There's nothing better to eat on Mardi Gras than these Pastry Crowns filled with Cheesecake Mousse and Glazed Banana Bits! Have a chance to show off your baking skills and impress everyone with the flavor of these delicious sweets!
Giving up sweets during Lent was a pretty standard practice in my family when I was young, so on Fat Tuesday I always made sure to fill my belly with indulgent desserts, knowing how much I'd miss them for the forty days that would follow.
I completely get why revelers take to the streets of New Orleans for one last hurrah the day before Lent fully aware of their upcoming time of self-denial.
I think everyone deserves to indulge in a tempting dessert any day of the year, but particularly on Fat Tuesday, so I created these little crown-shaped pastries to satisfy your desire for pie (the crust), cheesecake (the filling), and even bananas foster (the topping).
Pastry Crowns filled with Cheesecake Mousse and topped with Glazed Banana Bits
Ingredients: Makes 24
1 box Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crusts, thawed according to package instructions
egg wash (1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water)
optional: dragees (5MM Yellow Gold Edible Pearls or Multi-coloured - 4 mm dragees)
2 cups heavy cream, divided
3 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus ⅓ cup
pinch table salt
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
Glazed Banana Bits:
¼ cup unsalted butter (½ stick), sliced into ½" pats
½ cup light brown sugar
3 bananas, peeled and cut into ¼" pieces
¼ cup banana rum or dark rum
Special equipment needed:
knife and/or pizza cutter
pastry brush or small food safe paint brush (only been used for food)
mini muffin tins (you can use 12 cavity or 24 cavity muffin tins)
hand held electric mixer
Lay pie dough on a cutting board. Cut 12 - 1 ¼" x 6" strips out of each sheet of dough, re-rolling dough as needed.
Cut triangles out of the top edge of the pie dough. I made several different styles of crowns by changing how I cut the triangles.
Optional decorations: To add rounded tips on your crown: use a #10 pastry tip to cut small circles out of the dough. Press the smaller end of the pastry tip into the dough, turn the tip over, and tap on the cutting board.
Your dough circle will fall out. Brush the back of the circle with egg wash and press onto the tip of the crown.
To add gold decorations: brush a small amount of egg wash on one side of a dragee and press, egg wash side down, onto the pastry.
Brush egg wash on one edge of a crown.
Optional: For a more glossy-looking crown brush the entire outside of each crown with egg wash.
Form the crown by setting the flat edge of the dough on a work surface, wrap the dough around so the two ends overlap by ⅛"-¼", and press the edges together. Allow egg wash to dry. Turn a mini muffin tin upside down.
Set the crowns over muffin cups leaving open spaces in the tin so that the pie dough has room to rise. Note: If your egg wash isn't dry enough your crowns will stick to the muffin tin. I put 6 crowns on each 12-cavity muffin tin.
Freeze crowns for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bake crowns for 4-6 minutes until golden brown. Keep a close eye on the crowns as the tips will brown quickly. Allow to cool completely on tins before removing.
You may need to use a small thin knife to help release the crowns from the pan. I put the knife below the seam on my crowns and gently pressed inwards and upwards. The crowns came right off the pan. If you've added dragees, don't pick up the crowns touching the dragees or they may fall off.
If you don't have enough muffin tins to accommodate all 24 crowns, allow the tins to cool before adding more crowns. You can store your crowns in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Combine ½ cup heavy whipping cream, 3 tablespoons sugar, and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan.
Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally to ensure all the sugar dissolves.
Continue to heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat.
Stir in an additional ½ cup of cold heavy whipping cream.
Place 3 egg yolks in a mixing bowl and lightly whisk.
Slowly drizzle in the warm cream while continually whisking the egg yolks.
Note: If you add too much too quickly, you will scramble your eggs, so go slowly at first.
Pour back into saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until custard thickens and reaches 170-175 degrees. You will know your custard is ready when it coats the back of a wooden spoon.
Stir in vanilla extract.
Set at room temperature for 15 minutes then transfer to the freezer for 15 minutes to cool (or you can fill a large bowl with ice water and set the custard bowl in it, stirring the custard until it cools.)
Use an electric hand-held mixer to beat 8 ounces of cream cheese and ⅓ cup sugar together.
Strain the custard through a fine mesh strainer into the bowl of cream cheese.
Beat the custard and cream cheese until light and fluffy.
Whisk or beat with an electric mixer the remaining 1 cup of heavy whipping cream to stiff peaks. Fold whipped cream into the custard mixture.
Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 5 days.
Place butter in a 12" skillet and heat over medium low heat until melted. Add brown sugar and continually whisk until sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Add bananas and banana rum. Cook until bananas begin to caramelize and soften. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Note: If you would like to flambé your bananas, add the bananas and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then remove the pan from heat. Add rum and swirl it around the pan for 5 seconds to warm it slightly. Light a long match and hover the match over the pan to ignite the rum.
Allow the flame to completely die out, then stir bananas and allow to cool slightly.
To serve: Set one, two, or three crowns on a dessert plate. Spoon 2 tablespoons of cheesecake mousse into each crown. (I filled a disposable pastry bag with the mousse and piped it into the crowns.) Top with about a tablespoonful of glazed banana bits. Serve.