Posted in Baking Day

Pear & Brandy Galette

With Valentine’s Day in mind I’m bringing you some hearts and flowers.

Hearts & Flowers

And to eat…another simple dessert.  This time I’ve used puff pastry to make a ‘Galette’ which has been variably translated to mean wafer or pancake in the few sources I have checked.  A galette can be sweet or savoury and how close this comes to a genuine French galette isn’t something to worry about.  It sounds and looks romantic and the sweet brandy sauce that bathes the pears is divine.
Each galette should serve 2.  I only used half of the pastry for this and the other half for Millefeuille Valentine’s Hearts (previous post).  If you’re going to use all of the pastry you should get 4 large hearts out of it and then double the quantities of pears etc.
Brandy & Pear Galette
You will need:
375g puff pastry sheet – chill or frozen cabinet supermarket (defrosted)
1 tin pear halves in natural juice (411g)
1 tbsp brandy
3 tbsp light muscovado brown sugar
Icing sugar to dust
Matches!
Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6.
Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
Use a knife to make large heart shapes in the pastry (I only used half of the pastry to make 2 hearts.)
Place the pastry on the baking tray and prick all over with a fork.
Use your fingers to slightly roll or lift up the edges of the pastries creating a slight lip.
Dust with icing sugar and bake in the oven for 15 minutes until golden and puffed up.
Place the pastry hearts on a wire rack to cool.
Strain the pear juice into a large frying pan and add the 3tbsp brown sugar.
Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the pear halves and spoon over the sauce.
Pour the brandy over the top of the pears and light it with a match (BE CAREFUL).
Move the sauce to quench the flames or blow them out.
Pour a little sauce on the galette.
Slice the pears and arrange them on top.
Spoon over some extra sauce.
Great on their own, even bolder with some grated chocolate  or whipped cream.
Enjoy and Happy Valentine’s.
Til next time, Sheila.

Posted in Dinner Party

Trio of Valentine’s Millefeuille Hearts

This trio of layered puff pastry hearts looks and tastes amazing and you wouldn’t believe how simple they are to make.  For any of you who have visited the blog before you’ll know that I am a huge fan of the ready to use puff pastry sheets that are available in the freezer section of the supermarket.  Well now I’ve discovered that they also store them in the chill cabinet so you don’t have to worry about defrosting them and once they’ve been out of the fridge for 30 minutes you’re ready to go.  This was my first time using them to create a dessert and I’ve learned that a sprinkling of icing sugar transforms the pastry into a completely different entity.  To get ahead of yourself you could prepare the coulis and syrup the night before.
Make these Valentine’s Millefeiuille Hearts and prepare to fall in love with yourself!
Millefeuille Hearts Trio
You will need:
For the Pastry Hearts & Coulis
375g pack of 1 puff pastry sheet – chill or frozen cabinet supermarket (defrosted)
1 small punnet strawberries
1 small punnet raspberries
425g tin pitted black cherries in heavy syrup
Icing sugar to sprinkle over pastry and for coulis
For the Black Cherry Syrup:
Syrup from the black cherries
100ml Creme de Cassis or Kirsch
125g icing sugar
For the Vanilla Cream:

250ml whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
25g icing sugar.
For the Chocolate Sauce:
220ml double cream
100g dark chocolate 70%
50g dark chocolate 85%
1 tbsp unsalted butter
Strawberry MillefeuilleRaspberry MillefeuilleBlackCherry Millefeuille
Raspberry & Strawberry Coulis Method:
Put a small handful of raspberries and hulled chopped strawberries into separate saucepans.
Add 1 tbsp icing sugar to each.
Add 4 tbsp water.
Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer until softened.
Blend each coulis separately.  (Purists will sieve the coulis  but I like to use the seeds and all)
Refrigerate until ready to use.
Black Cherry Syrup Method
Macerate the cherries in their syrup plus 100ml of Creme de Cassis overnight or for a few hours.
Strain the syrup and liquor from the cherries into a saucepan.
Stir in the sieved icing sugar.
Bring to the boil and lower the heat to simmer for 10 minutes to reduce and thicken somewhat.
Refrigerate until ready to use.
Vanilla Cream Method
Pour the cream into an electric mixer bowl, add the vanilla extract and sift in the sugar.
Whip the cream until it hold soft peaks.
Refrigerate until ready to use.
Chocolate Sauce Ingredients & Method:
Break the chocolate into a bowl and add the butter.
Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave for 1 minute at a time (takes 2 minutes)
Put the double cream in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
Mix the melted chocolate and double cream and stir well until smooth.
Refrigerate until ready to use.
Valentine’s Millefeuille Hearts Method:
Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6.
Line 2 or 3 baking trays with a sheet of parchment paper.
Unroll the puff pastry sheet and use a rolling-pin sprinkled with icing sugar to roll it even thinner.
Use a heart-shaped cutter to make heart shapes and place them on the lined baking tray.
Use a fork to prick the pastry all over.
Sprinkle over the heart shapes with icing sugar.
Bake in the oven for 10 minutes until golden and puffed up.
Remove from tray and cool on wire rack.
When cool carefully sliced each heart in half to make two hearts.
Use three pastry hearts to create Millefeuille stacks sandwiched together with vanilla cream, fruit, coulis or syrup and chocolate sauce.
In the words of my kids : “Savage”!
Enjoy, til next time Sheila.
p.s. I’ll be still keeping it Romantic on Thursday
p.p.s. this was my contribution to the ‘Irish Foodies Cookalong’ that happens every month.  This month’s theme was Food for Romance.  If you’d like to discover more or indeed contribute yourself then pay a visit to http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=102711646449318