This classic Fresh pastry get’s a holiday makeover with dried fruit and nuts with a drizzle of honey baked between each flaky layer!
It is part of the human condition to seek certainty, and from this certainty to gain a measure of predictable order and safety. However, the only thing ‘certain’ is a constant and inexorable march forward, pushed ever onward by the invisible force that governs our existence as a passive tyrant – time.
Of this journey, all that we may, truly, carry with us is an increasingly imperfect record, a record fogged by our human perception, nostalgia, and bias – our memory. Memories, in that regard, are like ghosts, haunting their place of origin, lurking just out of sight, but reminding us of their presence once we trespass within their domain. An aroma, a familiar song, a bit of old silverware, and like echoes from the depths of one’s heart, the memories emerge, ageless silhouettes entombed within the minds of the living. Yet, memories are elusive things, and even in this form life is fleeting. Like scorned lovers, if we ignore them, they will depart, and be forgotten.
Since it is season for purposeful ‘memory-making,’ I decided to reach back to some of my own most treasured memories for inspiration in preparing my menu for yet another round of holiday meals. Since so many of them involve gatherings at long dinner tables, and festivities where endless food and drink were the main attractions, this was a natural place to start for me.
I’ve written about a lot of the big favorites from my home such as the grain cakes and the baklava, and even about a few small after dinner details such as my grandfather and his penchant for fresh sliced peaches in wine. However, apart from all of that, like the most delicate brush strokes of a painting, or the finer edges of a sculpture, it’s the smaller details that help accentuate a memory – and this recipe is one such detail – Pain au Chocolat. Aside from being a fixture on our holiday dessert tables, it’s also a great wintry sweet for ‘just because.’ While I know I should be recommending these for after dinner, I must admit to indulging a few of them for breakfast with black coffee (gasp!).
Now, before I get to the recipe itself, I want to pass along a small bit of advice I happened across a long time ago for when it comes to dealing with puff pastry desserts – and I paraphrase – “The pastry shell itself should be delicious enough to be eaten on its own. If in eating the pastry you’re thinking about getting past the shell to the ‘good stuff,’ you’ve failed.” To accomplish this, I value consistent quality above all else, and so I use Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry.
To start, I prepare the puff pastry sheets as shown and outlined below. After that, I proceed to chop up the dried fruit – I prefer dried cherries and apricots, since I find these be supremely apropos seasonal flavors, though you could easily use your own favorites as well. To compliment this, I then chop up some walnuts and dark chocolate. Once that’s done, line the pastry with the walnuts and the dried fruit, and fill one end of the pastry with the dark chocolate as shown and described below. Then gently roll the pastries up as show below, and bake.
By the end of this process, you should have a puff pastry dessert that’s not only delicious, but that will make a picturesque addition to your holiday dessert table. Or, if you are so inclined, a decadent indulgence for ‘just because.’
For more puff pastry recipes, head over to Pepperidge Farm®, and be sure to sign up for their newsletter for tips and exclusive monthly offers.
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Enjoy with Love!