It’s official. We are now into the holidays, and that brings the hustle and bustle of planning, preparing, and shopping. I love Christmas. It’s my most favorite holiday of the year, but it’s a lot of work!! Sometimes it’s fun work…and we all know that sometimes it’s really stressful work..
I think I can safely guess that you’re like me, and while I can get some of the things finished during the week, I rely on the weekend to get the majority of it done. Even then, it’s still a rush, because I still have the normal everyday things to do on top of everything else. Which is why I took Black Friday off, and just spent a relaxing day decorating and cleaning…I believe I started a new Black Friday tradition for myself! And then, there’s always that one weekend, that just when I’m in the thick of the hustle and bustle, I realize that I have a party to go to that night, and I promised my friend I’d bring a dessert! That’s when my mind starts looking for quick and easy…short and sweet.
This is truly a short and sweet dessert. The idea came to me about five years ago, when I wanted to make a raspberry napoleon type dessert for a party that I was invited to. The only problem was, that it was going to be a finger foods type of party, meaning that a Napoleon wasn’t going to work, not to mention, I was pressed for time.
As I was walking through the freezer section at Wegmans, I saw this little box of mini phyllo cups. Perfect!! I could fill them with pastry cream, raspberries, whipped cream, and drizzle them with chocolate. They just might be a decent finger food dessert!
I did not anticipate the huge hit they’d be… That evening, I could hear people talking about them, and asking who made them, and then asking me for the recipe! Of course, I had no culinary or patissier expertise to impress them… But as I shared the recipe, I found that they loved this little dessert, which was not only pretty, but also delicious enough for the fanciest of soirees, yet easy and casual enough for a picnic….but also quick to throw together, and so, so simple to make.
I have made these little Napoleon cups with the pastry cream, and without. I have to say that they are delicious both ways. Honestly? I think it’s the little phyllo cups that make them so outstanding, especially if you brush them with the butter before filling them, which gives them such a rich flavor.
So now I need to give you the bad news…. These little phyllo cups will hold up for an evening, but they won’t hold up overnight. If you are planning on making them the day before, it won’t work. They’ll get soggy regardless if you use the pastry cream or not. Go ahead and make the pastry cream the day before, but I recommend that you put them together the same day as the event. Like I said before, these are just as delicious with just raspberries and whipped cream, so if you’re out of time, then honestly, skip the pastry cream! The good news is, is that there will be zero leftovers to worry about!
Raspberry Napoleon Cups
2 – 12 count packages of mini phyllo pastry shells
1 – 12 oz package of fresh raspberries
1 tbsp salted butter, melted
The Whipped Cream
1 – 8 oz carton heavy cream
1 tsp sugar, or more depending on your desired sweetness
1 tsp vanilla
Pour the heavy cream into a large bowl, and with an electric mixer, begin mixing it until it forms stiff peaks. Add the sugar and vanilla, and continue to beat until it is stiff enough to put in a pastry bag to pipe. Put the bowl of whipped cream into the refrigerator until ready to use.
The Pastry Cream
¼ cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 -1/2 tbsp flour
¼ tsp salt
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
Whisk the sugar, heavy cream, flour, and salt in a small saucepan on medium heat. Cook until it begins to bubble, or until it’s thickened, stirring occasionally. While the cream mixture is cooking, break two egg yolks into a small bowl and lightly stir them with a fork. As soon as the cream mixture has thickened, spoon about a ½ cup of the cream into the egg yolk bowl, and whisk quickly, pour the egg/cream mixture back into the pan and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from heat, and stir into the vanilla. Pour the cream into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool.
Once the pastry cream has completely cooled, take about 1/3 cup of the whipped cream, and fold it into the cream.
The Chocolate Sauce
½ cup chocolate chips
2 tbsp heavy cream
In a small microwaveable bowl, heat the heavy cream for about a minute. Add the chocolate chips to the heated heavy cream and stir until melted. Add a little more heavy cream if the chocolate sauce is too thick for drizzling.
The beauty of this recipe is that you can prepare the phyllo cups right in their little plastic package. Melt the butter, and brush all over the inside of each cup. Begin layering the Napoleon cups by spooning one teaspoon of pastry cream into each cup. Put two raspberries on top of the pastry cream.
Spoon the whipped cream into a pastry bag that has been loaded with a star tip (I use Wilton 1M), and pipe the whipped cream over the raspberries. Drizzle with the chocolate sauce. Refrigerate until ready to serve.