I just laughed and giggled at all the comments about the Pistachio Creme Brulee Macarons from last week and your thinking that I can take Pierre Herme any day. Clearly an interesting idea but sadly one that will never take place because the man is king in the pastry department. I did get an email from Pierre Herme though, well ok, more precisely from La Maison Pierre Herme. And it was not personal at all. But I loved it all the same. It actually inspired me to make these Mille Feuilles filled with mascarpone, pistachio and strawberry mousses.
I like staying close to home by subscribing to French cooking magazine, watch French news feeds anytime I can, and also by receiving PH's monthly newsletter in my inbox. An attractive list of all the seasonal goodies coming up in his shops. And there it was, the whole PH House of Pastry, tempting with more amazing tastes and textures than before. I read it carefully and sighed at their current signature flavor: all PH's creations in pistachio and strawberry. The "Montebello" line was attractive and indeed perfectly seasonal, even for an expat like me, three thousand miles away from home.
In my last post, I mentionned how a client needed an anniversary dessert with cherries and how I was not completely satisfied with their flavor yet. I care about my craft too much to keep silent if something is not 100% up to par. With a head filled of PH' Montebello desserts and a nose intoxicated with the fragrance of strawberry, I settled on creating something along those lines (no recipes come with the newsletter). A mascarpone - pistachio mousse sharing space in between two sheets of "rough" puff pastry with a mascarpone - strawberry mousse
I do receive a lot of cookbooks for preview and in March I received Pastry by Michel Roux. With little time on my hands, I figured his "rough" puff pastry recipe would be perfect to try for this dessert. As much as I love the process of traditional puff pastry, I was positively surprised at the results I got with this one. Flaky, tender, fast. Precisely what I need now that the heat is back. For the mousses, I made a simple mascarpone base and used half with finely ground pistachios and half with pureed strawberries, some whipped cream and that was it. Rich, light, flavorful all at once.
If you ever want to master all sorts of pastry doughs, this is the book to get. Clear instructions with plenty of pictures along the way and a myriad of examples and recipes both sweet and savory to go along. His "rough" puff pastry yielded such great results that I decided to give away one of the two copies I have.
To win a copy of Michel Roux's Pastry (and who does not want a free book, especially on this fine Memorial Day weekend?), all you have to do is leave a comment between today, Sunday May 24th and Tuesday May 26th at midnight. The winner will be chosen at random by my better half. No anonymous comments please, just sign Zorro if you must.
Two years ago: Gateau Saint Honore - Daring Bakers
Pistachio and Stawberry Mousse Mille Feuilles:
For the rough puff pastry, adapted from Michel Roux.
2 1/4 cups (300gr) all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup (300gr) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon (3gr) salt
1/2 cup (125ml) ice-cold water
Place the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Add the butter and salt right in the well and work them together with the flour, using your fingertips, gradually drawing in more flour into the center. When the butter pieces have reached pea sized pieces and the mixture appears grainy, gradually add the ice water and mix until it is all incorporated. Do not overwork the dough. Roll it into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 20 to 30 minutes.
On a lightly flour work area, roll the dough to an 8x4-inch rectangle. Fold it into three and give it a quarter turn. Roll it into another 8x4-inch rectangle again and fold it in three again. These are the first 2 turns. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate again for 30 minutes.
Give the chilled dough 2 more turns, rolling and folding as previously described. The pastry is ready then. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
When ready to use, roll the dough to a 1/8- inch (3 mm) thick rectangle and cut out eight 4x2 pieces. Place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Dock the dough with a fork to let the steam out while baking so your rectangles will be evenly puffed. Bake at 350F until golden brown. (if they puff too much, cover with a sheet of parchment paper and place a small baking sheet on top). Let cool completely before filling with the mousses
For the pistachio and strawberry mousse:
8 oz (240gr) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
1/4 cup (30gr) finely ground raw pistachios
1/2 cup pureed fresh strawberries
1 1/2 cups (375ml) heavy cream, kept cold, divided
In a large bowl, whisk together the mascarpone and sugar until completely smooth. Take half the mixture and place it in another large bowl. Add the pistachios to one of them and mix until incorporated. Add the pureed strawberries to the other mascarpone mixture. In a mixer, whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks. Fold half into the pistachio mascarpone mix and the other half with the strawberry one. The pistachio mousse is probably stifff enough to be used right away but you might have to refrigerate the strawberry one until the mascarpone hardens a bit otherwise it might be too soft to pipe easily. Divide the mixture into piping bags fitted with medium plain tips (I use Ateco pastry tips) (or do the pistachio mousse first, wash your bag and tip and then do the strawberry one). Pipe dots of mousse onto half the puff pastry sheets, alternating the pistachio and strawberry. Top with another sheet of puff pastry and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend...No barbecue for us but brunch with friends this year.