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Napoleons … who resists?


I wasn’t such a fan of napoleons pastries since the day before yesterday.

I remember when I was a child and my parents were still together that my father used to buy napoleaons for my mother in a cute pastry shop in Ipanema, called Achille’s.

In Brazil they are called as in Italian – mil folhas or millefoglie, both meaning a thousand layers. Here in Italy there are many wedding cakes prepared with napoleaon pastry, but they didn’t attract me at all.

Then I found this recipe on Saveur and it went up to the top of the “I have to prepare it soon” list. I didn’t prepare the puff pastry at home (the supermarket ones are so good!) because, again, I like easy and quick recipes – and I assure you the result was fantastic. I said “was” because there were no leftovers ;-).

napoleons napoleons

I am so enthuiast of this recipe of napoleons because I loved it even if I am not fond of creams and puff pastry (until the day before yesterday, I mean ;-)). It is a beautiful dessert to serve and it is incredibly tasty. I first prepared the cream and then, while it was cooling, I baked the puff pastry.

I thought napoleons were such a difficult recipe, those kind I’d be trying many years from now. But I was wrong! When I saw the layers and the cream that came out from between I was …happy!

  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 cups of milk (I used low fat)
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 12 Tbsp of sugar
  • 2 Tbsp of sifted cornstarch
  • 3 Tbsp of butter at room temperature
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry (about 8″x18″ each/20x45cm
  • ¼ cup confectioners sugar
  1. Split the vanilla bean lenghwise and, using the back of the knife or a round knife, scrape the vanilla seeds.
  2. Put the milk into a medium saucepan, add the vanilla bean and seeds and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover the pan, turn off the gas and let aside for 1 hour.
  3. Eliminate the vanilla pod and bring the milk again to simmer.
  4. In the meanwhile beat the yolks with 10 Tbsp of sugar and the sifted cornstarch until it becomes a pale yellow mixture (5 minutes).
  5. Slowly add a cup of hot milk to the eggs mixture always whisking and then turn off the mixer and pour the eggs mixture into the milk saucepan.
  6. Cook under medium heat, always stirring until it becomes dense (about 5 minutes). Transfer it to a bowl and continue to stir while it is very warm, adding the butter, piece by piece. After 5 to 10 minutes, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
  7. Preheat the oven to 180°C/375°F.
  8. Put a sheet of puff pastry on a parchment paper sheet on the baking sheet.
  9. Cover it with another sheet of parchment paper and then with a baking sheet with chickpeas or salt to weight it.
  10. Bake it until the pastry begins to color.
  11. Remove the baking sheet and the parchment paper from above the puff pastry sheet and sprinkle 1 Tbsp of sugar over it.
  12. Bake it until it becomes light brown.
  13. Carefully remove the parchment paper from the bottom and let it cool.
  14. Repeat the same process with the second sheet of puff pastry.
  15. Using a serrated knife cut each puff pastry sheet into twelve rectangles of 4″ x 2 ” (12,5x5cm).
  16. Spoon 2 Tbsp of the cream on the center of a puff pastry rectangle and carefully place another rectangle on top, repeating the process.
  17. Sprinkle icing sugar on top of napoleons and…
  18. Buon appetito!

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