaky puff pastry, the sweet caramelized pear, the crunchy walnuts and the light and fluffy whipped cream all worked together for our taste buds to feel ecstatic.

Linking this post to A.W.E.D French 
Linking this post to A.W.E.D Chef In You

15 comments:

  1. Absolutely gorgeous Veena...stunning and delicious. So much to celebrate, and so beautifully done.

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  2. Excellent. ..amazingly good...can't wait to try the receipe: )

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  3. Hi,

    That a real good one...looks great...:)

    http://www.myeasytocookrecipes.blogspot.com

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  4. Lovely post..belated b'day wishes to your man..
    The dessert looks great , perfect for the occasion!

    US Masala

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  5. Thank you for the wishes Aipi. I loved your US Masala space. You have amazing receipes.

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  6. How brave to tackle this towering and beautiful dessert.

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  7. The first dessert my first chef taught me to make in the first kitchen I ever worked in was mille feuille! Good memories. This looks lovely, walnut is always a winner in my book.

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  8. Lovely dessert,looks delicious.

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