I actually started this recipe yesterday and finished it today. One of the baking tips is to make the crust a day ahead of time then crisp in the oven before filling. I had to interupt the preparation of this dish to drive an hour to pick up an emu. You can read about that HERE.
Sunset calls this dish a cross between a cream puff and a cheesecake. While we loved the filling and strawberry sauce the crust was problematic, mostly my fault.
The crust truly has the consistency and smell of a cream buff batter. I had a series of mishaps that made the crust unsuccessful. First, In my rush to get it in and out of the oven and pick up my emu, I failed to allow the cooling period before adding the eggs. Secondly, I used my own farm fresh, free range chicken eggs which have a ridiculously dark, rich, orange yolk.
This made the batter a bright, sunny yellow and gave it a distinctive “eggy” taste, despite my omitting one of the egg yolks. The recipe calls for three eggs. If I were to make this again, I would use anemic, store bought eggs, or omit the yolks in two of my fresh eggs.
Thirdly, I left the crust sitting in the pan while I drove to pick up the emu chick which resulted in a soggy bottom crust. Even re-heating in a hot oven today didn’t resolve that issue.
I don’t think this recipe got the attention it deserves but, soggy, eggy crust or not, rest assured I will be digging the filling and strawberrries out with a big ole’ spoon before night falls.
Notes: You can make the strawberry sauce up to 1 day ahead; cover and chill. The puff pastry crust can be made (steps 1 through 4) up to 1 day ahead; store airtight at room temperature. If it loses its crispness, bake, uncovered, in a 400° oven 15 to 20 minutes, then cool. You can make the filling (step 5) and slice the berries up to 2 hours ahead. Fill crust just before serving. PREP AND COOK TIME: About 1 hour.
Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings
- 5 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 large eggs
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup whipping cream
- About 2/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 cups sliced strawberries (12 oz.)
1. In a 2- to 3-quart pan, combine 2/3 cup water, butter, and granulated sugar; bring to a boil over high heat. Add flour all at once and stir quickly until mixture pulls away from pan sides and clumps together. Remove from heat and stir until flour is incorporated and mixture is smooth. Let cool about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. One at a time, add eggs to warm butter mixture in pan, beating with a wooden spoon after each addition until dough is smooth and satiny. (Or scrape warm butter mixture into a bowl, add eggs one at a time, and beat with an electric mixer on high speed after each addition just until smooth; do not overbeat.)
3. Spoon dough into a buttered 9-inch cheesecake pan with removeable rim; spread evenly over bottom and about 1 inch up sides.
4. Bake in a 400° oven until puffed and golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Prick pastry crust with a toothpick in about 12 places, then return to oven and bake until golden brown, dry, and crisp, 5 to 15 minutes longer. Transfer pan to a rack and let cool completely. Run a knife around pan sides to release pastry, then remove pan rim.
5. In a bowl, with an electric mixer on high speed, beat cream cheese, orange peel, and vanilla until smooth. Add whipping cream and 2/3 cup powdered sugar; beat on low speed until blended, then on high speed just until mixture forms stiff peaks (do not overbeat).
6. Spoon filling into puff shell. Scatter sliced strawberries over filling. Sift about 1 tablespoon powdered sugar over the top. Cut into wedges and serve with Strawberry Sauce to spoon over individual servings.
Strawberry Sauce Recipe:
Yield: Makes about 1 cup (serving size: 2 tablespoons)
- 1 1/2 cups strawberries (about 10 0z.)
- 2-3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur (optional)
Rinse and stem strawberries. In a blender, whirl berries until smooth. Blend in sugar to taste and orange-flavored liqueur (optional).