Russian Bites: Napoleon cake

Russian napoleon cake-5

You know how after traveling for a while you really crave home? The ordinary things, like being able to sleep in your own bed and cook for yourself? By the end of our Eurotrip, I even missed bootcamp (so happy I love working out) and my business. With every city we left, I was sad to go yet ready to move on.

And now I miss those daily pastries, al fresco drinks in the middle of the day and long long walks. Guess what? I can still get away with doing all 3! Winking smile I really should sometime…

Russian napoleon cake

Last month I was asked for a Russian Napoleon cake recipe so I immediately emailed my mom and set up a date for us to make it. I’m good like that (also I really like cake). It’s actually originally a French dessert (Russian food has a lot of French influences) but the traditional Russian version seems to be a bit easier (although it has 4 layers vs 2) and has a bit of a different look. With using store-bought puff pastry dough, the whole thing comes together in a cinch and will be gobbled up even quicker! That’s a fact. Winking smile [See how the styled photos are only of a few tiny pieces? Yeah, that’s because that’s all that was left! Too good.]

Russian napoleon cake-2

So what’s a Russian Napoleon cake? It’s pretty much 4 layers of puff pastry layered with custard cream (creme patissiere). Bake the puff pastry according to instructions on the package, make the custard cream (eggs, milk, sugar, flour, butter) and then layer the two. Easy!

Russian napoleon cake-3

The last piece of puff pastry gets crumbled to create this fun topping:

Russian napoleon cake-4

Let the whole thing stand in the fridge overnight so the puff pastry softens a bit from the custard and the layers really meld together. The result is a cool, creamy, buttery dessert that’s unbelievably addictive!

Russian napoleon cake-7

I want a piece right now!!

Russian napoleon cake-6

Printable recipe

Russian napoleon cake-8

Do you ever miss home while on vacation? Ever had Napoleon cake? It’s gooooood; I hope you try it! Open-mouthed smile

Beer vs. wine pairing party

It was a long day at work today, which makes memories of this past weekend that much fonder.

On Saturday, we were invited to our friends’ Kevin and Trisha’s house for a beer vs. wine pairing party. The idea was to bring a dish that pairs well with one or the other and have some fun! Almost immediately I thought of bringing something spicy to pair with a Riesling, and then a moment of brilliance hit me – mini banh mi sliders. Oh yes I did!

Of course it’s me and I can’t just make a favorite recipe and call it good. And well, dessert needed to happen as well (just in case we didn’t have enough). I made some meyer lemon curd a few days prior so the idea of white wine cupcakes with meyer lemon curd filling and marshmallow wine frosting was born. Sounds fitting for a beer vs. wine party, no?

I started with the white wine cupcake recipe base (using half all purpose and half white whole wheat flour – they were perfectly tender, no whole wheatiness in sight. Yes, that’s a word!)

IMG_3769

Then scooped a bit of the cupcake insides (which I saved for a little snack later Winking smile ) and filled the cavities with the meyer lemon curd (don’t overfill them with the curd or they’ll be too intense).

IMG_3770

Lastly came the frosting part. I used 1/2 of this recipe for the marshmallow frosting – it wouldn’t harden so I added extra cream of tartar until it came to the right consistency) and it really tasted like marshmallows. I was so excited I forgot to add a bit of wine to it. Oh well, still amazingly delicious! [Adam said it was one of the best desserts I’ve ever made!!]

IMG_3776

The recipe made 18 cupcakes. 18 addictively delicious cupcakes. Good thing I had some friends to share it with!! Smile

So now on to the party. We had some super talented cooks, that’s for sure. Andrew impressed us all with his salmon tartar cornets with sweet red onion crème fraiche (recipe from The French Laundry Cookbook!!)

IMG_3777

Unfortunately, while I was totally drooling over this, I couldn’t taste the final product given the ahem, red onions. Sad smile I am certain it’s the most amazing appetizer though (I mean, common – it’s Thomas Keller’s recipe!!) so I plan on tackling it one day. How impressed are you with Andrew? He even made the little cones from scratch!

IMG_3780

For his pairing, he chose the pale ale by the Victory brewery since he just passed his PHD exam. I liked all the pairings from this dinner so I’m going to direct you to Kevin’s post for more comprehensive beer reviews since he knows a lot more about beer than I do. All I can say is that it went down easy! Winking smile

IMG_3779

Next up – my banh mi sliders!! I used grass fed beef instead of turkey, but otherwise followed the recipe to the T. It’s really the best!! I love how the meatballs have a bit of heat, which is enhanced by the spicy mayo and sliced jalapenos and then cooled off by the pickled carrots and daikon radish. Man, I loved these little guys!!

IMG_3782

IMG_3786

This sweet Riesling was a really good pairing for this spicy dish.

IMG_3787

Happy customers Smile

IMG_3788 IMG_3789

More finger food! Mac & cheese mini cakes to be exact! I believe Melissa used the Wine & Food magazine recipe but don’t quote me on this. These little cakes were perfectly portable, cheesy and indulgent.

IMG_3783

… and paired really well with this crisp prosecco. Seriously, best party idea ever!!

IMG_3785

Onto some Mexican cilantro chicken with all the fixins (cheese, salsa, tortillas), paired with the Hennepin Belgian style saison.

IMG_3791

The chicken had so much flavor and I just love the body of saisons – kind of like wheat beer but with so much more character. Yummmmm.

IMG_3790

Our stomachs were getting quite full but there was just one more savory course. Pizza!!

IMG_3794

Prosciutto, mozzarella

IMG_3793

and balsamic caramelized onion and goat cheese

IMG_3795

Paired with a surprisingly light Syrah. Can’t go wrong with pizza + wine!

At this point all of us really needed an eating break so we moved to the living room for some couch (and more drinking) time. Smile

Eventually these molten chocolate cakes (from the Flour bakery cookbook) baked and well, you can’t let perfectly molten chocolate deliciousness wait for you! Now can you? (don’t answer that!)

IMG_3796

IMG_3804

Paired with this aged Mikkeller Belgian strong ale (brewed with chocolate!).

IMG_3802

Heaven!

My cupcakes were a bonus dessert and we all enjoyed them at our leisure.

IMG_3799

Someone kept hoping to sneak a bite but we were a bit quicker Winking smile

IMG_3811

IMG_3809

What do you prefer – beer or wine? What’s the coolest “theme party” you’ve ever been to? I’m totally stealing this idea and plan on hosting one of my own this summer! Party smile

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Follow Me




Check out my other blog:

Categories