When visiting my hometown of Santa Barbara, CA, earlier this year, I had the pleasure of making a delicious signature dessert with Liz Downey in the Downey's restaurant kitchen. Located on State Street, Santa Barbara's main thoroughhfare, Downey's has been an institution since it opened it's doors in 1982. Using locally sourced ingredients and only the freshest produce available, Downey's is taking full advantage of one of the best growing regions in the world. As a loyal member of the Santa Barbara community, it's always been a source of confusion to me as to why the majority of restaurants in the area do not cook using all the incredible products from the local farms and producers. Only a handful of them do, and Downey's is at the top of the list.
WHITE CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY MILLE-FEUILLES
This rich white chocolate and raspberry dessert, developed by pastry chef Jeff Hausz is a favorite at Downey’s Restaurant. What makes it so distinctive is the method of baking the puff pastry circles under weight so the stay thin but retain their fluffy layers - John Downey, head chef
61/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 lb top quality white chocolate chopped
3 cups (12 ounces) fresh raspberries plus a few for garnish
Quick Puff Pastry:
4 cups all purpose sifted flour
1 T salt
6 1/2 sticks ( 3 1/4 cups) of european style (like Plugra brand) butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup of chilled water
1 cup of chilled water
Sifted powdered sugar for dusting.
pastry bag with flat tip
2x 18 x 26 inch large baking sheets
9 inch round cake pan (for pastry cutting guide)
In medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups of the cream to a boil and turn off the heat. Add the white chocolate and let it sit until the chocolate is melted, then stir until blended. Cover and refrigerate until firm and cold, at least overnight.
If making homemade Puff Pastry, please refer to the bottom of this post for the recipe, otherwise you may use your favorite high quality store bought puff pastry (make sure it's made with real butter!).
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cut the puff pastry in half and roll each half out to 1/8 inch thickness. Roll each piece of dough roughly into a 12 inch circle. Cut 2 rectangles of baking parchment to cover an 18x26 inch baking sheet. Line the baking sheet with one piece of paper and place the pastry circles about 1 inch apart on the lined pan. Place the second piece of paper on top of the pastry and a second baking sheet on top of that. Place tiles, bricks, or heavy cookware on top to hold the sheets together. Bake in the preheated oven until golden about 10 minutes. The pastry circles will bake up very thin, but will still produce many flaky layers. Let cool completely.
Place a 9 inch round cake pan on one circle and cut around it with a sharp paring knife to trim the circle. Repeat with the second circle; wrap each securely in plastic wrap. (The pastry also may be frozen, before trimming, for several weeks. Thaw in the refrigerator, and heat in a 300 F oven for 5 minutes, let cool completely before proceeding.)
TO ASSEMBLE: No more than 3 hours before serving (to prevent the pastry from becoming soggy), stir the remaining 3 cups of the whipping cream with the chocolate mixture until well blended. Whip until stiff peaks form. If you do not have a electric mixer, you can do this by hand with a whisk. You will have about 9 cups for the filling. Transfer some of the filling to a pastry bag with a plain tip.
Pipe a single layer of the chocolate mixture on one pastry circle, leaving a 1 inch margin around the outside of the circle. In this space, pipe a 2 inch high wall of white chocolate. Place raspberries on the outside of the wall, pressing, tightly so they will adhere to the wall. Cover the wall neatly and completely. Spread the remaining berries on top of the pastry inside the wall. Cover the berries with the rest of the white chocolate mixture, smoothing the top. Place the second pastry circle on top and press down gently with a cake pan to adhere the two parts; stop when the sides bulge just slightly. Refrigerate for 2 hours before service.
When ready to serve, dust the top generously with powdered sugar and garnish with a few additional raspberries. Cut into wedges with a serrated bread knife.
Don't be alarmed at Liz's large portions and restaurant grade mixer, this recipe is in fact scaled down for you !
1. Sift together the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment.
2. Add chilled, diced butter and pulse three to five times, until the butter pieces are about the size of lima beans. Add water to the mixture and pulse again about three times. Invert the crumbly mass onto a lightly floured work surface.
3. Using a rolling pin and bench scraper, shape the mass into a long rectangle. Use the bench scraper and carefully flip one third of the rectangle toward the center. Then, flip the other end to the center, like folding a business letter. Rotate the dough 90 degrees.
4. Reshape and roll the dough into a rectangle. Repeat the folding and rotating process three more times for a total of four turns. If the dough becomes soft or sticky during this process, immediately refrigerate until firm.
5. After four turns, wrap the dough in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough at least 45 minutes or until firm.
6. After the dough has been refrigerated for 45 minutes, unwrap it and discard the plastic. Keep your work surface and rolling pin well floured. Press down on each of the four sides of dough to seal its shape.
7. Start with the rolling pin at the center. Roll away from you. Return to the center and roll toward you. Repeat the folding and rotating process of the dough two more times.
8. Wrap the finished dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate to make sure it is well-chilled before baking. Quick Puff Pastry keeps refrigerated up to three days or frozen for several months.
*The white chocolate should be top quality, made from cocoa better, do not use white coating chocolate or any product that lists palm oil.
|Downey's features Liz's beautiful plein air paintings of local landscapes, like this one of the Santa Barbara coastline|
1305 State St.
Santa Barbara, CA
t: (805) 966-5006
Recipe courtesy of Downey's Restaurant, however we adjusted their Puff Pastry recipe for scale