The roses are in full bloom in my garden and they look so beautiful. I remember when we first moved into this house -almost 18years ago-there was one rosebush on the west side of the house. I had been told that when the house was first built in 1919 the owner and his neighbor used to propagate roses and experiment with new strains. Those roses were long gone when we bought the house. I keep hoping that somewhere deep underground are the roots of at least one rosebush that someday will spring forward. In the meantime I had a vision for the property when we bought it. I wanted a garden like Monet's. I built my own trellis', put in rose arbors, sectioned out little beds , and now the entire yard is like wandering through Monet's garden.
I am happy with my handiwork and love roaming through the garden and discovering a new little geranium popping up-transplanted by the winds or the many birds that visit. We love to sit out on the deck in the evening and smell the vanilla scented Clematis or brush against the rosemary as we walk down the pathway. We have been talking about selling the house, since retirement is quickly approaching. We talk about downsizing and moving into a smaller place -translation "Condo with no yard maintenance " ! When and if that happens, I will miss my gardens and can only hope that whomever buys the house, loves to garden. It would break my heart if I returned and the gardens were gone. C'est la vie .
So to honor my garden in the present moment I decided to do something with my roses and baking. I started to search the Internet and remembered I had the link to Chef Eddy Van Damm on my home page. I thought of him because his work is so beautiful,creative and delicious I had a feeling he might have something that would inspire me-all of his work inspires me ! And how serendipitous-the topic on his home page was a Mille-Feuille with a Rose flavored Crème légère . And he used crystallized and fresh rose petals for the final touches. The photography was so gorgeous and his final product looked exquisite-I knew it was the perfect way to honor my roses.
Many thanks to Chef Eddy Van Damm for his instructions and inspiration. And for instructions on how to make your own crystallized roses go to Baking 911 or Martha Stewart. And if you have not discovered Chef Van Damm at this point in your baking experience please go to his website-you will be very happy you did-his work is incredible-and you will see why he is called the Prince of Pastry. The book he co-authored , On Baking ,has been on my wish list for some time and after this baking experiment I splurged and bought it for myself. You will probably be inspired to do the same once you visit his website !
Sorting through the petals from my garden
Rose flavored Crème légère.
Note a Crème légère is a pastry cream “lightened” by whipped cream.
1Cup (8 oz) Heavy cream
1 Cup (8 oz) Seedless raspberry puree
¼ cup + 1Tbsp (2.5 oz) Extra fine granulated sugar
4 Egg yolks
¼ Cup (2 oz) Extra fine granulated sugar
4 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon (1 ¼ oz) Cornstarch
½ Cup (4 oz) Milk, boiling
1 Cup (8 oz) Whipping cream
Rose essence to taste
In a saucepan bring the heavy cream , raspberry puree and sugar to a boil.
In a separate bowl whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Add sugar and whisk rapidly until smooth, add cornstarch and whisk smooth. Whisk in the boiling milk.
Pour the egg yolk mixture into the boiling cream mixture and whisk rapidly to a boil. Boil for 1 minute and remove from heat. Cover the crème with plastic food film and place in an ice bath to quickly cool the cream until cold.
Whip the whipping cream until moussed (Soft peak). Add the rose essence to the pastry cream and whisk smooth. Fold in the moussed cream and gently fold together
You can use a good quality store bought puff pastry for this recipe or if you are very brave and up to the challenge make your own !
Roll enough puff pastry to make about a half size sheet pan and 1/12 inch (2 mm) thick, bake at 400°F (200°C). Once the dough has quadrupled and the surface has gelatinized place a perforated sheet on the dough to ensure an even surface. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (180°C) or slightly cooler and bake until fully crisp.
When cold cut the dough into desired size pieces and sprinkle evenly with extra fine granulated sugar. Caramelize the surface evenly with a torch. Let cool.
Using the Rose flavored Crème légère , pipe a layer on caramelized puff pastry. Cover with another layer of puff pastry and pipe another layer of the cream. Finalize with another puff pastry layer and decorate with organic rose petals and crystallized rose petal.
PS BUY THE BOOK !