Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day Indulgence: Strawberry Rhubarb Napoleons with Creme Fraiche Ice Cream!

What better day for a sweet indulgence than Mother's Day! Mom deserves a dessert at least as sweet as she is, right? I recently came across this dessert on one of Food Network's new shows, Dessert First with Anne Thornton and thought it sounded perfectly Springy and delicious - definitely Mother's Day-worthy! I've always loved the combination of strawberry and rhubarb and seek it out whenever possible. Although I am a fan, I've never made it myself, and even though this recipe sounded a little daunting (well, to me anyway) it really isn't!

Ahhh, Puff Pastry!
The only special piece of equipment needed is an ice cream maker but the ice cream itself is simple to make. Just assemble the ingredients and pour the mixture into your trusty machine. Fifteen minutes later - Voila! - creme fraiche ice cream! The same is true of the strawberry rhubarb filling. Just mix the glorious ingredients together (chopped rhubarb, sliced strawberries, orange zest, orange juice and sugar) simmer for seven minutes and the result is a beautiful purplish crimson syrup flecked with sweet chunks of rhubarb and sliced strawberries - yum! Next is the puff pastry which, I am convinced, can make anyone look like a rock star! No matter how plain puff pastry might look going into the oven, once it comes out - wow! Beautifully flaky and golden brown it is truly a sight to behold. As an added bonus, all three components of this delicious dessert can be made the day before and assembled the day of your celebration so there's more time to spend with Mom - what's not to love about that?
Mom, Me, Mel & Jen - Captiva 2010
I had to include this photo of my Mom, sisters and me taken this Summer on a family vacation. I'd like to wish my Mom and sister Jennifer a very Happy Mother's Day and I look forward to celebrating with them tomorrow! If you are looking for a special dessert to surprise your Mama this year, give this one a try. It is sure to put a smile on her (and your) face!
Bon Appetit,

Strawberry Rhubarb Napoleons with Creme Fraiche Ice Cream 

Recipe Courtesy of Anne Thornton

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half a 17.3-ounce package), thawed
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting, if needed
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • Strawberry-Rhubarb Filling, recipe follows
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
  • Creme Fraiche Ice Cream, recipe follow
Preheat the oven to 400 degree F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Unfold the pastry sheet on your work surface. If the pastry sticks a bit, dust with some flour. Roll the dough out to about 10-inch square. Cut the square into 4 (5-inch) squares, then cut these in half diagonally to make 8 triangles. Evenly sprinkle all the triangles with the 2 tablespoons sugar. Put the triangles, sugar-side up, on the baking sheet. Pop in the oven and bake until nicely puffed and golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool. Slice in half horizontally (a serrated knife is best for this job). 
Put a halved triangle on your serving plate. Spread some Strawberry-Rhubarb filling on top, stack another halved triangle and more filling on top of that and repeat to make 4 layers total. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with more sauce on the side. Scoop some Creme Fraiche Ice Cream alongside. Serve the napoleons immediately.

Cook's Note: Both the pastries and filling can be prepared 1 day ahead and stored separately. Put the pastries in an airtight container at room temperature, and cover and refrigerate the filling. Heat up the filling before using.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Filling:

  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 pound rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 pints strawberries, sliced, divided
Whisk the sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl, making sure there are no lumps. Add the rhubarb, sugar-cornstarch mixture, orange zest and juice and half the strawberries to a saucepan. Give it a good stir. Let this mixture sit about 15 minutes off the heat so it macerates (gets nice and juicy). Then put the pan over medium-high heat and let cook until the rhubarb is tender but still holds its shape, giving it a stir now and then, about 7 minutes. Let it cool for about 15 minutes, and then stir in the rest of the strawberries.

Creme Fraiche Ice Cream

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups creme fraiche
  • 1 cup sugar
Pour the milk into a large bowl, add the 2 tablespoons lemon juice and let it sit for a couple of minutes.

Add the creme fraiche, the remaining 1/3 cup lemon juice and the sugar. Give it a whisk until thoroughly combined. Pour into an ice cream maker and churn as per the manufacturer's instructions, then pop in the freezer until it's firm. Yield: about 1 quart


  1. I'm totally drooling over your Strawberry-Rhubarb puff pastry, and especially over the Creme Fraiche Ice cream which I have never tasted, or made before.
    I'm soooo excited that you are sharing the recipe for both, can't thank you enough:DDD
    Love the photo of you ladies, and your cute floral dresses, as well!

  2. These sound amazing, I am totally feeling these :D
    Happy mother's day.
    *kisses* HH

  3. Lovely dish to celebrate such great occasion.
    Great photo too ♥

  4. Have a wonderful celebration. Hopefilly someone will serve us up breakfast in bed:D

  5. What a lovely dessert and I like that some of it can be made ahead. Sounds like you get a chance to enjoy your family. Hope you and your mom have a wonderful mother's day.

  6. This sounds, and looks, ever so indulgent! Thanks for stopping by, and for sharing this wonderful recipe for Mother's Day!

  7. What a deliciously beautiful combination!

  8. Such a beautiful dessert! I love Napoleons.
    Nice to have found your blog.

  9. Indulgent is correct. Absolutely lovely.

  10. They look delicious. What a fabulous idea for a day like today (gotta love puff pastry!)

  11. wonderful recipe and wow you all look great :-)

  12. How perfect for Mother's Day! So decadent and tasty-looking!

  13. Yummy looking dessert and great picture of you and your sisters!

  14. They look beautiful, perfect for mothers day! I really need to invest in an icecream maker.

  15. Another delicious recipe! Puff pastry is my favourite. xoxo, B


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