I Wannabe Making This Dessert
A couple of weeks ago, I went into Samuel’s school and knew it was the perfect day to be there. It was the Headmaster’s birthday and one of the Principals, Maya Scwartz, had brought in a dessert she made. One taste and I was hooked, or so I thought.
I asked Maya if she shares recipes and fortunately for me, she does. Maya’s dessert is called a Cream Schnitt. You are not alone, if you do not know what schnitt means. I had to do an Internet search to find out. Schnitt is a German word that has ‘cut’ as one of its translations. So, basically, the dessert is a ‘Cream Cut’.
The name makes sense because there is a really creamy layer in between two sheets of baked puff pastry and the dessert is cut as you go. In Maya’s version the recipe calls for a box of vanilla pudding mix. This is where I ran into a psychological problem. I know it stems from a childhood memory of having an intense dislike for boxed pudding, which I still ate anyway….yes, Freud would continue to have fun with me.
So there I was with a true conflict. I loved this dessert, but knew I could not bring myself to put vanilla pudding mix into mine. I did what any somewhat reasonable person would do. I improvised.
The filling I make still has heavy whipping cream and milk. Instead of the boxed pudding mix, I added mascarpone cheese, sugar and vanilla. A nice compromise, if I say so myself.
My next big decision was figuring out how far in advance to prepare this dessert. I made it two ways: the day before which allowed it to sit overnight; and next, the same day I was serving it. Overwhelmingly, the vote was to prepare the dessert one day ahead. The taste is still scrumptious when made the day it is served, but the crispy puff pastry smooshes the filling out.
I also did a name change, in part because Cream Schnitt wasn’t working for me. This dessert reminds me of a Napoleon, but with drastic changes. Thus, the name Napoleon Wannabe seems fitting. It kind of wants to be a Napoleon, but just doesn’t pass the muster! Instead, it creates its own standard of deliciousness.
Regardless of the name, don’t pass on making it. Napoleon Wannabe is one of the easiest desserts I have ever made and is beautiful on a plate with macerated berries poured over the top. The berries are not required, but they are lovely to look at and so tasty to eat. This has quickly become a dessert I wannabe making often.
- 2 sheets of Frozen Puff Pastry, thawed
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
- 2½ cups heavy whipping cream
- 1¼ cups whole milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup sugar
- confectioners sugar for dusting
- Topping (optional):
- 1 pint blueberries
- ½ pint raspberries
- 1 pint strawberries, sliced
- 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
- For the crust:
- Preheat oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Unfold the pastry sheets, one at a time, keeping the one not in use covered in plastic wrap. Use your hands to gently pull and stretch the dough to a 14” x 10” rectangle. It is not critical that the dough be exactly measured. It is more important that the two sheets be about the same size.
- Transfer the dough to a lined baking sheet. Repeat with the second puff pastry sheet. Bake at 350° for 15-18 minutes. Check often and poke any puffed up dough down with a fork. The pastry sheets will be golden brown when done.
- Remove from oven and cool completely before preparing the filling.
- For the filling:
- Combine the mascarpone, cream, milk, vanilla and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Whip together, initially on low speed and then increase to medium speed once the mixture starts to hold a shape. Beat until stiff peaks are formed.
- Pour the filling over one of the baked puff pastry sheets. Use a metal spatula to evenly distribute the filling. Gently place the other pastry sheet over the filling, pressing lightly on it so that the puff pastry does not move.
- Cover with plastic wrap, pushing the wrapping onto the filling. Refrigerate for one day.
- For the topping:
- Combine all the fruit into a bowl. Stir in the confectioners sugar and macerate the berries for 1 hour.
- Remove plastic wrap and dust with confectioners sugar. Use a serrated knife to cut the Napoleon Wannabe slices. Spoon berries over the individual slices, if desired.
- Betsy's tidbits:
- Napoleon Wannabe may be halved without a problem. Use only one puff pastry sheet and cut it in half after it is stretched out. Divide the filling and topping ingredients in half, too.
- The filling is initially mixed on low speed to prevent the kitchen from wearing most of the filling.