I decided today that we're skipping right over Christmas...
And focusing on Valentine's Day instead...
Don't let the decorations in our living room fool you. It may
look like we're snuggling in for a cozy wintry Christmas...
But we're not! We're squarely focused on the New Year...
Why the rush to get through the holidays?
Because the new year will bring us the end of Ranger's deployment!
So this afternoon, as I flipped through my binder of saved recipes to
try, I decided Martha's Raspberry Napoleons was the perfect fit...
For my rush to get to Valentine's Day!
Martha's pastry cream comes together like a
dream in no time at all and, it's incredibly delicious!
A little bit of milk, 4 large egg yolks, a pinch of salt, a little sugar and corn
starch... One whole vanilla bean and, a little bit of butter is all it takes!
In just a few minutes you have the best pastry cream you can imagine!
It can be made a couple of days in advance too. Just be sure to cover it
with plastic wrap, pressing it against the cream to prevent a skin from
forming. This is a same-day operation for me so while my cream chills...
It's time to get my puff pastry going!
I prefer to work on plastic wrap for easy clean up and to use powdered sugar
to help keep my pastry from sticking to it. I believe adding flour to dough
makes it dry while adding a little sweetness can only help make it better!
You could cut your pastry into any shape but since we're on a Valentine's
Day kick here, I'm going with what makes the most sense... Hearts!
After poking holes in my dough I brushed each shape with an
egg wash to give it a little shine when it comes out of the oven!
By the way... While this is puff pastry, this is not what you want for Napoleons!
To tamp down on the puffiness, cover the dough with parchment or another Silpat mat
Then place another baking sheet or two on top to weigh it down!
That way, you'll have perfectly un-puffed puff pastry for your Napoleons!
Un-puffed, yes. But still beautifully tender and flaky!
Now, grab your pastry cream from the refrigerator and put it
into a pastry bag fitted with a half-inch round decorating tip, stat!
Then pipe the pastry cream onto the puff pastry heart...
And, dot it with fresh, plump raspberries!
If you love yourself, as I clearly do, you'll cover a raspberry,
or four with cold pastry cream and pop it into your mouth!
When you get to the top, grab some powdered sugar...
And let it snow! Like it sometimes does in
early spring... Say, around Valentine's Day!
A little or a lot... It's up to you!
I added a couple of tiny hearts too...
I dotted the top heart with an extra bit of pastry cream
and a single raspberry, which could certainly serve as a
tasty holiday dessert bite all on its own. If you were doing
Christmas and needed such an idea, that is. Which I don't...
To finish my Napoleon I chopped up one
of the baked pastry hearts into crumbs and...
Sprinkled them on top!
Here's to a sweet homecoming!