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Riesling Apple Brown Butter Ricotta Napoleons

I was given the task of coming up with a simple recipe using these McEwan Riesling Apples that I could share with you for the holiday season.I wanted something easy enough to do ahead and have on hand for an impromptu dessert but fancy enough that it would still be special. I am all about the shock and awe when it comes to desserts.

Have you been to McEwan at the Shops at Don Mills lately? I had to go to pick up my jars of Riesling Apples and did some shopping while I was there. The store is all festive and cheery and there are all sorts of tasty, seasonal treats laying around. I ended up doing quite a bit of xmas shopping for my culinary loving friends and found all kinds of great seasoned finishing salts and other fun things that make great gifts for friends. I have bought those blue cheese chicken wing chips for someone else but this is the first time I tasted them myself and let me tell you that I am very happy that they are a 25 minute drive away because that might be the best potato chip I have ever eaten. 

Back to the Riesling Apples.
One of my favourite apple recipes is my Brown Butter Ricotta Pancakes with Cardamom Apples so I decided to let that inspire me (by the way, the riesling apples would be fabulous with the brown butter ricotta pancakes but that is for another day). All I knew, after tasting the apples, was that I wanted to keep the brown butter ricotta and I would skip the cardamom since the apples are already perfectly spiced with lots of cinnamon and brown sugar and after that, it was wide open. I plan on making a trifle with the other jar so be on the lookout for that. To be honest, these apples would be great on a bowl of greek yogurt, in a crepe or straight out of the jar with a big spoon.

This napoleon is what I ended up with and I hope you like it as much as we did. The puff pastry can be made the day before and kept fresh in an air tight container, the ricotta can be made the day ahead as well so you can throw these show stoppers together at the very last minute and nobody will ever know that you didn't spend hours in the kitchen, slaving over a hot stove with a bad case of rolling pin elbow.

You have three options for serving and your choice will depend on three things:

How far do you want to stretch the dessert
How easy to you want it to be to actually eat?
How much wow factor are you going for?
for the easiest dessert that will serve a crowd, smear a layer of ricotta and top with apple, dust with icing sugar and they can be eaten out of hand

two pieces of puff pastry sandwiching one layer of ricotta and apples is easier to eat than the three layer version and is pretty but not a total showstopper like number 3 down there

the triple decker will get you the biggest wow factor but it is a delicious hot mess to eat so if you do choose this version, you have to serve it with a knife and fork and I might go for a shallow bowl instead of a dessert plate. I'm just saying.

McEwan, 38 Karl Fraser Road, Toronto, Ontario 416 444-6262

Riesling Apple Brown Butter Ricotta Napoleons

baking the puff pastry between two baking sheets is a great way to keep the pastry from puffing up and it comes out nice and flat, like a buttery, layered cracker

2 sheets puff pastry, thawed and rolled out thinly to about 10" x 15"

Ricotta Cream:
475g container smooth ricotta
2 tbls honey
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tbls brown butter

1 jar McEwan Riesling Apples

powdered sugar

You will need two baking sheets, one slightly larger than the other.

Thaw according to the directions on the package and roll out your puff pastry on a floured surface. Cut it into squares or rectangles, depending on how big you want your napoleons to be.

Lay the rectangles on the larger baking sheet that you have lined with parchment, prick the pastry all over with a fork and put it back in the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes.

Take it out of the fridge, cover with another sheet of parchment and put the second baking sheet on top of it to weigh the pastry down and prevent it from puffing up. Bake it for about 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through, remove from the oven and transfer the pieces to a rack to cool completely.

Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry.

*to make the brown butter, melt the butter in a small sauce pan until it foams and starts to turn a nice, golden brown. Remove from heat and scrape the melted browned butter into a bowl and cool to room temperature.

For the ricotta cream, put the ricotta, honey, powdered sugar and brown butter in a food processor and whiz until nice and creamy and then set aside.

To assemble:

lay one piece of puff pastry down on a small serving plate. Add a couple of tablespoons of ricotta cream and then cover that with a couple of tablespoons of the riesling apple compote.

You can serve them just like this with a dusting of powdered sugar and let people pick it up and eat it out of hand.

For a more elegant dessert, add a second piece of puff pastry and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

For the whole shebang,  add a second layer of ricotta and apples and top the whole thing with a third piece of puff pastry. Using a fine strainer, sieve some powdered sugar over the top and serve.

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