Sunday, 6 May 2012

Round and Round Again!

Pasticcini con Crema di Ricotta alla Marsiglia
Cassis-Infused Cream Cheese & Custard Pastries

Sunday morning and time for another of my by now almost legendary pastries by someone who doesn't know how to bake! But the wonderful and joyful truth of the matter is that no one needs to be able to, to put together little beauties like these!

Using a store bought puff pastry, fresh cream cheese and a simple vanilla custard, you can prepare these wonderful, light and delicious little pastries in way less than an hour... and using my latest discovery, powdered cassis, they will be guaranteed to impress!

I prepared a simple custard in the traditional way, using egg yolk, a little corn starch, milk and vanilla, but replaced the sugar with Stevia to keep things lean. I also used skimmed milk as I feel that works just fine- but you can waddle down full-fat avenue if you wish! Haha!

Obviously I do not wish to offend anyone with that statement, just to gain your attention. Yes of course things taste wonderful when they with full fat milk, cream cheese and plenty of sugar. We all know that and we are all used to eating those kinds of luscious desserts all our lives. I just feel that it would be a wonderful thing if people could re-think the way they eat. We are all concerned with healthy eating and we all dismay at the growing figures on obesity. So what I am saying is- try a lighter solution. You may well be surprised and may well enjoy it! Eating lower-fat does not mean eating second best. Look at the pictures and decide for yourselves!

So- as I said, it is a basic custard, so you can use your own preferred recipe or even use a store-bought one and sweeten with Stevia. I am not going to reinvent custard my dears! There are already thousands of recipes for it and one more from me is not going to make the world into a better place... but an idea of what to do WITH the custard might!

I mixed the custard together with some thick cheese curds, but you can use a soft ricotta, Philadelphia, or any other cream cheese that you are particularly fond of. The mix was 50/50 and the work was done by my electric mixer! I would say that you need a good 5 minutes to get the cheese to become really lush and creamy with the custard- and in that time you can use your pastry cutter to cut rounds of puff pastry and push them into your pre-heated oven at 400°F. Some pastries like it hot!

Whilst the pastry shells are puffing themselves into a frenzy, take half of the cream cheese /custard mix and add a tablespoon of cassis powder, a hint of lemon juice and a pinch of cinnamon and give it a whizz! There will be a puff of pink powder and before you know it you will have a delicate and mildly berry-flavored pink cream! I felt tempted to add more cassis, or even to help it along with some cassis juice... but color is not everything and overpowering flavors are not my favorites when it comes to desserts. I wanted this to be refreshing, light and mild... and that just the way it turned out!

After 15 minutes in the oven, the pastry rounds were HUGE and wonderfully golden brown! I took them out and let them cool for 20-30 minutes and placed the cream into the freezer whilst I did my washing-up! Yes, I am a tidy and sensible cook! And always pushed for time! So multi-tasking is always order of the day...

Once the pastry was totally cool, I carefully split it in two, so that I could fill it with both the plain vanilla and the pink cassis cream. A good tablespoonful of each was more than a generous serving as you can see! But obviously- that is also not that much of a sin compared to many other desserts... making this a guilt-free option for an after-dinner treat! And the other good thing about it is... they taste so good you may want to have two of them- and you can still do that without feeling guilty too! Just do it! And enjoy!

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