Monday, June 29, 2009

A Berry Merry Birthday

In my culinary mind, a 'momentous birthday' deserves more than the typical layer cake. With Mitti - the birthday girl in-mind, I decided to go to a recipe from Gourmet magazine that combines summer’s ripe berries, zesty candied ginger and puff pastry. The combination is fresh, sweet and a little spicy…hmmm…the birthday girl 'to a T'!

NOTE: This patriotic-looking summer dessert would also be a great treat for the 4th of July.

Charlestown Culinary's Berry Tart with Ginger Lemon Cream (Based on recipe from Gourmet)
1 large egg yolk
2 (17 1/4-oz) packages frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
8 ounces neufchâtel cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup crystallized ginger, chopped finely
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jelly
1 pint strawberries, halved
1 pint blueberries
1/2 pint red raspberries

Whisk egg yolk in a small bowl with a fork. Cover a chilled cookie sheet with parchment paper. Unfold the pastry dough, covering the cookie sheet. Prick the entire surface evenly with a fork. With the remaining dough, cut 1-inch-wide strips and place them along the border of the pastry (border should be two layers thick). Chill dough in freezer for 10 minutes. Remove dough from freezer. Make 1/4-inch-long vertical cuts through double layers of edge about 1/2 inch apart (to help sides rise evenly).

Bake dough in an oven at 450° until puffed and deep golden brown, about 15 minutes. Allow pastry to cool completely. In the meantime, blend the neufchâtel cheese, vanilla, zest and sugar in a food processor until smooth. Add ginger and pulse until finely chopped and mixture is combined well.
In a small bowl, microwave jelly with water for 60 seconds. Toss strawberries and blueberries in mixture. On the cooled pastry, spread the ginger cream. On the cream, arrange the berries in a decorative pattern. Serve within 3 hours.

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