Running from the Law: Napoleons

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Well, I finally got a chance to make classic French Napoleons.  Um...YUM.  They were really good.  However, they did not look pretty (at least not like that grogeous picture above).  And I'm pretty sure my pastry cream was way too runny.  But damn, they were really fabulous.  Light and flaky and sweet with a hint of raspberry fruitiness.  Two thumbs up in my book.

For Puff Pastry:
- 1 sheet puff pastry

For Cream Filling:
- 1/4 cup granulated or superfine sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup half and half or light cream
- 2 slightly beaten egg yolks
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup whipping cream

For Glaze:
- 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2-3 tablespoons boiling water

Fruit Preserve or Jam Filling: (optional):
- 1/3 cup seedless raspberry or strawberry jam or preserves

Chocolate Drizzle Topping:
- 1 1/2 tablespoons melted semisweet chocolate


For Puff Pastry:
1.  Preheat oven to 425°F/220°C. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or plain brown paper; set aside.

2.  Cut puff pastry into a 9-inch square. Then cut pastry into nine 3-inch squares. Transfer pastry squares to the prepared baking sheets; prick pastry. Bake in a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden. (Or bake according to package directions.) Carefully remove pastries from baking sheet. Cool on a rack.

For Cream Filling:
1. In a heavy, medium saucepan stir together sugar, flour, and salt. Slowly stir in half-and-half or light cream. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 minute more.

2.  Slowly stir about half of the hot mixture into beaten egg yolks. Return all to saucepan. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla.

3.  Transfer mixture to a bowl. Cover surface with plastic wrap and cool just until warm without stirring. In a small mixing bowl beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. Fold whipped cream into warm pastry cream.

My cream filling did not turn out very light and fluffy.  It still tasted amazing, but it was a runny mess.  Not sure what I did wrong here. 

For Glaze:
1.  In a medium mixing bowl combine confectioners' sugar and vanilla. Stir in enough boiling water to make a glaze of spreading consistency; set aside.

Oh this was good!  It reminded me of the glaze on Krispy Kreme donuts.  I could just eat it with a spoon.

To Assemble:
1.  Use the tines of a fork to separate each pastry square horizontally into 3 layers. 

This was the hardest part of the entire recipe!  Dman near impossible.  WTF, puff pastry?!  I could NOT get these suckers to separate nicely.  They basically crumbled in my hands.  They were almost "too" light and flaky.  I think I also might have slightly overcooked them.  Had they been a tiny bit less brown, I think they would have separated easier.  I'll try to remember that for next time.

2.  If using fruit jam or preserves, spread about 1 teaspoon of the raspberry or strawberry jam or preserves on each bottom layer. Spread about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the pastry cream over raspberry preserves or if not using a layer of fruit jam or preserves, spread about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the pastry cream on the bottom layer and preceed as follows.

3.  Top with middle pastry layers. Spread another 1 1/2 tablespoons of the pastry cream on each middle layer.

4.  Finally, top with remaining pastry layers. Spread glaze over top of napoleons, then drizzle with melted chocolate. Chill up to 1 hour.

My chocolate was having a hard time melting.  It was too thick and clumpy to drizzle.  I just took a fork and splattered them with chocolate.  Not beautiful, but tasted just as good!!

Makes 9 napoleons.

So that's four recipes completed out of the Ten Most Difficult Recipes Challenge.  Slowly but surely we're getting there.  Hmmm...what should I make next?  Any suggestions?


  1. WOW! Those look amazing! THanks for sharing the recipe!

  2. Oh lord, this just makes me realize how behind I am. My puff pastry is sitting in my freezer and I haven't even posted about that. I'm a food challenge failure.

    I'll try to redeem myself soon. Perhaps the reward of a tasty napoleon will be sufficient incentive? I fear not.

  3. Woman! They DO look good! Great job, AGAIN! I literally pee my pants with excitement every time you post a cooking post. I love them!

  4. Oh wow, my thighs did NOT need to know about this recipe. I too have flaky pastry in the freezer & this would be the perfect thing to make Sat and bring to the rents on Sun. Ohhh man, that's so not on my diet plan! LOL :)

  5. OMG this looks so amazing. I would give you suggestions but I cannot cook anything nearly like you can. AMAZING!!!!

  6. my hats off to you. i'd NEVER have the patience.

  7. Um, can I come visit?? Those look amazing!!

  8. For a quick fix, get the Napoleans at Provisions on Olive - A.MAZ.ING!!!