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Meet My Sugar Daddy…

Well, Lisa and Ivonne are never going to forgive me but it seems like I have an affair with Pierre Herme almost every weekend, at least on sunday afternoons when I finally can sit down and fantasize about him..ok, maybe not "him" but his culinary ventures and creations. Every macaron, gateau, pastry is a poem in itself…so does the man. As I tried to put into words what I felt for and thought if Pierre Heme, I remembered a post I had bookmarked from ubber talented pastry chef Shuna at Eggbeater. Read this and you will understand why we are infatuated!

Instead of my traditional "internet fantasies by P.H", I became completely engrossed in a book my mom gave me for Christmas years ago… I love the book and yet I probably only made a handful of recipes from it, rice pudding, a couple of sorbets, creme brulees, chocolate mousses,etc. I am afraid to touch gold…I am afraid to mess with perfection…Oh what the heck?! I am far from his level so why not…after all, he put his recipes in book, he’s got to be thinking about us and (please say so) can’t be completely narcissistic….

I always read a cookbook from the end first: the materials and ingredient sources, the index, the ingredients and above all the techniques and tips from which I can always learn.
As I was reading the book, my eyes stopped at this recipe : "pate feuilletee inversee"…or…Inside Out Puff Pastry. Yes, you read right. In regular puff pastry, the layers are created by folding pastry dough over a butter block and folding and turning it several times. Well, leave it Pierre Herme to fold the butter block over the pastry dough, folding and turning. The result is fabulous, layers upon layers of soft, airy buttery goodness. I was really curious to see how that butter block (with a minimum of flour) would behave being on the outside. Things turned out perfectly and if I could have kissed my butter right then I think I would have, but the neighbors were around and I did not want to scare anybody off.
I don’t know if Herme created the concept but it would not surprise me a bit given his ability to re-invent classics and techniques.

One particular recipe in the book caught my eyes, a "mille feuilles" also known as "napoleon" with gorgeous red strawberries, rhubarb and vanilla pastry cream. I had the dough, fresh plump raspberries and freshly roasted rhubarb. I favor simple whipped cream with raspberries and I was short on time, trying to put together an impromptu dessert for our weekly friday evening al fresco dinner with the neighbors. In other words, I skipped the pastry cream, and I am glad I did because the finished dessert was light, tart and let the dough shine through instead of taking supporting role.

Raspberry Rhubard Mille Feuilles, adapted from Pierre Herme:

Inside Out Puff Pastry: (enough for 4 napoleons and 1 large tart)
Butter Block:
190 gr soft butter
75 gr flour
175 gr flour
7 gr. salt
60 gr melted butter
70 ml water

For the Butter block: mix together the soft butter and the flour and form into a ball, in between two sheets of plastic or parchment paper, roll into a disk 3/4 inch thick. Refrigerate 1 1/2 hours
For the dough: mix all the ingredients together, adding the water little by little until you get a smooth dough. Pat into a square 3/4 inch thick and refrigerate 1 1/2 hours.
Roll the butter block into a 1/2 inch thick disk, put the dough block on top and enclose it with the butter block (by pulling the extra butter dough over the pastry dough).
Roll into a rectangle 16×9 inch. Fold the top and bottom toward the middle, fold the dough in half. Put the folded edge toward your left, lightly press the dough with your hand and refrigerate for an hour.
Repeat one more time and refrigerate 1 hour.

For the third and final turn, roll out the dough into a rectangle again, visually dive your dough in 3 and fold the bottom and top thirds toward the middle tier. Refrigerate another hour before using in your recipe.
The dough makes more than what you might need for one tart or severl Napoleons, but it is easier to work a large quantity of puff pastry and refrigerate or freeze what you don’t use.

Remaining components:
1/2 Inside Out Puff Pastry
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks with 2 Tb sugar
1 pint fresh raspberries.
Roasted Rhubarb:
Heat oven to 375. Cut 2 rhubarb stalks into 1 inch slices. Put them in a medium sized roasting pan, sprinkle 1/2 cup brown sugar over it and roast until the rhubarb get caramelized, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool, and slightly mash with a fork.

Roll the dough to a 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Line a baking sheet with parchement paper, lay the puff pastry on it, cover with another sheet of parchment paper, put a baking sheet over it and bake at 375 until golden brown. The top baking sheet adds enough weight for your dough to remain under control and yet allows for the layers to puff up during baking. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
Once cooled, cut the dough into equally sized triangles (decide the size according to your taste. I went for a base of 3 inches).

To assemble:
Put a pastry triangle on a plate, pipe or spoon some whipped cream over it, cover with raspberries. Top with a sheet of pastry, spoon some roasted rhubarb, cover with a final sheet of pastry and dust with powdered sugar.

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Rosa's Yummy Yums May 8, 2007 um 7:11 am

Wow, that’s incredibly beautiful! You are a really talented baker…

Anonymous May 8, 2007 um 7:27 am

your sweet seems to be really delicious !! I’d like to try it !!

thepassionatecook May 8, 2007 um 8:43 am

i think you just made my favourite desserts! rhubarb & rasp napoleon? that’s a heavenly combination which i will be bookmarking.
i also made a napoleon this weeend, but a very different and unusual one… stay tuned!

Meeta K. Wolff May 8, 2007 um 9:18 am

He’s cheating on me!!! PH is MY sugar daddy!! Yes, I am passionately in love with all his creations – ever since I got my hands on his Chocolate Dessert book. Helene, this looks grand and I have been thinking of making the chocolate version of this.

Anonymous May 8, 2007 um 9:38 am

It’s not easy to make an inside out puff pastry, it seems to me that you have great skills for pastry!
Your raspberry rhubarb mille feuilles is really beautiful!

Sara – Piperita May 8, 2007 um 9:58 am

We all love HIM!!! He’s the patisserie god on earth!!!

Lis May 8, 2007 um 10:43 am

I love it when you fantasize!! That’s incredibly beautiful – so beautiful I wouldn’t want to mess it up with my fork (but I would!) 😉

So.. do I understand this correctly. You made a rectangle of the dough and then covered it in butter and started your folding? Or am I a complete idiot? lol

When are you going to bite the bullet and open up your own shop? You’re amazing!!


Karen Baking Soda May 8, 2007 um 10:52 am

raspberries..and look at those pics… all of a sudden I feel very humble (and hungry!)

Anonymous May 8, 2007 um 11:17 am

Oooh, I have his recipe for the inside out puff pastry as well but I’m too scared to try it! I’d love to make this dessert…but I think I will have to try and muster the courage first!

Anonymous May 8, 2007 um 12:09 pm

Oh, woe is me! Not only d I have to compete with Mr. Tartelette but now I have to compete with Pierre Hermé as well!

I’m already so tired!

Seriously though, it is my dream to make a Napoleon. Do you recommend his books Helene? Which one do you recommend?

(I want that Napoleon.)

Unknown May 8, 2007 um 12:47 pm

I have been playing with rhubarb lately, but nothing like this. This is stunning.

Janet May 8, 2007 um 1:26 pm

Oh my goodness, that is breathtaking! I’d love to try that, but I think I need a few more years of pastry practice under my belt first!

Patricia Scarpin May 8, 2007 um 1:48 pm

Helene, I know you just love to torture us. Come one, admit it! 😀

It looks sooo beautiful!

Stella May 8, 2007 um 1:57 pm

I’m in awe! I’ve got Pierre Herme’s Dessert cookbook & have the recipe for it but haven’t tried it yet. The process freaked me out! But you proved me wrong Helene:)
Your dessert is simply fantastic & beautifully made.

Deborah May 8, 2007 um 2:35 pm

This is absolutely gorgeous!! I hope to be able to bake like you one day – such talent!

Cheryl May 8, 2007 um 3:03 pm

Another perfect creation. This is so beautiful I would be afraid to eat it.

Anonymous May 8, 2007 um 3:05 pm

Helene, this is absolutely gorgeous. I am in awe of this dessert- pink rhubarb, golden puff pastry and perfectly plump raspberries. Heaven.

Brilynn May 8, 2007 um 3:18 pm

I’m still shakey with regular puff pastry, inverting is not something I’d even consider! I’m always amazed by what you create.

Mercotte May 8, 2007 um 3:22 pm

C’est v rai qu’avec la pâte feuilletée inversée les mille feuilles sont enfin tels qu’on les espèraient !!

Mercotte May 8, 2007 um 3:23 pm

Ah oui j’ai oublié de te dire nous étions invitées avec PH à Paris la semaine dernière…. tu peux voir le post sur le blog de Papilles et Pupilles…..Il est trop sympa !

Anonymous May 8, 2007 um 3:49 pm

That is one gorgeous dessert! Heaven!

Veron May 8, 2007 um 4:44 pm

I’ve been eyeing this technique for a while ever since I’ve read it on Joycelyn’s blog Kuidaore. She swears by this technique.

Veron May 8, 2007 um 4:44 pm

the dessert looks heavenly by the way. 🙂

Valentina May 8, 2007 um 8:14 pm

Helen, your writing is poetry. I am also a very big fan of PH. the other day I was reading abou this croissant competition in Paris. He won it this year. this recipe is utterly gorgeous.

Kelly-Jane May 8, 2007 um 8:30 pm

Gorgeous! You have so much skill and talent. I NEED a bite of that!

Unknown May 8, 2007 um 8:52 pm

What a beautiful napoleon! I am impressed you attempted the pate feuilletee inversee, though I believe it’s an old technique, not one PH invented. I have heard that it is surprisingly easy to work with and puffs even better than the traditional pate. Bravo!

Gattina Cheung May 8, 2007 um 9:07 pm

genius! you and PH!!! The inside-out concept is over-the-top, a layman like me need to sit to calm down. Helen, you are pastry queen!!!

Anonymous May 8, 2007 um 9:25 pm

Amazing Helen! I love the sounds of this inside-out pastry! Lovely alterations for a lighter dessert too – the raspberries look gorgeous!

I’m still trying to get used to the term 'Napoleons' (relatively new to me) since I’ve only really known them to be mille-feuilles (so much more descriptive!)…

Unknown May 8, 2007 um 10:43 pm

My boyfriend knows all about my crush on P.H. too…he deals with it quite well! Your creation looks like it could be sold in his patisserie – so gorgeous and perfect!

Nina May 9, 2007 um 2:24 am

That looks amazing! I’m sure that Pierre would be impressed. 🙂 I haven’t tried his inverted puff pastry yet, but I’ve had making puff on my mind recently, for impromptu summer tarts. I think I’ve just been convinced to try his version.

And I think that leaving out the pastry cream was the way to go, which usually just seems like a sweet/heavy filler to me. I can just imagine the clean flavors and wonderful light-crispy-creamy-juicy textures of this napoleon. Yum!

Thistlemoon May 9, 2007 um 2:45 am

Why is it that everything you make looks like it should be in a magazine? 🙂

Beautiful Food!

Anonymous May 9, 2007 um 3:14 am

Perfect. And the inside out PP doesn’t sound bad either. Though I’m not a fan of making the stuff – I’ve bookmarked your recipe. Might have to give it a go!

Warda May 9, 2007 um 4:18 am

Oh mon Dieu! Ta recette est sublime. Elle me tente bien mais rien que de lire pate feuilletee renversee…j’ai la trouille.

Kajal@aapplemint May 9, 2007 um 4:32 am

i just got my self his chocolate desserts book and tried out there.Just wanted to start off…haha.Love the mille feuille.They’re my favourte…anything in puff pastry is :))Making the pastry at home is a lot of effort though.i think i’ll just looks at yours and be happy…then maybe if i crave some i’ll go buy some from my local pastry shop !!

Ales May 9, 2007 um 10:25 am

Wow! Slurp! Yum! I know, very articulate, but this dessert leaves me speachless. Beautiful.

Jenny May 9, 2007 um 10:46 am

I’m sending my husband over to your house for dessert – he’s been asking for one of these for awhile!

Anonymous May 9, 2007 um 12:34 pm

This is a killer one, I have this book too but have not yet made a lot from it. So many options, I love yours.

Anonymous May 9, 2007 um 3:20 pm

Wow, that looks fantastic! Almost too pretty to eat:)

Jes May 9, 2007 um 5:56 pm

Having a love affair with PH’s recipes is nothing to be ashamed of! I think most of us do! By the way, I survived the crepe cake!

Anonymous May 9, 2007 um 7:08 pm

Okay, at my level in th food chain, I can’t get past how you cut it in such straight lines, and how it’s not squished. It’s gorgeous. Jeez.

MyKitchenInHalfCups May 10, 2007 um 11:38 am

Unbelievable! Just reading that is joy! I would so love just a bite. You do know how to impress!

Anonymous May 11, 2007 um 8:45 pm

Helene, this is just simply wonderful presentation!

Anonymous May 16, 2007 um 8:17 pm

rhhaaaa cette recette me fait de l’oeil depuis bien longtemps, voir ta realisation m’incite vraiment a essayer cette recette bientot, c’est vraiment trop joli !!

Anonymous July 4, 2007 um 8:18 am

you could be right

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