Trip to Pepperidge Farm and Chocolate Puff Pastry Bites
These puff pastry bites will make your taste buds SING – with delicous chocolate, lime, Greek yogurt, chili pepper, and a special sugared lime for the garnish.
A few weeks ago I was a participate in the first ever blogging event at the Pepperidge Farm headquarters in Connecticut. To put it in a nutshell, a group of us bloggers toured the facility, met with their fabulous staff, ate a beautiful lunch, and then had a Puff Pastry recipe contest where we were judged, hoping to become the “Puff Queens for a Day.” More on that in a bit …
An exciting day was planned that included a peek – and a taste – of the latest Pepperidge Farm products (2 of my favorites above), and a talk from their chefs on top culinary trends for this year. (Below, Rebecca, Foodie with Family, Lori, RecipeGirl, and me, outside the headquarters).
It all started with Margaret Rudkin, a Connecticut housewife and mother of three young children, who discovered one of her sons had an allergy to commercial breads that contained preservatives and artificial ingredients. So in 1937, she began experimenting with baking her own preservative-free bread for her ailing son — ultimately perfecting a delicious whole-wheat loaf that contained only natural ingredients.
Encouraged by her family and her son’s doctor, she begins a small business out of her kitchen selling her “Pepperidge Farm” bread to local grocers. The rest is history, and we got to partake in a really fun day using Margaret’s delicious invention that so many cooks and entertainers use these days for hosting parties, and every day meals.
For the “Puff-spiration Challenge,” my guest, Rebecca, Foodie with Family, and I were asked to prepare one sweet and one savory recipe using a Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry product. We were also asked to incorporate the foods and flavors that would make their chefs’ (and judges’) palettes and taste buds sing!
2 food trends we followed:
Brazilian Cuisine: From flavorful seafood stews and grilling techniques to the Amazonian acai berry and sweet coconut milk, the culture and cuisine of Brazil is in the culinary spotlight. Our chefs are also inspired by the blend of native, Portuguese and African culinary influences reflected in ingredients like manioc/yuca root, the country’s staple starch, that’s also used as an ingredient in dishes around the world.
Yogurt: Yogurt has long been a dairy staple, enjoyed often as part of breakfast or dessert. But following the rise in popularity of “Greek yogurt” in North America , we’re now seeing tangy, strained yogurt as an ingredient in non-spoonable applications like condiments, sauces, dips, snacks and baked goods. Mediterranean and Indian influences like creamy Greek tzatziki and Indian raita sauces are also gaining in popularity, and even fine dining interpretations feature house-made yogurt in entrées.
Rebecca and I came up with one sweet recipe (below) using the cups, and one savory recipe using the shells (Carnival Black Bean and Shrimp Puff Pastry Cups on Rebecca’s blog). Because we’re both about “easy entertaining,” we wanted our recipes to be simple and easy for any cook to whip up for a party!
Chocolate, lime, yogurt.
I chose the Chocolate Puff Pastry Bites, using Greek yogurt and Nutella, and a little red chili powder, lime, and raspberries. Oh, with a little sugared lime for the garnish.
For the lime, just bring about three quarters of a cup of sugar and one quarter of a cup of water to a boil, stirring just until the sugar is dissolved. Boil hard for two minutes. After two minutes, add the thinly sliced lime zest and stir. Boil the lime zest just until fragrant, about one minute. Use a fork to transfer the lime zest to a bowl of granulated sugar, and toss quickly. Let cool slightly before separating.
Here’s me with Rebecca, Foodie with Family, and Cheri, Adventures in the Kitchen, who joined our team, whipping up some delicious foods, keeping our fingers crossed that we would win!
When we were finished with our cooking, the Pepperidge Farm team judged our recipes, and they loved them all. But the crowning winners were Lori and Erin (Lori’s partner) – the “Puff Queens for a Day!” Fun! Here’s the recipe to the Raspberry -Mango Dessert Bruschetta. So yummy!
It was a treat to be the first bloggers to tour their facility, and to meet the staff, and to be able to stay in the city for a few nights (NYC). Oh, and did I tell you how wonderful this place smelled? The scent was … well, I’ll just say the entire time there, it smelled like a fine bakery. Delicious.
What’s your favorite Puff Pastry product to cook with? The sheets, cups, or shells?
Chocolate Puff Pastry Bites with Candied Lime
- 1 pkg. 9.5 ounces Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Cups, prepared according to package directions
- 2/3 cup Nutella
- 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/4 tsp. red chili pepper
- 1 cup raspberries
- 2 lime
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- Prepare the cups according to the package directions.
- Whisk together the Nutella and Greek yogurt. Add the chili pepper and juice from 1 lime; mix together.
- Spoon 1 tablespoon of chocolate mixture into each pastry shell.
- Zest strips of lime from 1 lime. Set aside.
- Bring 3/4 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water to a boil, stirring just until the sugar is dissolved. Boil hard for two minutes. After two minutes, add the thinly sliced lime zest and stir. Boil the lime zest just until fragrant, about one minute. Use a fork to transfer the lime zest to a bowl of granulated sugar, and toss quickly. Let cool slightly before separating.
- Top each cup with 1 raspberry, and then 1-2 pieces of the dried lime zest.
My trip was paid for by the generous folks at Pepperidge Farm, but as always, all opinions are my own.