Monday, May 8, 2017

Strawberries & Cream MOM Almond Pastries

This easy peasy dessert is basically a riff on strawberry shortcake. Instead of a shortcake base, I used puff pastry. I made these for my husband's birthday a few weeks ago. I was a bit wary of serving something so simple but they were a hit with guests. 

In addition to a birthday brunch dessert, they make a great idea for Mother's Day. For my husband's gathering, I made heart shapes. I took it a bit further this time customizing the pastry with large cutters to spell out MOM. 

If you don't have large letter cookie cutters. hearts look lovely and I'm sure will be appreciated by your mom.

If you do have the cutters, you may also want to create her name. I made my mom's name as an example. If you don't have access to any cutters. Cut the puff pastry into rectangles instead. All of the above looks create on a platter. 

The puff pastry takes no time at all to defrost. Brush it with water, scatter sugar and almond leaves over the top, bake and you're done. Cut and sugar the strawberries while the pastry is cooking and whip the cream. Assemble these as soon as the pastry cools completely and place in the fridge until ready to serve. Couldn't be simpler.

I garnished the desser with mint leave but that's optional. I have to have a massive ogre of mint in my garden whose arms have overrun everything and I am always looking for ways to get rid of it. 

Strawberries & Cream MOM Almond Pastries 
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Chill Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 15 minutes
Yield:  Approximately 1 dozen

For the almond pastry:
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry
  • 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup blanched almond leaves
  • Water
For the filling:
  • 1 lb strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon white granulated sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter
Garnish: mint leaves and extra powdered sugar

  • Defrost the puff pastry.
  • In the meantime wash the strawberries, pat dry and hull them.
  • Cut the strawberries into quarters lengthwise and place in a bowl. Sprinkle with white granulated sugar, toss and set aside. 
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface one sheet at a time. Use large letter cutters to cut out Ms and Os.
  • Transfer the letters to the baking sheet and poke holes in the dough with a fork. 
  • Brush each with water. On half of them sprinkle the white granulated sugar over the top and then cover the sugared letters with almond leaves.

  • Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry letters turn a light golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. 
  • Beat the heavy cream, vanilla extract, powdered sugar, and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form.
  • Load the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip.
  • Place the cooled puff pastry letters without almonds on a serving platter.
  • Spritz the cream on top in star shapes. Arrange a layer of the reserved cut strawberries on top.
  • Place the almond coated puff pastry letters on top of each. Garnish with mint leaves, sprinkle the powdered sugar over the top and serve. 

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