Chocolate Napoleon – Julia Child & Gale Gand

Baking with Julia

Chocolate Napoleons – Gale Gand

The Phyllo

  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, clarified
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed
  • 3 sheets phyllo dough
  • 6 tablespoons to 3/4 cup sugar

The Pears

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 1 vanilla bean, partially split lengthwise
  • 2 ripe pears, peeled, halved, and cored

The Cranberry Compote

  • 1 cup fresh or unthawed frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar

The Ganache

  • 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons ground coffee (depending on your taste for coffee)

The Ginger Cream

  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
  • Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
  • Mint sprigs, for garnish

Makes 4 servings

Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and have two more sheets of parchment and another baking sheet at hand. Stir clarified butter and cocoa together in a bowl; set aside. Stack phyllo sheets and cut in half crosswise. Place a piece of phyllo on the parchment-lined baking sheet, brush it with cocoa-butter, and sprinkle with 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar. Cover with another sheet of phyllo, brush with cocoa-butter, and sprinkle with sugar. Repeat with one more phyllo sheet. Cover the stack with a piece of parchment paper and repeat the stacking, brushing, and sprinkling with the remaining 3 sheets of phyllo. Cover with parchment paper and top with a baking sheet, which will weight the phyllo and keep it from puffing. Bake the phyllo for 8 to 10 minutes, until the sheets are golden and crispy. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack, remove top baking sheet, and allow phyllo to cool. When cool, remove the parchment liners and separate the two stacks of pastry, each of which should now be fused and feel like one flaky sheet. Break or cut each sheet into pieces about 4 inches long and 3 inches wide — a total of 12 pieces, 3 phyllo shards for each napoleon.

For the pear filling, combine all of the ingredients except the pears in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Lower heat to a simmer, and add the pears. Press a circle of waxed paper against the pears and simmer until tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife. Lift the pears onto a plate with a slotted spoon (keep the syrup for another round of poaching); cover with plastic wrap and cool to room temperature before chilling.

Put all of the compote ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil, stirring occasionally, until most of the berries have popped. The compote will seem thin, but it will thicken as it cools. Remove the pan from the heat and cool to room temperature. The cranberry compote can be made up to 4 days ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator.

Prepare the ganache by placing the chocolate in a large heat proof bowl and set aside.
Place remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Pour the hot liquid through a fine sieve into the bowl of chocolate and whisk gently until smooth. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the ganache and refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes — it should be used at room temperature while it has a smooth, mouse-like consistency.

Whip the cream, brown sugar, and ginger together until the cream holds firm peaks. Remove the pears from the refrigerator and drain on paper towels, blotting well. Place pears on a baking sheet and slice each half in half again. Working with one piece at a time, cut each pear quarter from blossom to stem end into thin slices, stopping about 1/2 inch from the top so that the slices remain connected. Fan the pieces of pear. To assemble each napoleon, place a dab of ganache in the center of each of four dessert plates. Rest a shard of cocoa phyllo on the dab and press it down gently. Top with a spoonful of ganache, a fanned pear, and a bit of ginger cream, then repeat — phyllo, ganache, pear, and cream — and top with a third piece of phyllo. Spoon cranberry compote around the plates, dust one edge of each napoleon with confectioner’s sugar, and garnish with mint sprigs.

Phyllocine Ice Cream Sandwiches – Gale Gand

The Phyllo

  • 1 box phyllo dough, thawed
  • 1/2 cup clarified unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Raspberry Salad

  • 2 1/4 cups (about 1 1/2 pints) fresh raspberries
  • Sugar to taste
  • 2 mint leaves, julienned

The Fruit Skewers

  • 8 blueberries
  • 8 raspberries
  • 8 blackberries
  • 8 strawberries with hulls (or any other combination of small or cut-up fruits)

The Cream

  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 pints (approximately) vanilla ice cream, for serving
  • Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

Makes 8 servings

Position the racks to divide oven into thirds and preheat to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and keep close at hand. Remove phyllo from the box and bag. Unroll and remove and discard the waxy paper, then re-roll the sheets into their original shape. Put the phyllo on a cutting board and, using a long serrated knife, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices. Toss the phyllo between your fingertips to separate the strands, creating a mound of what will look like phyllo fettuccine. Divide the strands into 16 little piles and place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Splatter each nest with clarified butter and sprinkle with the sugar. Bake the nests for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden. Allow to cool on the pans.

To make the raspberry salad, purée 1/4 to 1/2 cup of raspberries; strain if you prefer seedless purée. Transfer to a bowl and toss with the remaining whole berries, add sugar to taste, and the cut mint. Set aside.

Prepare fruit skewers by threading 1 of each type of fruit onto each of 8 bamboo skewers and set aside.

Whip the heavy cream and brown sugar together until the cream forms soft peaks.

Assembling the dessert: Put a dab of whipped cream in the center of each of eight dessert plates. Put a phyllo nest on the cream, press down gently to set, spoon on some of the raspberry salad, and add a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Top with another phyllo nest and pierce the package with a fruit skewer. Dust the sandwiches lightly with confectioner’s sugar, spoon some whipped cream onto the plates, and serve immediately.

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