Chocolate-Drizzled Cheesecake Cream Puffs

This was so easy. The boys love stuff like this (as do I) and I especially like the way it tastes just as good as what you can get from the bakery with a fraction of the cost. If you have these ingredients handy then you could whip up some at any time to feed that sweet tooth.

A few quick substitutes just in case you don’t keep cheesecake-flavored pudding around. The pudding can be replaced with vanilla-flavored, and the mascarpone can easily be subbed with regular cream cheese, though I would keep a few Tbsp of powdered sugar near by to taste and add as needed.

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Cream Puffs

2 sheets puff pastry, thawed

6 oz. container of mascarpone cheese

1 pkg. cheesecake-flavored pudding

3/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup whole milk (+ a few more T for consistency)

3/4 cup chocolate chips, melted

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1. Preheat oven to 375*.

2. Using a water-glass or cookie cutters, cut 9 large circles from each pastry sheet.

3. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes. (I baked one sheet at a time; 9 puffs each sheet)

4. Mix together pudding mix and mascarpone cheese using a mixmaster with the whisk attachment.

5. Add in heavy cream and milk. Whisk until combined and smooth (you may need to add up to 2 T of extra milk here).

6. Let puffs cool and then slice each one carefully into two pieces wherever you find a natural split in the middle.

7. Place pudding mixture into a plastic baggie and cut a corner to pipe cream onto bottom halves of each pastry puff. Place tops on.

8. Melt chocolate slowly in microwave, stopping to stir every 30 seconds (should only take about a minute. The last bit will melt while stirring).

9. Put chocolate in plastic bag and cut a corner to drizzle over the tops of the puffs.

10. Allow about 20-30 minutes in the fridge so chocolate can set or enjoy right away 🙂

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Random Recipe Roundup

Strawberry Tart with Basil Cream

I love this tart. In fact I just plain ol’ love pastries so any tart is good for me. The best thing about something like this is that the ingredients are minimal and as long as you keep some refrigerated puff pastry in your freezer you can whip something like this up quickly and customize it to whatever fruit you have on hand. I am a sucker for fresh basil so that’s why I made this particular tart but you can mix fresh mint into your cream, or go wild and experiment with spices and flavors. For example, I see an awesome banana tart with fresh cream whipped with cinnamon and nutmeg and drizzled with some caramel or chocolate sauce (or both!) See how easy that was? Now it’s your turn 🙂

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Strawberry Tart with Basil Cream

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

1 cup heavy cream

4 or 5 T powdered sugar

1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped

1 pint strawberries

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Preheat oven to 350*. Roll out pastry sheet on a floured surface until thin, about the size of a square foot. I do this because I have a great 14-inch square-shaped baking sheet, but you can do a rectangle shape if you like. Trim about an inch off the edges of the sheet and use a little water to build the edges up a bit.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper and place the sheet on top. Make sure you prick the pastry with a fork so the air can flow. If you’ve ever missed this step you’ll know the pastry will balloon up. It’s fixable for this tart but not ideal.

Bake for 20 minutes then allow to cool completely.

While the pastry sheet is cooling you can whip up the cream using a mixmaster or electric beaters with the powdered sugar until it’s set and just beginning to form soft peaks. Gently fold in the basil (save some for sprinkling on top of the tart).

Spreading the cream might be a little hard if it gets too stiff (mine did) and especially if the shell wasn’t pricked with a fork prior to baking and is breaking up (guilty), so I used a small ice cream scoop to place blobs of the cream all over the pastry. Then I used a slightly wet silicone spreader to gently spread the cream out. Mine came out pretty thick but I really liked it anyway.

Slice the strawberries and place them all over the top of the tart. I put mine in rows, overlapping each edge, covering the whole thing. You can put your strawberries on however you like.

Sprinkle any remaining bits of fresh basil on the top.

Enjoy!


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Mini Apple Tarte Tatins

This was a twist on a recipe I’ve been meaning to do for some time. Lately I’ve not been turning out the best stuff- it’s like I’ve lost my mojo. I know, right? How does that happen?? So needless to say I’m not very motivated by lengthy recipe directions. Originally I meant to make an Apple Slab Pie, which was on my menu for the month, but instead I decided to do these cute and easy little tarts.

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Mini Apple Tarte Tatins

1 sheet puff pastry

3 apples

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 stick butter, divided

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon sugar

Vanilla ice cream, for serving

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1. Preheat oven to 375*.

2. Peel, core, and cut apples into 3 rings. Toss with cinnamon sugar and set aside.

3. Roll out thawed pastry sheet and cut into 9 equal squares. Wrap each apple ring.

4. Get skillet over medium heat and put in sugar and 1/2 the butter. Bring to light boil and caramelize into a syrup.

5. Place apples smooth side down into caramel syrup and cook a few minutes.

6. Melt remaining butter and mix with vanilla. Pour evenly over the upsides of the apple tarts (the side where the pastry is folded under).

7. Place whole pan into oven for about 30-45 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and apples are tender.

8. At this point you could carefully flip each tart over and give it about 10 more minutes in the oven to get some of that caramelized syrup on the top side, or spoon it over the top from the bottom of the pan.

9. Serve top side up where the folds have baked up a little. Serve with ice cream if desired.

This recipe is featured on Full Plate Thursday @ Miz Helen’s Country Cottage! 🙂

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Asparagus Feta Tart

This was a yummy side dish for my Poached Salmon with Sour Cream Dill Dressing and a fun way to get the kids to eat their veggies. We are all feta fans here, me especially, but you could use just about any strong-flavored cheese you like. Feta doesn’t melt well, so if you think you might have a problem with your asparagus rolling off the tart, you may want to use Gruyere or Jarslberg or something else equally yummy.

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Asparagus Feta Tart

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled fine

1 bunch asparagus*

EVOO

salt & pepper

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Preheat oven to 400*. Unfold the pastry sheet and roll out to about a square foot in size. I roll it out over parchment paper so that I can easily transfer it to a baking sheet. Just flip it over and slowly peel the paper off.

Fork the dough all over so it won’t rise during baking. Bake for about 10 minutes or until very light brown.

While it’s baking prepare your asparagus. *I used rather fat ones because that’s what was available, which were fine, but thin ones crisp up so nicely in the oven. That would be my preference and recommendation. Cut off the ends and try to get all the stalks as even in size as possible. Toss with EVOO and salt & pepper. You could even throw a little minced garlic or garlic powder in there if you’re feeling frisky.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and sprinkle the feta pieces evenly. Then top with the asparagus spears, arranging them by alternating tips and ends.

Bake for about 20 more minutes.

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Brown Sugar-Butternut Squash Tart with Nutmeg Whipped Cream

Say what?

Have you never considered making a dessert from butternut squash? And why not? It’s just one step away from pumpkin, and let me tell you what an awesome, yummy success this tart was. Even without the luscious whipped cream the butternut squash was lightly sweet delicious, but all in all this tart was amazing! I am drooling just thinking about it and the 3 leftover pieces in my refrigerator right now……

While I go whip up some fresh nutmeg whipped cream you can look over the recipe 🙂

Brown Sugar-Butternut Squash Tart

1 package puff pastry

1/3 cup butter

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 tsp nutmeg, divided

2 lb. Butternut Squash, peeled, halved, seeded and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices

2 T sugar, divided

1/2 cup heavy cream

1. Allow the puff pastry to thaw on counter for about 45 minutes. Lightly spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and set the two pieces of puff pastry inside. Using your fingers, press lightly to seal the two pieces into one and to ease the pastry onto the bottom and slightly up the sides of the pan. Cover the tart with a double layer of foil and bake for 8 minutes at 450*. Remove foil and bake an additional 4 minutes as needed until the pastry is browned. Let cool and lower the oven to 400*.

2. In a 12-inch skillet melt butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar, salt, and 1/2 tsp nutmeg. Cook and stir until combined and bubbly. Add squash and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Use tongs to remove squash from pan, arranging slices in rows over pastry. Spoon over and remaining sauce. Sprinkle with 1 T sugar. Bake, uncovered, 15 minutes at 400*.

3. For nutmeg whipped cream, in a chilled medium mixing bowl (or a mixmaster) combine whipping cream and remaining 1 T sugar and 1/4 tsp nutmeg (add more to taste). Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form.

4. Serve warm with whipped cream.

ENJOY!!!