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Strawberry napoleons with creme fraiche and almond tuiles

Strawberry napoleons with creme fraiche and almond tuiles
Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times

It's hard to imagine French home cooking without a dollop of creme fraiche, that silky, subtly tart cultured cream that has a way of making food taste better. In France, just about every home cook keeps it handy to enrich ... Read more

Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes | Serves 6

Toasted almond tuiles

  • 5 ounces sliced almonds, toasted (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2/3 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup flour, sifted

Step 1Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Step 2In a food processor, grind the almonds and one-third cup sugar until it is a coarse consistency, about 18 pulses.

Step 3In an electric mixer, cream the butter with one-third cup sugar for 1 minute, until well incorporated. Add salt, cream and ground almond mixture. Mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Step 4Add the egg whites and mix well. Add the flour and mix until incorporated.

Step 5Make a template by tracing a 3-inch round cookie cutter onto a thin piece of cardboard. Cut out the circle and trim the template to within 1 inch around the hole in the cardboard.

Step 6Place the template on a Silpat-lined half-sheet baking pan. Spoon 1 rounded teaspoon of batter into the template. Using an offset spatula, smooth the batter as evenly as possible in the template, trying not to leave any holes in the batter. Space the tuiles several inches apart.

Step 7Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, rotating after 3 minutes, until the tuiles are dark golden brown around the edges and golden in the center. They will not brown evenly. Watch carefully during the final minute because they burn easily. Let cool completely on the Silpat, then gently lift the cookies off the baking sheet.

Fresh raspberry sauce

  • 1 pint (about 1 1/2 cups) fresh raspberries
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar

Step 1In a blender, puree the raspberries with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Taste for sweetness, adding more sugar if needed. The sauce should be tart, not overly sweet. Strain to remove the seeds. Store the puree in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Napoleons assembly

  • 2 cups strawberries, sliced 1/4 -inch thick
  • 1/4 teaspoon plus 1 generous pinch lemon zest
  • 6 teaspoons sugar, divided
  • 1 cup halved strawberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup homemade creme fraiche, chilled (see related recipe)
  • 1 recipe fresh raspberry sauce
  • 18 toasted almond tuiles
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted

Step 1In a small bowl, toss the sliced strawberries with one-fourth teaspoon lemon zest and 2 teaspoons of sugar.

Step 2In another bowl, toss the halved strawberries and the raspberries with a generous pinch of lemon zest, lemon juice and 2 teaspoons of sugar.

Step 3Whip the creme fraiche with 2 teaspoons of sugar to soft peaks. If your creme fraiche is too thick or does not whip well, add one-fourth cup of heavy whipping cream and whip again.

Step 4Use a large spoon to draw a wide circle of raspberry sauce on each plate, using about 1 tablespoon of sauce per plate.

Step 5Place a drop of raspberry sauce in the center of each plate to anchor the dessert. Top with a tuile. Place a single layer of strawberry slices on the tuile (4 to 5 slices). Top with 1 tablespoon of creme fraiche and another tuile. Repeat the strawberry and creme fraiche layer. Top with a third tuile. Garnish with a small dollop of creme fraiche and a sprinkle of toasted almonds.

Step 6Place one-fourth cup of the halved strawberries and the raspberries to the side of each napoleon.

Note: The recipe for tuiles makes 42 cookies -- more than you will need for the napoleons. You can make the batter a day ahead, refrigerate and bring to room temperature before baking.


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