Pink October - Raspberry Mousse Almond Praline Mille Feuille aka Napoleons - Parsley, Sage, and Sweet

Pink October – Raspberry Mousse Almond Praline Mille Feuille aka Napoleons

October 29, 2012 at 4:51 am | Posted in Daring Bakers, Dessert, Fruit, Jams/Jellies, Pastry | 60 Comments
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This is the second Halloween in a row that I don’t have a Halloween post.  I have had the most ghoulish, bloody cake idea braising in my brain fluids for two years, based on the movie, The Shining, but I have yet to realize it.  With work burn-out and lack of motivation, I’ve been a very bad food blogger.  I walk into the kitchen and as I start pulling out ingredients, I’m overwhelmed. This is not me as I usually take great joy in prepping and creating.  Does someone have a pill that can bring it back?


Everything has been so hard the past 6 or 7 months.  It takes me ages to write one post..even without the BBFL memoir.  Writing emails longer than three sentences is like hauling boulders and sometimes it takes me weeks to return comments when I used to be able to whip ‘em out in an hour or less.  The conundrum is, how can I be burnt out when I don’t post very often?  I’ve been very tired, for a long time now, no idea why.

Wow, all of the above sounds kind of whiny, doesn’t it?

When I saw that this month’s Daring Baker’s challenge was Napoleons, I entered a tug-of-war with overwhelmed and lack of motivation.  I pulled and pulled and pulled, fighting desperately to avoid the muddy pit.  I love fancy pastry – I literally feel insane jubilation when it comes to fancy pastries, cakes, or any sweets that are built component by component.  Dressing said sweets up to make them look pretty is the ultimate jubilee, the apex, the proverbial cherry or caramelized sugar corkscrew on top.

So much for beautiful, little dots of raspberry cream, it was too soft to hold a peak.

I won the tug-of-war, but my shoes got muddy.  It almost beat me.  It is now October 26th..7pm..and I’m about to start my Napoleons.  I’m supposed to have the post up tomorrow..the 27th.  Thankfully the Napoleon I’m making does not require as much work because I have some homemade puff pastry in the freezer and Suz said I could use that instead of making it again.  I have a post with a small photo collage of the process, HERE.

No idea what happened to my melted chocolate.  It didn’t seize, but it got a little gunky and wasn’t smooth and liquid.  That mess was supposed to be hearts.  Then again, I used a simple powdered sugar glaze instead of the egg white based glaze in the master recipe, but I’ve never had problems piping and dragging chocolate on powdered sugar glazes, so I’m flummoxed.

Our October 2012 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Suz of Serenely Full.  Suz challenged us to not only tackle buttery and flaky puff pastry, but then take it step further and create a sinfully delicious Mille Feuille dessert with it!

I love Napoleons, but it’s the one pastry where I can feel the fat cells swelling on every part of my body with each bite of buttery puff pastry and creme patisserie.  It’s stacked, so you can triple the amount off puff pastry and double/triple the creme patisserie, then add the thick, rich glaze swirled with chocolate.  I think I just gained 5 lbs typing that.

You see, if I made a whole sheet of Napoleons..cut into stacks, I would probably eat them all, so I decided to keep it simple and dainty.  Don’t get me wrong, mine are no less fatty or caloric than your basic Napoleon  but I’m only making three…three small ones.  9  small rectangles of puff pastry filled with a raspberry diplomat cream,.  A light pink glaze..a few chocolate dots pulled into hearts..voila..less fat on my body since the other two have already been designated to others.. others who wouldn’t eat the larger, heavy basic Napoleon because they like their bodies and pamper them with healthy stuff and only the occasional indulgence   I pamper mine too..with the more than occasional dose of sugar and fat


Yeah, scratch all the above   It’s now the 28th. My puff pastry rectangles burned, so I made a half-batch of puff pastry from the challenge recipe because the small amount I had left in the freezer didn’t smell right.  This time I cut out four 10 x 4 inch rectangles and baked for only 23 minutes.  I cut each rectangle into 4 equal squares (eating the scraps), then sprinkled some sugar over the squares with almonds (I left one 10 x 4 rectangle without almonds for the tops and glaze) and bruleed them with a kitchen torch to make a sort of almond praline crunch.  The raspberry mousse filling softened it enough to give it a light crunch.  No hard sugar tooth cracking here.

I used 4 layers of pastry per Napoleon, so that gave me a total of three Napoleons, which was perfect, since, as I mentioned above in the crossed out paragraph, two were already promised to two people – so no temptation hanging around

Want to know how I made those beautiful pulled sugar circles I topped the Napoleons with?  Watch this video, but wrap the caramelized sugar around a lightly oiled rolling-pin  and you’ll get big hoops (don’t they look like hoop earrings?), some single and some that hold together in sort of a loop de loop.  I added a little pink food coloring and raspberry oil to the sugar while still liquid before it hardened to the perfect ‘corkscrewing’stage.  Hmmm...corkscrewing, I feel a dirty joke in there somewhere.

To sum it up, they turned out messy, my usual quest for fancy pastry beauty a little muted during this zombie phase and my patience nowhere to be found. But, the sugar hoops prettied it up a bit.  It was sort of like draping a Versace scarf around a muddy pig – BUT, they tasted good..and in the end, that’s all that matters, right?

Recipe for Raspberry Mousse Diplomat Cream by Tartelette


Now that I’ve waxed my woes NOT poetic and gabbed about my Napoleons, I’d like to get to the most important part of this entry.  I purposely made pink Napoleons in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month aka Pink October, although supporting those fighting Breast Cancer and urging everyone to take the necessary steps to prevent and/ or catch this heinous disease early is an every day/every month/year round deal..as it is with all cancers.

Breast cancer kills an estimated 40,000 women and 400 men per year, but if it’s detected early enough, the five-year survival rate is over 95 percent.  All women over 20, especially after the age of 40, need to do regular self-exams and get a mammogram once a year.  HERE IS a great mammogram reminder the American Cancer Society has set up.  You will receive an email when it’s time for your next breast exam and/or mammogram.  I think it’s a fantastic idea!

If you click on the photo below, to NBCAM.org (National Breast Cancer Awareness Month), you will find a list of organizations, medical associations, and government agencies working together to promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to many services.  You can also donate money to this cause through many of them.

Also..show your support and donate via The National Breast Cancer Foundation on Twitter @NBCF, Facebook and YouTube, PLUS, of course, the Susan G Komen Foundation.

I’m submitting this post to Jen at Beantown Baker in support of her Power of Pink Challenge.  Click on the logo below to see.

I’d like to thank Suz for this awesome challenge..and if you get a chance, click on the links to my fellow Daring Baker’s blog, HERE, to see their beautiful Napoleons.  To get the recipes for puff pastry, creme patisserie and step-by-step photos and directions on how to make Napoleons, provided by Suz..click HERE.


Finally..there’s a hurricane a comin’.  Frankenstorm – supposedly the worst storm we will ever experience.  I guess Halloween really wants to scare the Northeast this year. Also, for those of you inquiring about Part 18 of Bad Boy First Love, I promise to have it up within the next week, depending on Frankenstorm.  I hope he/she just blows a kiss and drifts out to sea.  Knock Wood.

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  1. Your Mille Feuille look amazing and exquisite! What a gorgeous pastry.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. Lisa, I was just thinking about you on the east coast. Hope everything’s okay.

    Your mille feuille is beautiful. :) I love that photo of it on the dark plate against the dark background. The almondy top is gorgeous, the raspberry cream looks so delicious, and that corkscrew is very, very cool. Stunning job, as ever. Thank you so much for taking part in the challenge, and I’m so sorry you’ve had a rough year of it. *hug* I hope things will look up soon xx

  3. I I love fancy pastry too.No wonder we’re friends. Will you make this for me sometime. It looks amazing.

  4. Hooray! It came together! *phew* that was a process… It came out even more beautiful than I imagined, and I bet it was delicious. Stay warm and dry and check in if you can…

  5. Lisa, this napoleon looks wonderful and I love the candy corkscrew on top is awesome. Sometimes we just get burnt out on everything and it takes a while to get the groove back, I’m sure it will come in due time. I’m thinking of you and hope all goes well during the storm that is headed your way. xoxox Suz

  6. Your mille feuille is absolutely fantastic!!
    It looks too good, on the verge of being illegal
    I just loooooooooo the pink color. Gosh how I wish I could taste it !:)

    I hope Frankenstorm won’t be as bad as anticipated, and I wish you well!
    Be safe!

  7. This is gorgeous, and I am amazed that you have the energy on a good run to do all the commitments you do! (Not to mention your Twitter feed which is really impressive!) Trust me, a break is good for the soul, and you have many faithful readers…we won’t go anywhere! Be safe!

  8. That looks amazing!!

  9. Ah hon, hang in there we all face tough depressing moments. Write to me if you need to chat. And be safe should the storm hit you. Well you did a marvelous job on this challenge and also for such a great cause. it is stunning. mail me a piece :-) ?

  10. For a challenge that you were apprehensive about, you sure knocked it out of the park! Looks GORGEOUS. I love the almond praline idea. Hang in there and be kind to yourself! Hugs.

  11. That looks very wonderful. I have to try mille feuille some day!

  12. All the preparation resulted in exquisite results my friend, your Mille feuille looks so gorgeous, delicious and supportive :)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  13. Your Mille feuille look amazing, decoration is beautiful and raspberry mousse sounds delicious

  14. OMG these look ridiculously good….like amazing! Such fantastic photos…Go you! Great account of your ‘challenge’…down to the very last detail. Great post! :-)

  15. Lis, that pulled sugar doodad is the bomb! over the top on this challenge… Sorry that I have not called lately- with my mother in law here and working on my outdoor mosiac project I have not had much time. good luck with the storm of the century (my friends back in NY are having a fine time making fun of the whole hurricane Sandie thing…) hope you see no damage! Sandie

  16. Hope all is well on your side there Lisa. I was just hearing the news on the radio about the current situation with electricity and such and 12 people already died so hope you’re safe! Sorry to hear too that you’ve been feeling tired and demotivated. Hope you feel better soon ( that’s a lot of hopes in one comment I just notice)
    Now your napoleons look pretty much to die for and I think they look elegant and pretty too!

  17. Who cares if this post isn’t Halloweeny – it looks divine! You are really the queen of intricate, layered desserts :-)

  18. Very nice recipe.

  19. I knew you were going to make something beautiful for this! :) Gorgeous job, as always, I LOVE those caramel hoops! And the raspberry mousse sounds so delicious, too! Hope you are surviving Frankenstorm! We have had a lot of rain but luckily survived the rest of it!

  20. Your napoleons are gorgeous!! I love the pulled sugar circles on top and I need to watch the video to learn how to do that. Such a nice, elegant touch. I also like how you rolled dessert into breast cancer awareness. Such an important message delivered so sweetly. Hope you weathered Hurricane Sandy alright. Xoxo

  21. Wow – completely stunning – the sound of the raspberry cream is delicious. Hope you’re weathering the storm OK.

  22. What a beautiful Mille Feuille! The pink and what it represents is wonderful! By the way…waiting with baited breath for part 18! I’m dying to see it in my reader!

  23. Those sugar rings are AMAZING! Thanks so much for posting the video on how to make them! Perfect holiday toppers in red and green!

  24. But when you do find your mojo, look what you create-so beautiful! This is stunning, Lisa. That pretty pink filling is creamy and gorgeous. I hope you are ok after the storm passed. Thinking of you. xo

  25. Your napoleons are so pretty in pink:) You took it over the top with the sugar decorations (I enjoyed the video)! I know what you mean about the blogging.
    I feel as though I can barely keep up, much less make the rounds to all my blogger friends?!? Your breast cancer message is appreciated. My mom had breast cancer when I was a child. She survived that, but passed away from its sister cancer, ovarian, as did my oldest sister.
    I hope that Sandy passed (passes) you by!

  26. WOW those look fantastic pretty in pink. Impressed what you can do when you are on top of your game (i,e. Entremet) but the fact your having some tough times and you create this speaks to your talent. Great photos and how do you do that sugar thing? I want some.

  27. As usual you have risen to the challenge and outdone all of us! What a beautiful pink napoleon and the sugar decoration looks very fancy indeed.
    Thank you for this post on Breast Cancer Awareness…I lost my Mom to it last year.
    I hope you are alright after the storm.

  28. I don’t think it’s messy at all! Sometimes too perfect is ‘too perfect’ if you get my drift. If this is a less than stellar creation “for you”, I cant even imagine how gorgeous your stellar ones are!

  29. Wow, this is absolutely amazing!
    Your Mille Feuille version is sooo beautiful-
    Pretty in pink :)
    I would really like to have a bite of that!

  30. Sorry about the phaze you are going through Lisa. I know what you mean about struggling with everything from writing a post to making a comment or replying to it. Sometimes I can spend hours in front of the computer and not be able to put a sentence together!
    But I think that has more to do with what life is throwing at you than with blogging. A human can only stand so much and sometimes you just don’t have the energy
    I hope you will be out of this phaze soon and I hope you are safe and the horribly Sandy did not harm you
    As always, you are the queen of fancy desserts and your mille feuille looks heavenly!

  31. Wow dear that looks so fabulous and so delectably presented :)

  32. Simply stunning, my friend! Drooling over your napoleons makes me want to jump back into the DB (almost)! Sorry for the burn out…but it’s understandable since you’ve been doing this for longer than most of us. Hope whatever else is going on in your life is resolved soon, too. xo

  33. OMG LIS!! You are just truly amazing!! I can’t believe you made all that!! WOW!! So impressed right now I totally have to pin this! What an exquisite looking mille feuille!! So gorgeous. And yeah. Sorry about the storms.. :( Glad you’re safe and well though my dear! <3 <3

  34. You have really outdone your self in this challenge. I love that curl on top! What a great way to get people to think pink! I think everyone has times as a writer when their lives are very busy and it is difficult to get the posts out or to comment. Take care, BAM

  35. Lisa, I was admiring your exquisite and gorgeous Napoleons the other day…wanted to comment (computer froze up)…seriously! By the time I got it started up again, I was supposed to leave for an appt. and forgot to check back later…excuses, excuses; but really, that’s what happened.

    What an amazing project you made…I can’t believe my eyes. The raspberry mousse with its lovely pink color and the layers of this ‘beauty’ is just so impressive, so creative, and the decoration with the burnt sugar is so stunning!
    After this magnificent dessert…feel free to take a break from baking…you’ve ‘outdone’ …’outshined’ yourself my dear friend. No need to explain further:) xoxo

  36. Lisa, I can totally relate – I’ve been suffering from burnout and preoccupied with moving, remodeling, illness, and family crisis – you know, Life. You may think your Mille Feuille turned out sloppy, but I admire anyone who can successfully make a Napolean – a baker I am not! Beautifully delicious creation in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Hope you and your family are OK and are getting life back on track after Sandy.

  37. Lisa, I can totally relate – I’ve been suffering from burnout and preoccupied with moving, remodeling, illness, and family crisis – you know, Life. You may think your Mille Feuille turned out sloppy, but I admire anyone who can successfully make a Napolean – a baker I am not! Beautifully delicious creation in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Hope you and your family are OK and are getting life back on track after Sandy.

  38. Oh my goodness that is so beautiful! I’m definitely going to learn how to do those gorgeous circles! You’d never suspect you of burnout looking at this Lisa!

  39. I think your Napoleons are fabulously original. Love the sugar hoops. I would definitely wear them as earrings.

  40. You know, sometimes you just have to say WAAAAAH! This is seriously gorgeous…your presentation is stunning. But I’m gonna cross my fingers for that cake inspired by The Shining – it sounds like it would be awesome!

  41. I am sorry to hear you are struggling with motivation right now. Just be kind to your body, listen to what it is telling you, in time you will get back on the path. Your napoleons look DYNAMITE!!! That was bad wasn’t it, bwhahahah!!! They really do sound lovely, and the pink in the middle is just beautiful! Sending big hugs your way, Terra

  42. Hey Lisa! Hope everything’s fine with you after the storm. Sorry to hear about your “not so inspirational moment”, but that gorgeous looking Napoleon doesn’t tell me that :) I love the caramel decoration, looks professional! Thanks for sharing how to make it!

  43. It doesn’t sound whiny AT ALL, dear Lisa. I’ve been going through similar feelings the past six months, and struggled with the guilt and gosh-I’m-a-bad-bloggerness. :-) But I’m learning that it’s OK. If we’re burnt out, we’re burnt out. And it’s time to rest. So I’ve been resting. A lot. And doing crafty things that aren’t important to anyone else but they make my heart happy. And I’m watching lots of movies and TV series and reading lots of books and cooking just for us and no one else. And now and then I get a flash of inspiration and I-want-to-share-this-ness, and then I do. You are wonderful just the way you are, whether you ever blog another thing. Your emails to me during my oh-so-dark time meant the world to me and STILL cheer me. I hope your hard things ease into good things very soon. And most of all I hope that your heart is restored and refreshed and that you get your zest for life back. :-) XO

  44. Your napolean is so gorgeous! I love the colour and the way its presented… a piece of art.

  45. Your raspberry mousse mille feuille looks incredibly appetizing & just wonderful too, my friend! :) Georgous!!!! Superb!!! Alternative too! :) Very tasty! :) xxx
    A_M_A_Z_I_N_G !!!!

  46. Hi Lisa,
    I dealed a LOT with blogger burnout until one day I sat down and told to myself I’ll write no matter what comes to mind every single day for 30 minutes. After few weeks my random thoughts started to come together and now, instead of taking me a whole day, sometimes two to write a post I finish writing in in one hour.
    Guess practice makes it easier.
    As for your napoleon, they are gorgeous. I saw them the other day on Pinterest and Google+ and knew I have to come back and leave a comment.
    And the pink filling, what a great idea!
    Hugs,

  47. gorgeous napoleon! it reminds me of all the frozen raspberries from summer u-picks that I have in the freezer. I should make this mousse.
    And I am sorry to hear about your burnout. I know the feeling. But unfortunately I don’t know what to do about it. I guess taking a long break and going to Hawaii would probably help… sweet dreams.. sigh.
    Hopefully things will get better soon.

  48. What a beautiful eye-popping Napoleon! For a great cause too. Hope the storm didn’t hit you too hard.

  49. I am totally impressed! This looks absolutely amazing! I think you need vacations desperately! Don’t be late make the arrangements!!

  50. Now THIS is a labour of love! CRAZY HARD – pretty!!!! Perseverant – just like you!
    XO
    V

  51. Amazing! I was always wondering how to make design on the cakes, now I know :) Just the other day I was making my childhood cake Napoleonka – Napoleon pastry Polish way…

  52. STUNNING! I am really anxious to get myself to your kitchen to watch you work. I have visions of madness, energy, passion you whipping up such gorgeous, tempting desserts amid failures (your opinion) and mess ups and re-dos. Seriously, these are beautiful and I’ll be delicious. And I know why you are burned out… now write that email to me.

  53. wow!! those are amazing!! so scrummy-looking and beautiful!
    napoleans are so intimidating–maybe this will give me a little push to attempt them :)

    sounds like you are going through a mild depression of sorts-
    can be difficult and i know this may not help to say this because you might not think it’s true, but it’s ok to go thru something like this and do give yourself the time to work through it-things can be difficult, it’s normal.
    i like the suggestion of a previous comment about the writing 30 minutes a day-works well for depression-releasing as well as practice for all of the Arts, actually.
    see ”The Artist’s Way” book for more on that.

    hugs and thanks for your lovely blog and food creations-

  54. really nice! :)

  55. These are beautiful, even if they were messy. You are always creative with your baking. I am sure Sandy has not helped with your mojo. It has been a tough couple of months. Sending hugs your way and I look forward to seeing lots more beautiful posts with witty humor. I miss them!

  56. I love fancy and artsy desserts as such. You make it look almost too easy to make ;)

  57. Good grief…would love to indulge with these phenomenal napoleons!

    So nice of you to share Breast Cancer awareness. Hope you didn’t experience Hurricane Sandy.

    I admire your posting under trying circumstances…hope you feel better!

  58. These are beautiful, love the pink color and the drama of your photos! But, honestly after reading your post I know my fancy baking days are behind me, bring on the cookies, muffins or scones! I don’t have the patience anymore to fuss with things like icing and toothpicks but I’m glad you do because it’s entertaining to read about and to see your results- I hope your energy comes back and you have many more experiences with french pastry in your future;-)

  59. hi there, great recipes, yet fotography u’ve had….
    i’m curious how u made the rolled caramel crust???
    would u help me then

    • Hi, there! I mentioned it in the post, but you may have missed it :) I rolled sliced almonds onto the top of the puff pastry dough..then after it baked, sprinkled the top with sugar and bruleed it with a kitchen torch. That’s it!


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