Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mom, This Post's For You!

Remembering what desserts your mother made as a child can bring back wonderful memories.
I recall my mom making a dessert only a handful of times.
She called it the "1000 layer cake".  Better known as a napoleon or mille feuille.

I know I asked her to make it more times than she actually did.
Being told "it takes a long time to prepare" didn't seem fair as a child.  Who cares?  That's what weekends are for right?
As an adult who now bakes, hearing my mom tell me she used to make the pastry herself makes all the difference in the world.
You don't need to make the puffy layers yourself.  There are many grocery stores that carry frozen puff pastry which taste just as wonderful.
I usually have a box in the freezer myself.

So when I brought a bunch of peaches home from the market on Friday I knew I wanted to create something fancy shmancy, somewhat adult, and I remembered my moms 1000 layer cake.

Mission: find a suitable jam type filling that uses the peaches in a manor I am not accustomed to.

Mission accomplished!
I made a compote of sorts with brown sugar, a touch of honey and balsamic vinegar.
This paired with the pastry cream that had a hint of Grand Marnier worked in between the layers of flaky pastry.

Thanks mom for introducing me to this dessert many many years ago.
I only hope this will make you proud!

I'm listening to: Peaches - The Presidents of the United States of America

Balsamic Peach Mille Feuille

1 sheet puff pastry
Pastry cream
Balsamic peach compote
Icing sugar for dusting

Cut the puff pastry sheet into 3 sections.  slightly roll width wise an additional 1/2 inch or so.
Prick with a fork and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet, chill for about 10 minutes.  Add a second layer of parchment to the top and place another baking sheet on top, bake in preheated 375 oven for about 8 - 10 minutes.  Remove the baking sheet and parchment and bake an additional 5-10 minutes or until lightly brown.

Pastry Cream:
1 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
4 egg yolks
2 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. cornstarch
1 1/2 tbsp. butter
pinch of salt
1 tbsp. Grand Marnier
2 tbsp. whipping cream

In a pot heat the milk and vanilla to a simmer. (medium heat)  Do not boil.
In a bowl whisk the yolks, sugar, salt and cornstarch.
Once the mix mixture is heated add to the yolks 1 ladle at a time while whisking constantly (so you don't scramble the eggs) until all the milk has been incorporated.
Pour back into the pot and heat while stirring for about 3-4 minutes until the cream starts to thicken.
Remove from heat and add in the butter and Grand Marnier.
Cover with plastic wrap right on the surface and refrigerate until cool.
Once cooled, whip the cream until a medium peak happens and add into the cream.

Peach Compote:
5 peaches
4 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 vanilla bean
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Peel and cut peaches.  Add all the ingredients into a pot and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Stir occasionally.
Remove to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap on the surface and cool completely.

To Assemble:
Place 1 pastry on a plate, layer with the cream - reserving 2 tbsp. (not to the sides as the weight of the other layers will do that for you).  Add the second layer of pastry and smooth out the last bit of cream so that the peaches will not drip.  Top with the peach mixture (if a bit liquidy, no need to use that just spoon on the peaches). 
Add your final layer of pastry, dust with icing sugar and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour to set.
Cut with a serrated knife and serve.

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  1. Sounds wonderful. Great post.

  2. I would love this.
    And I do love the warmth in your words.

  3. Millions of Peaches, Peaches for free :)
    This looks like a yummy dessert!

  4. This looks delicious - I suspect mom would be proud!

  5. I only made ever made puff pastry in culinary school. Everywhere I have worked for years now buy it in. Mom's name was not far off mille feuille is thousand leaves in French.
    This looks good as someone else said mom would be proud

  6. This looks so great & a nice post… I have given you a "Cute Little Chef" Blog Award.Pl get your award here.

  7. Sounds like an easy and fancy shmancy dessert. Love it ;-)

  8. congrat on top 9,what a great dessert,Yum :)

  9. I love, love, love napoleons! This is definitely going onto my "I want to make this" list. Thanks!

  10. Thanks everyone for the comments and for the buzz over at FoodBuzz - this made Top 9!! SO THRILLED!

  11. A fitting post for the Top 9 honor -- congratulations, Betty Martha!

  12. crisp and crunchy and creamy! YUM!

  13. I love mom-inspired recipes. That's like half my blog. :)

    And this makes me particularly happy because I just got a 6lb bag of pears, so I'm going to try it with them instead of peaches. (Sorry, peaches, but when I have you, I have to make my momma's cobbler.)

  14. I just made some pastry cream last night! Had too much for my cake. So I added some coffee and threw it into the freezer. Let's see what kind of ice cream I get. Have you tried that?

  15. @Natalie, that sounds great!!
    @Colette, I haven't, this summer was the first time making ice cream *but not with custard base*
    If you wouldnt mind posting a link to your creation or send me an email that would be great!!

  16. Looks beautiful! :) And I tip my hat to your mom for making her own puff pastry.

    1. Thanks! And if there is one thing I can remember is she always made her own (she is better than me!)

  17. This looks amazing! I love the idea of peach and balsamic compote! Something I would never have put together before but absolutely have to try now. Sounds really really delicious!

    1. Lacy, it really was fabulous, a little hint of balsamic - not too overpowering for sure!