Blackberry Mille-Feuille

So, you may be wondering what exactly a Mille-Feuille is? I know I was wondering that when a friend tagged me in an Instagram post for Ree Drummond’s Marvelous Mille-Feuille. Translated from French it means one thousand sheets, layer, or leaves. Still wondering? Well, it’s a dessert consisting of layers of puff pastry and cream… Think a Napoleon. For this version though I added in some blackberries along with a custard made with mascarpone cheese… YUM! A slight variation from Ree Drummond’s as she used raspberries. Why did I use blackberries? Well, it was because the recipe called for raspberry liqueur and since I still had some blackberry liqueur from last year’s White Chocolate Blackberry Tiramisu I decided to swap out the berries.

I began by thawing a frozen sheet of puff pastry according to the package directions – I used Pepperidge Farm’s Frozen Puff Pastry. Once it was defrosted I rolled it into a 12 x 15 inch rectangle and then cut it into three 12 x 5 inch rectangles. I placed the three pieces on a parchment lined baking sheet and pricked it with a work and then placed it in the refrigerator for 20 minutes (alternatively you could place it in the freezer for 10 minutes.

While the puff pastry was in the fridge I preheated the oven to 425 F. Once the puff pastry was perfectly chilled, I sprinkled each rectangle with confectioners’ sugar…

And baked it in the oven from about 15 minutes. Until the puff pastry was a golden brown and puffy. I the transferred them to a wire rack to cool.

While the puff pastry cooled, I made the filling. In the bowl of my stand mixer I added confectioners’ sugar, mascarpone cheese, heavy cream and vanilla paste and whisked it until soft peaks formed. I then added in the blackberry liqueur and lemon zest and whisked for a few more second until the ingredients were combined.

It was then time to assemble. I placed a dab of the whipped mixture on a serving plate and place one of the puff pastry’s on the plate glaze-side down. I spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the puff pastry and then arranged half of the blackberries on top.

I repeated this with another puff pastry rectangle and the remaining mascarpone mixture and berries. I then topped it with the remaining puff pastry rectangle and before serving I dusted it with more confectioners’ sugar.

Verdict… It was a hit! I can’t wait to make it again using freshly picked berries… Maybe I’ll try making it with raspberries next.

Blackberry Mille-Feuille

Ingredients:

1 14-oz. sheet frozen all-butter puff pastry, thawed

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting the pastry and the finished dish

8 ounces mascarpone cheese

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

2 tablespoons blackberry liqueur

zest of 1 lemon

3 – 4 cups fresh blackberries

 

Directions:

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Unfold the pastry and roll it to a 12 x 15 inch rectangle and then cut into three 12 x 5 inch rectangles. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and prick the pastry with a fork and chill for 10 minutes in the freezer or 20 minutes in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Dust the pastry with confectioners’ sugar and bake until golden brown and puffy, about 15 minutes. All to cool for about 15 minutes on a wire rack.

In a bowl add the confectioners’ sugar, mascarpone, heavy cream and vanilla paste/extract, beat until soft peaks form – If using a stand mixer use the whisk attachment. Add the blackberry liqueur and lemon zest and continue mixing for an additional 10 seconds to ensure the ingredients are all combined.

To Assemble: Dab a dollop of the mascarpone mixture on the serving plate and place one piece of the pastry on the plate – glaze-sized down (the side you sprinkled the sugar on). Spoon half of the mascarpone mixture on the pastry and smooth it out evenly. Arrange half of the blackberries on top and repeat with another piece of pasty and the remaining mascarpone mixture and blackberries. Top with the remaining pastry piece and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Recipe adapted from Ree Drummond

Blueberry Vanilla Ice Cream

With berries in season there’s so many delicious treats you can make with them… Pies, Cakes, Muffins and probably something that doesn’t come as quickly to mind… ice cream! Ever since I got my ice cream maker a few years ago I am always trying to come up different flavors to make – Pumpkin, Lavender Vanilla, Mint Chocolate Chip – some common and some not so common. I’ve even made Hibiscus Sorbet. So, with a fridge full of blueberries I decided to make a vanilla ice cream base and then swirl in a blueberry compote, hence Blueberry Vanilla Ice Cream.

To make the vanilla ice cream base I combined milk, sugar and salt in a medium bowl and blended it with a hand mixer on low speed until the sugar was dissolved. I then stirred in heavy cream and vanilla bean paste (you could use vanilla extract.) I covered the bowl and refrigerated it for about 5 hours (you could do as little as 1 to 2 hours, you just want to make sure that the mixture is cold.)

Meanwhile, to make the blueberry compote, I combined blueberries, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and let the mixture simmer until some of the blueberries burst and the mixture began to thicken. I removed it from the heat to let it cool and then covered it and refrigerated it as well.

Once the ice cream and compote were properly chilled it was time to combine them to make the Blueberry Vanilla Ice Cream. Per the instructions of my ice cream maker, I turned it on and poured in the vanilla ice cream base and let it churn for about 15-20 minutes until it had a soft creamy mixture. With the machine still running, I then poured in the compote and let the machine run for about another 30 seconds until the compote had swirled through the ice cream and was lightly incorporated. I then transferred the ice cream to a freezer-safe container and placed it in the freezer so the ice cream could firm up – about an hour.

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And then it was time to enjoy… And one simple sentence sums up the flavor…. There’s nothing like homemade!

But, if you don’t have an ice cream maker here are two quick ideas on how to make your own Blueberry Vanilla Ice Cream. Use the compote as a topping on your favorite vanilla ice cream. Or take it one step further and soften a pint of your favorite vanilla ice cream and then add it to a large bowl and using a rubber spatula fold the compote into the ice cream. Place the ice cream in a freezer-proof container and place it back in the freezer so it can firm up, about 1-2 hours.

 

Blueberry Vanilla Ice Cream

Ingredients:

For the vanilla ice cream

1 cup whole milk

3/4 cup granulated sugar

Pinch of salt

2 cups heavy cream

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract*

*can substitute vanilla bean paste

 

For the blueberry compote

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

 

Directions:

For the vanilla ice cream; In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer on low speed (or by hand use a whisk) to combine the milk, granulated sugar and salt until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla extract. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, or overnight.

For the blueberry compote; In a small saucepan combine the blueberries, sugar and lemon juice and simmer over medium-low heat until the blueberries begin to burst and the sauce thickens. Let cool, cover and refrigerate.

Follow the directions for your ice cream maker to churn the vanilla ice cream. Once the ice cream thickens slowly pour in the compote and continue to churn for about 30 seconds to lightly incorporate the compote into the vanilla ice cream.

Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-proof container and freeze for about 1 to 2 hours to firm.

Vanilla ice cream recipe from Cuisinart

 

White Chocolate Blackberry Tiramisu

Out of all the desserts I’ve made I think Tiramisu has been my favorite. In all honesty though, it’s always been one of my favorite desserts. Today, I’m bringing you a twist on the classic Tiramisu, a White Chocolate Blackberry Tiramisu. And now is the perfect time to make it with berries, including blackberries, being in-season.

To begin I soaked ladyfingers in a mixture of orange juice and blackberry liqueur and arranged them in a 11×7 inch baking dish. Don’t let the ladyfingers soak up too much of the liquid, you don’t want them to become mushy.

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Next, I melted white chocolate in a double boiler. I don’t own an actual double boiler, so, I created my own by simmering water in a pot and then placing a heat-proof bowl over the water without touching it. Once the chocolate had melted I let it cool slightly and in another bowl I beat cream cheese, vanilla extract and confectioners’ sugar until creamy. I then stirred in the melted white chocolate. In another bowl, I beat heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks formed and took 1 cup of the whipped cream and folded it into the cream cheese mixture. And finally, I spread half of this mixture over the ladyfingers.

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On top of the cream cheese mixture I laid an even layer of fresh blackberries which I pressed lightly into the cream cheese. I then dipped the remaining ladyfingers into the orange juice / liqueur mixture and placed them on top of the blackberries.

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With the remaining cream cheese mixture I added in more confectioners’ sugar and then folded in the remaining whipped cream and spread this over the second layer of ladyfingers. To top it off, I melted a few tablespoons of blackberry preserves and combined it with a tablespoon of the blackberry liqueur and then drizzled it over the tiramisu and then topped it with some fresh blackberries.

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And after chilling for a few hours it was time to dive in…

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And it was delish… Sweet, but just sweet enough!

 

White Chocolate Blackberry Tiramisu

Ingredients:

2/3 cup orange juice

1 tbsp. blackberry liqueur

24 ladyfingers

6oz. white chocolate, chopped*

8oz. brick cream cheese, softened

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3/4 cup Confectioners’ sugar, divided use

1 1/2 cups whipping cream

2 cups fresh blackberries, divided use

 Garnish

3 tbsp. melted blackberry preserves

1 tbsp. blackberry liqueur

*I used 3/4 cup of white chocolate chips

Directions:

Combine orange juice and liqueur in a shallow bowl. Dip half of the ladyfingers in the orange juice mixture – a quick dip will suffice – and line the bottom of an 11×7 inch baking dish.

Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler you can create one yourself by simmering water in a pot and placing a heat-proof bowl over the water without allowing it to touch the water. Once melted let the chocolate cool for a few minutes.

In a large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese along with the vanilla extract and 1/4 cup of the Confectioners’ sugar until creamy. Stir in the melted chocolate and let the mixture cool for about 5 minutes.

In another bowl beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Fold 1 cup of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture and spread half of it over the ladyfingers. Lay about 1 1/2 cups of the fresh blackberries over the cream cheese mixture, pressing down slightly.

Dip the remaining ladyfingers into the orange juice mixture and arrange them over the blackberries.

Add the remaining 1/2 cup of Confectioners’ sugar to the remaining cream cheese mixture, then fold in the remaining whipped cream. Spread this mixture over the second layer of ladyfingers.

In a small bow mix together the melted preserves and liqueur and drizzle over the top of the tiramisu. And finally, top the entire thing with the remaining blackberries.

Chill 3-5 hours and Enjoy!

Recipe from Better Recipes.

Mixed Berry Galette

The unofficial end of summer is upon us… Labor Day. While the day temps feel like summer the drop in the evening temps definitely signal the arrival of Fall is imminent, kids are heading back to school and everywhere you look there is something flavored pumpkin. I am not complaining though… Fall is by far my favorite of the four seasons. I love the crispness in the air, apple picking, the leaves changing colors and the return of scarf season. If you didn’t know, I love scarves!!! But before all that fun begins I have one last summer themed dessert… A Mixed Berry Galette. While you can get berries – blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc. – anytime of the year, summer is when they are at their peak.

Just look at how vibrant and delicious these berries look…

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While you could make your dough from scratch, I opted to go the easier and quicker route by using a puff pastry sheet. After thawing the sheet out I rolled it on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch square. I then transferred it to a parchment lined cookie sheet and placed it the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.

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Following that I put my berries – which I tossed with corn starch, sugar and salt – in a small mound in the center of the sheet and folded the edges around it. I brushed the edges with an egg wash – an egg beaten with a teaspoon of water – and sprinkled granulated sugar on it.

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After refrigerating it for 15 minutes I the baked it in a 400 F preheated oven for 30 minutes – until the puff pastry was golden brown and the berries were bubbling. Unfortunately my galette opened up a bit while baking.

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That didn’t affect the taste though; once it cooled I cut myself a piece and was quite pleased with how something so quick and simple could turn into something so delicious!

Mixed Berry Galette

Ingredients:

1 frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed

All-purpose flour, for dusting

1 large egg, for brushing the pastry

3 cups mixed berries – strawberries, blueberries, blackberries

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/2 cup granulated sugar*, plus more for sprinkling the puff pastry

1/4 teaspoon salt

*If you would like your galette on the sweeter side add a tablespoon or two more sugar.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out the puff pastry into a 12-inch square on a lightly floured surface. Transfer the sheet to the prepared baking sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Make the filling by tossing the berries with the cornstarch, sugar and salt.

Place the fruit in the center of the puff pastry in a small mound and fold the edges of the sheet over the fruit, overlapping the sheet as you fold.

Brush the pastry with an egg wash – the egg lightly beaten with a teaspoon of water – and then sprinkle with granulated sugar. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes, until firm.

Bake until the edges are golden brown and the fruit is bubbling, about 30 – 35 minutes.

Patriotic Treats

Hope you all had a wonderful Independence Day and enjoyed the rest of the holiday weekend! Mine was filled with great food, great friends and a delicious and patriotic dessert.

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Before I get to that amazing cake though, here are some patriotic cupcakes that I made earlier in the week. They were simply a yellow cupcake with a vanilla frosting – sometimes there’s nothing better than a classic combination. To create the striped icing effect I brushed the inside of a plastic decorator bag with red food gel coloring on one side and blue on the other after fitting it with a 1M Wilton Tip. I then filled the bag with vanilla frosting and began piping each of the cupcakes. Once I ran out of frosting in the bag I simply brushed the colors once again inside the bag and then filled it with more frosting.

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Now, onto the cake. Prep work for this cake actually began a week before July 4th. I made the glitter stars that topped the cake by rolling out gum paste 1/8″ thick and used varying sizes of cookie cutters to cut out stars. After snipping 22 gauge silver floral wire into different lengths I dipped one end into egg white and gently pushed that end of the wire into the stars about 3/4 of the way up. I laid the stars out on a parchment lined cookie sheet and let them dry out (harden) for a full day, flipping them occasionally.

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After they were completely dry it was time to decorate them. To do so, I brushed the stars with egg white and then sprinkled glitter on them, making sure that I covered the edges of the stars as well.

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I let them sit out for a day or two to make sure they were completely dry and then stored them in a waxed lined plastic shoe box.

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To make the actual cake I began by baking the red velvet layers of the cake – 2 of them. I’ve made red velvet cake quite a few times before and this recipe was quite different than the ones I have normally followed. For one thing, instead of buttermilk this recipe called for sour cream to be whisked with water to thin it down to the consistency of buttermilk. I’ve heard of using lemon juice and milk as a substitute for buttermilk, but never sour cream. I was fine with this though as I usually have sour cream in my fridge as opposed to buttermilk. Also, this recipe called for butter and oil to be used, which turned out an incredibly moist cake. After making the batter I divided it into two 9-inch pans tapping the pans down to release any air bubbles and then baked them in a 350 F oven for twenty-five minutes.

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Following that I let the cakes cool in the pans for about ten minutes and then inverted them onto wire racks so they could cool completely.

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While the red velvet layers were cooling I baked the white cake which had a hint of lemon thanks to the addition of lemon zest. Once I made the batter I poured it into a 9-inch pan that I sprayed with baking spray and lined with parchment paper – which I also sprayed with baking spray. I did this same prep work for the pans I used for the red velvet layers as well. As I also did with the red velvet layers, I tapped the pan down to release the air bubbles and baked it in a 350 F once again for twenty-five minutes.

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After cooling the cake in the pan for a few minutes I inverted it onto a wire rack so it could cool completely.

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Once the cakes were cooled it was time to make the frosting – cream cheese frosting – and assemble the cake. I spread about a cup of frosting between each of the layers…

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And then crumb coated the cake and placed it in the refrigerator so the frosting could firm up.

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Once the crumb coat was firm I finish frosting the cake and created a design on the cake by using the back of a spoon. While rotating the cake on a cake turntable I ran the back of the spoon along the edge of the cake and around the top.

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And then it was time to decorate the cake with the glittered stars and some fresh berries – blackberries, blueberries and strawberries.

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And how did the stripes look once the cake was cut into…. Perfect!

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This was definitely one cake that tasted just as good as it looked!

Red, White and Blue Cake

Red Velvet Cake Layers:

2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour (sift before measuring)

1/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1 1-ounce bottle red food coloring

1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup sour cream mixed with 1/4 cup water

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans, then line bottoms with rounds of wax paper. Butter paper and dust pans with some additional flour, knocking out excess.

2. Resift cake flour together with cocoa, baking soda, and salt into a bowl.

3. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer (fitted with paddle attachment if using stand mixer) at medium-high speed until combined well, then add oil and beat until very pale and creamy, about 3 minutes.

4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, and beat in food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla extract.

5. Reduce speed to low and mix in flour mixture and sour cream mixture in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture, and mixing until batter is smooth.

6. Divide batter between pans (about 3 cups in each) and smooth tops. Rap pans on counter a couple of times to expel any air bubbles. Bake in middle of oven until a wooden pick comes out clean and cake begins to pull away from sides of pans, 25 to 30 minutes. Keep oven on.

7. Cool layers in pans on racks 10 minutes, then run a thin knife around edge of pans. Invert layers onto racks and peel off wax paper. Cool layers completely.

White Cake Layer:

1 1/3 cups sifted cake flour (sift before measuring)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 large egg whites

1/4 cup sour cream mixed with 2 tablespoons water

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Butter one 9-inch round cake pan, then line bottom with wax paper. Butter paper and dust pan with some additional flour, knocking out excess.

2. Resift cake flour together with baking soda and salt into a bowl. Whisk egg whites in another bowl with sour cream mixture until combined.

3. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer (fitted with paddle attachment if using stand mixer) at medium-high speed until combined well, then add oil and beat until very pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Beat in zest and vanilla extract.

4. Reduce speed to low and mix in flour mixture and sour cream mixture in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing until batter is smooth. Transfer batter to pan and spread evenly. Rap pan on counter a couple of times to expel any air bubbles.

5. Bake in middle of oven until a wooden pick comes out clean and cake begins to pull away from side of pan, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a thin knife around edge of pan. Invert layer onto rack and peel off wax paper. Cool layer completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

2 1/2 8-ounce packages cream cheese (20-ounces total), softened

2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter, softened

2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1. Beat together cream cheese and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixture until creamy and smooth. Beat in lemon juice, vanilla extract, and salt.

2. Sift confectioners’ sugar into a bowl and add to cream cheese mixture. Mix on low speed until incorporated, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until smooth.

Frost cake:

Brush loose crumbs from cake layers with a pastry brush.

Put a red velvet layer, bottom side up, on a cake plate or stand. Spread 1 cup of frosting over layer. Cover with white layer, bottom side up, and spread with another cup of frosting. Top with second red velvet layer, bottom side up.

Spread a thin layer of frosting around sides and over top of cake. (This is called crumb-coating. It tamps down any loose crumbs to keep them out of the top layer of frosting and fills in any crevices. This is particularly important with red velvet cake layers.) Chill or briefly freeze cake just until frosting is firm.

Spread sides and top of cake with remaining frosting. Chill or briefly freeze cake just until frosting is firm.

Fruit Topping:

1 pint (8 ounces) strawberries, halved

1 pint (12 ounces) blueberries

1/2 pint (6 ounces) blackberries

Toss fruit together in a bowl, add a teaspoon of sugar if desired. Top cake with fruit and spread some around the sides of the cake.

For a complete list of supplies and a more detailed description of how to create the stars check out this link. I’m planning on using this technique to create other shapes for cakes in the future.

Blueberry Crumb Muffins

While berries can pretty much be found year-round at most supermarkets, there’s nothing like getting them during the summer when they are at their peak. I have definitely made the most of them this summer incorporating them into quite a few desserts – as the pièce de résistance on a lemon & pastry cream cake, as a topping to 4th of July themed cupcakes and most recently in raspberry cupcakes. And when I saw that I had a pint of blueberries sitting in my refrigerator a little longer than I would have liked, I decided it was time to use them before losing them. I opted on making a recipe that I love using for blueberries – and one that I have blogged about before – a Blueberry Crumb Cake. Although, this time around I made two tweaks to the recipe….

I dredged the blueberries in flour before folding them into the batter so they wouldn’t all sink to the bottom…

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And I used the batter to make muffins instead of a cake,

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Which I still topped with streusel before baking.

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Hence, Blueberry Crumb Muffins.

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And if you are wondering if the flour covered blueberries worked, just take a look. You can see hints of blueberries at the top of the muffin near the crumb topping as opposed to seeing all of the blueberries at the bottom.

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Blueberry Crumb Muffins – adapted from here

Makes 8 Muffins

Streusel:

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

Muffins:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (3/4 stick)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

2/3 cup sour cream

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup fresh blueberries, dredged in enough flour to coat them

 

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 8 muffins cups with paper liners.

For the streusel:

Combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl. Stir in the melted butter and then the flour. Mix well and set aside.

For the muffins:

In a medium bowl sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together, set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the butter and sugar on high speed for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs, one at a time. Then add the vanilla, lemon zest and sour cream.

With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Fold in the blueberries and stir with a spatula to be sure the batter is completed mixed.

Divide the batter among the muffin cups – I used an ice cream scoop – and crumble the streusel over the batter.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the tins and let them cool completely on a wire rack.