I never quite got around to making last month's Daring Baker's Challenge. I have to admit, I was extremely intimidated by it, (yes! that is the purpose of the DB) and every time I walked into the kitchen to tackle it... I ended up instead with cinnamon chocolate cake, or a walnut tart, or pumpkin pound cake.
The September 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon. She chose the French treat, Vols-au-Vent based on the Puff Pastry recipe by Michel Richard from the cookbook Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan.
I've attempted Puff Pastry before, from a recipe contained in The Essential Dessert Cookbook; it even has a puff pastry featured on the front cover photograph - but unlike Richard's recipe, that recipe called for chunks of butter sporadically placed throughout the dough which only seemed to accomplish tearing the dough and, consequently ruining my life!
After the 4th try, I honestly had no intention of ever trying to make puff pastry again in my lifetime, but then I peeked at the DB recipe a few times and became far too curious to withhold. I decided to finally bite the bullet and make it for our Sisters That Spook Goblin Feast.
But... in the words of Pammy:
so, I made it again for Sugar High Friday's.
This month's theme for SHF is toasted, and is hosted by Not Derby Pie. Inspired by the October challenge for the Daring Bakers, (can't reveal what it is until tomorrow!) I played on the almond theme. I toasted a tin of almonds, pulverized them into almond crumbs, and then toasted the concoction again, creating:
This dessert is exquisite; the kind of luxury that makes you gently and unconsciously eclipse your eyes as you relish each bite so that none of your other senses may interfere with enjoying every morsel.
Puff Pastry Recipe
Recipe hosted at the hostesses blog: A Whisk and a Spoon
Mascarpone Cream:*If you can't find mascarpone cheese, you can substitute with cream cheese
¾ cup mascarpone cheese
Whip until smooth and cream
In a separate bowl, whip until fluffy, 1 ½ cups whipping cream & ½ cup sugar
Add cream and cheese together and whip until incorporated
Spoon Mascarpone Cream into center of Vols-au-Vent
Top with sliced pears
Spoon toasted almonds over pears