Delight Your Summer Guests with a Pair of Desserts Inspired by State Fair Favorites – Elephant Ears and Cream Puffs

With the OC Fair in full swing we are heading back in time to where it all started at the Chicago Fair. Ask Chicagoans about their favorite state fair memory, and you’ll find a lot of suggestions: games on the midway, Ferris wheel rides, 4-H competitions and winning a new pet goldfish. And almost always, memories of food will be included, grilled buttered corn on the cob, tart fresh squeezed lemonade and the smell of fried dough.

Conjure summer memories at your next get-together with these colorful desserts inspired by two state fair favorites: elephant ears and cream puffs. This layered trifle makes a perfect summer treat, when paired with a delicate elephant ear. The rich velvety filling, flavored with Nielsen-Massey Vanillas’ Pure Vanilla Extract, is a creamy companion to the crunchy, vanilla sugar elephant ear.

Select a deep, clear glass bowl for serving the trifle – you’ll want your guests to admire the colorful layers. Start this dessert early: the elephant ears require at least 30 minutes of chilling in the refrigerator before baking.

State Fair Trifle with Elephant Ears

1 batch Elephant Ears (recipe below)
31/4 cups Vanilla Pastry Cream filling (recipe below)

1 pint raspberries, cleaned
2 ripe mangos, peeled and cut into approximately 1 inch pieces
4 peeled and sliced kiwis
2 pints blueberries, cleaned
1. In a clear glass bowl, place 1/2 cup of pastry cream, spreading evenly.
2. Spread all of the blueberries over the pastry cream.
3. Add ½ cup of vanilla cream pastry filling, spread evenly.
4. Spread the mango on top of the pastry cream.
5. Add ½ cup of vanilla cream pastry filling, spread evenly.
6. Spread the sliced kiwi on top of the pastry cream.
7. Add ½ cup of vanilla cream pastry filling, spread evenly.
8. Top the final layer of pastry cream with the raspberries.
9. Garnish with the last of the pastry cream.
10. Serve with elephant ears on the side.

Elephant Ears

2 cups Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar
1 box of pre made puff pastry, thawed
Parchment Paper or a Silpat baking mat

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of sugar over your workstation. Roll out the puff pastry to about 10X12 inches. Sprinkle another 1/4 cup of sugar (and spices if using) over the dough.
2. Roll up the left vertical side inward, stopping in the middle of the dough. Roll up the right side of the dough. The two rolls should be meeting at the middle and touching. Press the two sides together gently and let the dough chill in the fridge for at least half an hour. Repeat with any more puff pastry you may have.
3. Starting at one end, cut off pieces of the log, in slices about 1/2 inch in thickness. Lightly sprinkle sugar onto each side. Pinch and press the sides of the two rolls together to ensure that they don't unroll during baking. Place on large parchment lined baking sheets. They will increase size dramatically, so leave plenty of room between each cookie and only bake a dozen at a time.
4. Set the tray in the middle of the oven. Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until the sugar has caramelized. Allow them to cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy.

Vanilla Pastry Cream

1 1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
6 egg yolks
2 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
5 tablespoons cornstarch
3 cups whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons, butter, softened

1. Whisk 1 1/3 cup sugar, the egg, egg yolks, vanilla extract and cornstarch in a bowl.
Cook the milk and 2/3 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat until foam rises, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat.
2. Temper the eggs with the hot milk mixture, stirring after each addition of the hot milk mixture. Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan. Cook over low heat until the pastry cream reaches 160 degrees and becomes thick, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter.
3. Spread over parchment paper to cool. Makes about 3 1/4 cups.

About Nielsen-Massey Vanillas
The full line of Nielsen-Massey’s Pure Vanilla products include: Vanilla Beans and Extracts from Madagascar, Tahiti and Mexico; sugar and alcohol-free Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Powder; Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste; Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar, Organic Fairtrade Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract and Organic Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Beans.

Please visit Nielsen-Massey Vanillas for the full product line. 

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