Shavuot is one of those culinary centric holidays where everyone is trying to outdo everyone else with crazy over the top dairy recipes and anyone who is lactose intolerant gives a heavy sigh and reaches for Lactaid.
I find that a pasta or fish entrée is usually the best way to whet the appetite for the show stopping desserts. In fact, in my house, we’ve been known to eat dessert for the main course. That being the premise for this article I present, in no particular order, dessert lasagnas or strata’s (if you prefer that title). All these recipes are decadent, all are delicious and every single one is guaranteed to become you newest family favorite
16 ounces mascarpone cheese
7 sheets of puff pastry
8 egg yolks, separated
24 ounces Nutella
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons water
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
In a bowl mix 3 egg yolks and 3 tablespoons of water and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer cream together the mascarpone cheese, 5 egg yolks, and powdered sugar. Mix until combined (about 2 minutes) and set the mixture aside.
Brush the outside edges (about ½ inch) of the puff pastry sheets with the egg wash (about ½ inch all the way around).Take a scoop of Nutella and spread it on the puff pastry (keep it away from the edges). Gently place another piece of puff pastry on top, lining up the edges. Brush the egg wash around the edges of the puff pastry. Take a scoop of mascarpone mixture and spread evenly over the top of the pastry sheet, staying away from edges. Repeat, alternating mascarpone, and Nutella, until the top layer is just the puff pastry.
Press the edges together to make sure that the filling between the layers is sealed all the way around and that there is no leaking. Brush the top with egg wash, sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts over the top and bake 25 to 35 minutes until the pastry has puffed and turned golden brown. Serves 8 to 10.
Serve hot and dust with powdered sugar.
Adapted from and modified from ‘Joanne Trattoria Cookbook: Classic Recipes and Scenes from an Italian-American Restaurant’ by Joe Germanotta.
STRAWBERRY CREAM LASAGNA
2 pounds fresh strawberries, washed and patted dry
3 1/2 cups whipping cream, divided
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips
24 to 28 whole graham crackers
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 ounces milk or dark chocolate
Set aside 6 or 8 strawberries. Hull and slice the rest.
Whip 3 1/2 cups of cream until it just holds stiff peaks. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and whip to stiff peaks.
Spread a small spoonful of whipped cream on the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking pan or on a serving platter. Place 6 graham crackers in the pan or on the platter. Lightly cover the graham crackers with whipped cream, sprinkle some chocolate chips on top of the whipped cream and then place a single layer of sliced strawberries on top. Repeat 3 times, until you have 4 layers. Spread the last of the whipped cream over the top and swirl it lightly with a spoon.
Put In a sauce pan heat the 1/4 cup cream to a simmer, then pour the cream over the chopped chocolate. Let it stand for a few minutes, then mix until the mixture is thick and glossy. Drizzle this chocolate mixture over the top and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or until the crackers have softened completely. Garnish with additional berries. Serves 8 to 10
FAB FRUIT LASAGNA
9 lasagna noodles, cooked, drained and patted dry
1 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 cup flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 pinch ground cloves
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup sliced strawberries
1/2 cup raspberries
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup blackberries
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9X9 pan with butter. Lay 3 cooked lasagna noodles in the bottom of the pan.
In a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, mascarpone cheeses, sugar, and egg, and beat until almost smooth, set aside. In another bowl combine the sliced strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries and try not to mash the raspberries.
In another bowl combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and melted butter. Mix to combine.
Top the layer of lasagna noodles with one-third of the berry mixture followed by one-third of the flour mixture and one third of the cheese mixture. Repeat, adding two more layers of all three components.
Bake for 45 minutes in an oven until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Remove, cool for 10–15 minutes, and then serve with vanilla ice cream. Serves 8.
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.