Valentine Paris-Brest

It’s the month of hearts and the color red, and nothing says Valentine’s Day like a French dessert shaped in a big heart. snapseed Paris-Brest is a classic French dessert that was created in 1891 to commemorate the Paris-Brest bicycle race.  Classically, the pastry is piped in the shape of a bicycle wheel.  Mine is piped in the shape of a heart img_9063 in honor of Valentine’s Day. Normally creme patisserie with praline is used for Paris-Brest but I used Chantilly cream with vanilla pudding for a lighter taste. snapseed Cream Puffs are always one of those desserts that impress everybody.  It’s very French and, therefore, very sophisticated in the eyes of many.snapseed But the reality is that cream puffs are incredibly simple to make once you have a good recipe on hand like my valentineparis-brest recipe.  This is a showstopper dessert, a filled pastry shaped into a heart – the very essence of Paris’ romance all in one delicious treat!  snapseed There are so many flavors and textures at work in this simple pastry.  Crunchy toasted almonds, spongy/chewy pastry, rich but light vanilla Chantilly cream.          

 

 

img_9028 If you have waited for the last minute to make your Valentine’s Day dessert, this is the perfect confection, it truly is simpler than you think, give it a try I promise you will love it. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Click valentineparis-brest for recipe.

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Sweet Ricotta Easter Cookies

Happy Easter!   Do you remember my MushroomCookies from Christmas? Well , these Easter cookies are image the distant cousins of those. They are made the same way as the mushroom cookies, their shape being the only difference. And since I love the mushroom ones so much, I never thought I would actually change the recipe.  But I have.  This recipe screams Easter and Spring with all of the vivid, beautiful colors. image You see, the mushroom cookies are perfect for the winter months. They are chocolaty and crunchy, the walnuts and the mushroom shape make them super festive and fit right into the cold scenery outside. These SweetRicottaEasterCookies are perfect for Spring and celebrating Easter. The cookies are made with zest of lemon and filled with infused orange Ricotta. For decorations I  dipped each cookie in Lemoncello Liqueur with a touch of  food coloring. I chose pink, yellow, purple, baby blue these colors imageare perfect  for Easter. image

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image They are soft, with just enough bite and crunch, they are moist, image aromatic and so very adorable.  image The orange infused ricotta captures the essence of the warmer season.  It is the perfect filling for these SweetRicottaEasterCookies and makes them a much lighter and fresher version of its winter cousins – MushroomCookies. image

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HAPPY EASTER!

Honeycomb Cherry Torte

Valentine’s Day, February 14 is the only day of the year when it is acceptable to eat nothing but chocolate.  In my previous post I made vanilla cake for all the vanilla lovers out there.  I could not let Valentine’s Day pass this year without some type of chocolate creation, so I dedicate this HoneyCombCherryTorte 01283d8206964c6bf5d4c60d58158e444d62669248 to all you chocolate lovers.  This dessert is the choice, to mark the perfect end to a perfect Valentine’s Day dinner.  014dd9225f5cd2609b6d1a61f8cf37704019823093 Have you ever tried baking puff pastry layer cake?  This is my first try and it was easier than I thought. Flaky puff pastry tubes filled with cherries, 01ed7eac74a655069cd98d90f0a772b315774ba9b6 all enrobed in luscious Dulce de Leche  layers of spiraling puff pastry tubes filled with tart cherries.  017fc2cbabf9c761640191d37304ced2e2651921db The look of this torte is similar to a honeycomb, so I decided to call it HoneyCombCherryTorte.  On Valentine’s Day strawberries usually take center stage but not this year. In this torte  01a65aa962a4ea38d093e6f7ca7a0800e6d4c83c36the cherries are getting all of the deserved attention. The classic combination of cherries, Dulce de Leche and chocolate ganache 01afc9643e70f060de5a4fc0d959e707bb97cab957does not really need much of an introduction but if you have never tried this torte before, let me tell you, you should!  The tartness of the cherries 01af99112458d369ba6bccacf3b744ac9d9a708969 balances perfectly with the sweet filling, while the smoothness of the chocolate ganache makes it look like a masterpiece. 014bc830a98c0983ab85d2732e04f2b2fa6a780f83 It is obvious what I love most about this torte is the looks but I also like the surprise inside once you cut into it. 01dccc96e3f12327105b9a09050abab1724f3885fd I wanted to dress it up and make it perfect for Valentine’s Day. I used modelling chocolate to make the little balls (that line around the torte), 010dd3985f661215e740d6f36bcde3ddd2c8bbaf06 the flowers 01f72a2c635fcb2fcdc80cf3376b954bee2ee44b49.jpg016ca17e0e35657c1881094a9e5d3855ac8415a2df.jpgand the grapes I decided to shape them into heart shaped grapes,01fbf7ac7d515dc44ae0c0318fea7e3d868fa2f744.jpg perfect for the occasion. HoneyCombCherryTorte is the perfect cake, 01b1b7d7845a80fa5ae571194eb8a6a3bb1c0ef88f the perfect shape, 01a614d841661eaa16e74350603b2ad4142c1f410f to say “I love you”!  Three layers of spiraling heart shaped pastry filled with tart cherries and layered with Dulce de Leche and coated entirely with smooth chocolate ganache, it does not get better than this.01c68f8c26dbc20537cac901304984f98ead9c675e

 This HoneyCombCherryTorte is a decadent and romantic dessert for that special someone for Valentine’s Day.    Happy Valentine’s from cakesandmore101.0130684afd26d5cccb99b170e117b02766bdc4366f.jpg

French Napoleons with Pastry Cream

As you already know Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching and this is when all the nerves start kicking in, trying to find the perfect dessert to make. With not much time left I wanted to make something different. imageFor those of you looking to give your loved one something sweet and creative, then this FrenchNapoleons recipe is right for you.  I am excited to share with you an impossibly romantic dessert to enjoy with your loved one this Valentine’s Day. image The Napoleon is a classic dessert that combines layers of flaky puff pastry,

  luxuriously rich pastry cream scented with a touch of vanilla,image and finished with a smooth sugar paste.image Napoleons are an easy way to impress anyone.  This dessert might look intimidating but it is incredibly easy – you just have to use your creative eye to assemble this confection. image I tried two versions of the Napoleon, I made one with pastry cream and topped with a layer of icing sugar, and the other with vanilla pudding imageand topped with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar. imageThere are so many decadent Valentine’s desserts to choose from when deciding to bake, just remember if you bake from the heart you can never go wrong. image image image

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Mini Tiramisu Ladyfingers and Cream Horns

Dainty and delicious! These elegant sandwiched cookies resemble and taste just like pastries.  Tiramisu is one of the most popular Italian cakes. Tiramisu is Italian for “pick me up” and that’s exactly what these mini sweets are begging you to do. 01a6fd8763bf26f30f8e29f1391c8565fb8986c16001a8016936e3c43a71a1e776598c750a7d8e7d011d

MiniTiramisuLadyfingers – little bites of Italian bliss. A delicately thrilling addition to your holiday baking lineup. 0101c5a3ae9964a4858ecc9dfb5bd70bc255b279cc The cookies are tender, mildly boozy fingers filled with rich creamy mascarpone and coffee flavor liqueur. 01018b7d84a0fa4756ff70b871bbf9e7203a933cc3 Each sandwich is kissed with some decorative piped filling and topped with a chocolate-covered coffee bean, 0132b643e4a42f9e24457aa1f5e09710f97167ab0a MiniTiramisuLadyfingers are made to mimic traditional Tiramisu.

Every Christmas one of my favorite traditions is to bake homemade cream horns, to add to our family dessert table. 011abafead1037780c2552a3287e64dbf043034fba Italian Cream Horns are delicious little pastries that are made with puff pastry dough that is wrapped around metal molds, baked until crisp, 01617e6edf1e76ef66b044caaf17066ba71950a505 and then filled with cream. The cream filling can vary from a rich pastry cream, to a buttercream, or simple whipped cream. 012384e92b68587638225d2272aa8ca744724c6fe4 I like to use a sweet Ricotta filling, known as cannoli filling. With this batch of puff pastry, I made cream horns and mini cream puffs. 019bf0dc33ba0da26f5f3758d7c5484247f7cca488 The cream puffs were filled with whipped cream, vanilla pudding and custard. 01bb681f51792e895a9a3025fc48cdc0cce4e93eda I will be honest with you this year Christmas came too fast, I really didn’t have a chance to do all the baking on my list, especially a Christmas cake. You cannot have Christmas dessert with no cake, so with a little imagination, stress for time I came up with CAKE!  Not your usual cake and not what I had planned to make for Christmas this year, but it will do………What do you think?  MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE! 

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Apple Roses Pastry

Now that it is Autumn we can explore the flavors of the season.  Apples, cinnamon, pumpkin, nuts and more are gracing our table with warm filling meals and desserts.image This elegant, beautiful yet simple dessert is stunning to the eye.Thinking of fun ways to make dishes perfect for this time of year can be difficult, especially recipes that your children will eat and love.  Try the AppleRosesPastry for a delicious and fun dessert imagethat will have your kids asking for more. They are quite simple to make , your kids can help you make these delightful treats. image The presentation in a flower alone is so amazing, but to have the flower made from apple slices is remarkable.image The thin apple slices are arranged in rose shapes on puff pastry and baked individually for a pretty and delicious fruit dessert. With the abundance of apples that have been harvested for fall, now is the perfect time to create a breathtaking dessert.  With the upcoming holidays and family gatherings these will be the perfect added touch to any table…..image Display them as a centerpiece…image image Apple Roses are Almost too beautiful to eat. Almost!…if apples could get all dressed up for a very fancy occasion, this is how they would go! image image image image AppleRosesPastry

European Custard Tarts

These are delicious, authentic European custard tarts made quite easy with puff pastry. These custard tarts are similar to the ones you buy in the bakeries, but so much better when you can eat them warm from the oven.  If you have made a recipe, such as Italian Meringue Buttercream, which calls for a lot… Continue reading European Custard Tarts