When we decided to tackle the Ocean’s Trilogy, one thing we all agreed on right from the start was that Ocean’s Twelve, for lack of a better word, sucked. The story line was convoluted, while the pace, in comparison to the Ocean’s Eleven and Thirteen, laborious. The big heist this time, payback for stealing the 160 million from Terry Benedict, seemed more like plot device to get the Ocean’s gang across the Atlantic–their trek through Europe feeling like a misguided road trip in which they keep picking up more characters that simply drag on the narrative.
One bright spot, however, is the dashing Baron Francois Toulour, played by the charming Vincent Cassel, whom we all agreed stole the show with his memorable balletic “laser dance.”
His “Night Fox” is confident, sexy, and wickedly intelligent, a worthy opponent to Danny Ocean. Since he’s the only “new” character we actually liked in this second installment of the trilogy–and he does reappear in Ocean’s Thirteen–I decided to create a pastry that salutes this most appealing of jewel thieves. Frenchy’s Gianduja Twists is puff pastry, layered with a decadent homemade bittersweet chocolate and hazelnut spread, cut into strips, crusted with raw sugar and twisted. Once baked to a crispy golden brown, it resembles the arabesque lines of The Night Fox’s laser dance, sinfully dark and delicious layers of gianduja revealing itself as you untwist the pastry. Savor it with a rich foamy cappuccino!
Frenchy’s Gianduja Twists
Yield: about 12 Twists
1 package Frozen Puff Pastry, thawed (in refrigerator)
1/4 cup Hazelnut Butter
1/2 cup Bittersweet Ganache*
1/4 cup Raw Turbinado Sugar
1 Egg (beaten with 1 Tbsp. water)
*see ganache recipe in last week’s Ocean’s Eleven post, omitting the spices
Using a sharp chef’s knife, cut each sheet of puff pastry into 3 strips along the fold lines (careful to use a straight up and down motion rather than a sawing motion). Mix together the hazelnut butter and ganache to form the gianduja filling. Spread a layer of the filling onto four of the six puff strips. Sandwich one plain puff strip in between two coated with gianduja. Cut each sandwiched strip into 3 narrow strips, then each narrow strip in half. Brush each side with egg wash and sprinkle liberally with raw sugar. Gently pull and stretch each strip at the ends, then twist each end in opposite directions, 4-5 times. Press the ends of each strip into the parchment-lined sheet pan to secure the twist. Bake the puff twists in a 425°F oven for 15-18 mins. or until they are golden brown.