Lighter fare for spring feasts
Looking for a dish that’s just right for spring? Look no further than these internationally inspired favorites. As an added bonus, they look challenging but are really quite simple and sure to impress.
Napoleons are typically tied to France where they are known as mille-feuille (roughly translated as “thousand leaves”), but they are enjoyed around the world. Made from three layers of puff pastry alternating with two layers of pastry cream, they are a classic combination of textures and tastes – rich and creamy, crispy and light.
1 package (14 oz.) frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 cup mascarpone or regular cream cheese
3/4 cup Eagle Brand® regular or low fat sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup whipping cream, whipped
4 ounces white chocolate, melted, divided
1 1/2 cups strawberries, sliced,
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Baking: On lightly floured surface, roll out half of puff pastry to a 12” long by 8” wide rectangle. Cut in half horizontally. Transfer both rectangles to parchment lined baking sheet. Prick all over with fork. Refrigerate while you repeat process with remaining puff pastry. Bake rectangles, one sheet at a time, in center of preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until puffed and golden. Cool completely on racks.
Assembling: Beat mascarpone cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk, beating until smooth and well combined. In thirds, fold in whipped cream. Place one piece of puff pastry on serving platter. Lightly crush top to flatten. Liberally drizzle with one quarter of white chocolate. Spread with one-quarter of cream mixture. Top with one third of strawberries. Repeat layers twice. Top with last sheet of puff pastry. Drizzle decoratively with remaining white chocolate.
Serving: Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours. To serve, slice and plate with a dollop of cream and fresh fruit.
(Recipe and photo courtesy of Eagle Brand)
Parisian Street Vendor Crepes
In Paris, street vendor crepes are about a foot in diameter, a real meal and a half. However, you can use any size pan you like. One caution, be sure to make the batter at least 1 hour before cooking so that it can rest at room temperature. Resting makes for a much better crepe.
2 cups King Arthur® unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
4 large eggs
1/4 cup butter, melted but not bubbling hot
Mixing: In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. In another, smaller bowl, beat together the milk and eggs. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in about half the liquid mixture. Blend well, then add the remaining liquid and stir until fairly smooth; a few lumps can remain. Stir in the butter. Cover and let sit for at least an hour.
Cooking: Crepes are best cooked in a 10-inch cast iron skillet, but most sturdy metal pans will work. Heat the pan to medium-hot. Wipe the bottom of the pan with a bit of butter, or spray with cooking spray.
Pour a scant 1/3 cup of batter into the bottom of the pan, lift the pan and and tip it in a circle so the batter covers the bottom of the pan.
Cook until the bottom of the crepe begins to brown and you can slide a spatula under it. It will hold together quite well, so you can flip it over pretty easily. Cook briefly on the other side.
Place on a warm plate and cover until the remaining batter is cooked.
Filling: The sky’s the limit. Fill with hearty ingredients for dinner or Nutella, fruit and other sweets for an anytime treat. Crepes can be folded in quarters or halves to eat on a plate, or more traditionally folded and rolled.
(Recipe and photo courtesy of King Arthur Flour)
Not your ordinary flapjack, this puffy delight is delicious riff on a Dutch or German pancake. Make one pancake for a cozy breakfast or triple the recipe and fill 12 ramekins for crowd-pleasing individual servings. Although this recipe features sweet, juicy berries, puff pancakes can also be filled with meats, cheeses and more.
2 tablespoons Land O’ Lakes® butter, melted
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups quartered strawberries
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
Powdered sugar, if desired
Heat oven to 425°F. Brush melted butter over bottom of pan.
Combine flour, milk and eggs in medium bowl; beat with wire whisk until well mixed. Carefully pour batter into pie pan. Bake 14-17 minutes or until puffed and light golden brown.
While pancake is baking, combine strawberries and blueberries in medium bowl.
Spoon berry mixture over warm pancake; sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired. Serve immediately.
(Recipe and photo courtesy of Land O’ Lakes)
An adaptation of England’s famed Yorkshire pudding, popovers are a simple and sublime combination of flour, milk, eggs, salt and butter. Easy to make, these popovers don’t require a special pan or any unusual mixing method. Just whisk vigorously by hand or with an electric stand mixer.
4 large eggs, warmed in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes before cracking
1 1/2 cups milk (skim, low-fat, or full-fat), lukewarm
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups King Arthur® unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Position a rack on a lower shelf. The top of the fully risen popovers should be about midway up the oven. What you don’t want is for the tops of the popping popovers to be too close to the top of the oven, as they’ll burn.
Use a standard 12-cup metal muffin tin, one whose cups are close to 2 1/2″ wide x 1 1/2″ deep. Grease the pan thoroughly, covering the area between the cups as well as the cups themselves. Make sure the oven is up to temperature before you begin to make the popover batter.
Mixing: Use a wire whisk to beat together the eggs, milk and salt. Whisk till the egg and milk are well combined, with no streaks of yolk showing.
Add the flour all at once and beat with a wire whisk till frothy; there shouldn’t be any large lumps in the batter, but smaller lumps are OK. If you prefer, you can use a stand mixer equipped with the whisk attachment, whisking at high speed for 20 seconds; stopping and scraping the sides of the bowl; and whisk for an additional 20 to 30 seconds at high speed, till frothy.
Stir in the melted butter, combining quickly.
Cooking: Pour the batter into the muffin cups, filling them about 2/3 to 3/4 full.
Make absolutely certain your oven is at 450°F. Place the pan on a lower shelf of the oven.
Bake popovers for 20 minutes without opening the oven door. Reduce the heat to 350°F (again without opening the door), and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until they’re a deep, golden brown. If the popovers seem to be browning too quickly, position an oven rack at the very top of the oven, and put a cookie sheet on it, to shield the popovers’ tops from direct heat.
Serving: If you plan on serving the popovers immediately, remove them from the oven, and stick the tip of a knife into the top of each, to release steam and help prevent sogginess. Slip them out of the pan, and serve with jam, honey or an herb-infused spread.
If you want the popovers to hold their shape longer without deflating and settling quite as much, bake them for an additional 5 minutes (for a total of 40 minutes), just be careful not to over-brown the tops.
(Recipe and photo courtesy of King Arthur Flour)