One thing I forgot how much I love doing is sitting on the floor of Borders. scanning as many books at a time as possible. With help from my best friend Michelle, (and patience of the people working there) we turned the whole Baking/Pastry section upside-down :) I came across two books, One i'll save for another post....The other is simply titled, "Puff" by Martha Holmberg. This book legitimately holds everything you need to know about puff pastry, and contains everything in it from appetizers to desserts. I know I love puff pastry, but never have made anything from scratch, including the dough. So I went for it... and I can't be anything less than ecstatic with that came out of my mixer and oven :) I'm going to provide the recipe because honestly, these look so stunning and fancy...which they are... but don't let that make you think they are difficult! I'll add some tips at the end that I got first hand when making them.
"Quick Chocolate-Raspberry Napoleons"
from Puff by Martha Holmberg
1 Sheet of Frozen Puff Pastry, Thawed ( I made mine from Scratch, which was pretty easy and also provided in the book! ((I made the quick version))
1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar - Plus more for decoration!
3 & 1/2 ounces good quality Semisweet Chocolate (chopped)
2 Cups Whipping Cream
1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
1/8 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
2 Pints Fresh Raspberries
1- Heat oven to 425 Degrees. On a lightly floured counter, roll the pastry sheet into a 13x14 Inch Rectangle (edges will be trimmed later). Prick it all over with a fork and half-inch intervals. Slide the Puff Pastry dough on to a baking sheet (preferably flat). Lay a piece of parchment paper on top, and arrange another baking sheet thats big enough to cover the pastry on top to prevent from puffing (Make sure it's perfectly flat). Bake until the pastry is a very deep golden brown, about 15 to twenty minutes. Take the top off the sheet and the parchment paper. Sprinkle 1/2 Cup powdered sugar evenly over the surface. Bake for another 3 to 4 minutes until the pastry is nicely glazed. Carefully, slide to a rack and cool.
2- Combine the Chocolate and 1/3 cup of the whipping cream into a stainless-steel bowl set over a pan of half-full water. Bring the water to a bare simmer and heat until the chocolate melts. Whisk until smooth and glossy (It may look curdled at first), then Whisk in the vanilla and salt. In a Separate bowl, using an electric mixer, Whip the rest of the cream until it forms soft peaks, then whip in 1/2 cup of the chocolate sauce, a little at a time (you will use the rest of the Chocolate as a sauce) Don't over whip the cream or it will get lumpy.
3- With a large chefs knife or Pizza Cutter, trim the pastry into 16 three-inch squares. Place one square sugar side up on a dessert plate, dollop a generous 1/3 cup of chocolate cream on top, nestle in some berries, and top with another pastry square. Just before serving, sprinkle a little more powdered sugar on top and drizzle the remainder of the chocolate sauce over each.
Things I picked up while making: While you are baking your dough, be careful with your oven, even though you aren't supposed to check on things too much while they are in the oven, this was my first time making these and I periodically checked and was glad I did because these babies take a little while to brown but when they do, its really rapid and you don't want to burn too much in the corners (since you are cutting off some edges, after all) Also, I loved how these came out but I think next time I would like a little more texture to the dough so I think I will take the second sheet that is holding the pastry on top, off a couple minutes earlier.
If you have never made the chocolate sauce (similar to a simple ganache) or made homemade whipped cream, I would actually save that for after the pastry is out and cooled, My whipped cream fell a tiny bit because I spent a whole lot of time making sure the dough came out right. Oh, and I made two batches of the chocolate sauce, because I mean, the more the merrier right?