Ahhh the good ‘ole Napoleon. I really enjoy going back to the classics every once in a while. Sometimes coming up with some crazy mix of different pastries to make one new and creative dessert just doesn’t cut it. I mean, they’re called the classics for a reason… so that we can go back to them and marvel at their beauty and simplicity.
Honestly though, what more would you like in a pastry??? Creamy, crunchy sweet goodness pretty much sums it up for me! This pastry is satisfying and perfect in every way. I try not to make pastries that make me this weak in the knees all the time because, well…. if you look in the fridge right now you probably won’t find any Napoleons because I ate them all. Napoleons are right down my ally with the puff pastry filled with a delicious vanilla pastry cream. I can’t resist it… they were calling for me!! I had to.
If you plan on making your own puff pastry (an I do not suggest that you do) then you’ve got a long road ahead of you. Making puff pastry in your home kitchen will a) turn the kitchen into a butter and flour catastrophy and b) make you want to pull your hair out. While I am almost always for baking everything from scratch (and in a professional bakery puff pastry should be made from scratch!), but in this case, I’m giving you my full permission to buy already made puff pastry.
Since we’re buying our puff pastry, making these Napoleons will be a breeze!
- 1 package pre made puff pastry
- Vanilla Cream:
- 1 vanilla bean
- 500 g whole milk (2 cups)
- 120 g sugar (2/3 cup)
- 50 g cornstarch (3 tablespoons)
- 120 g egg yolks (6 egg yolks)
- 50 g butter (3 tablespoons)
- Icing Decoration:
- 125 g powdered sugar (1 cup)
- 2 teaspoons corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons milk (room temperature)
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- Preheat the oven to 180 Celsius or 350 Fahrenheit.
- Cut the puff pastry into 3 equal rectangles. Arrange on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
- Poke generously with a fork and sprinkle with sugar.
- Top with another sheet of baking paper and lay a cooling rack on top of the baking paper.
- Bake for about 30 minutes until golden brown.
- In the meantime, make the pastry cream.
- Cut open and scrape out the vanilla bean.
- Place the vanilla and milk in a pot and bring to a boil. Reserve about ¼ of the milk to mix together with the cornstarch.
- Mix together the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl.
- Add the cornstarch and reserved milk. Mix until well incorporated.
- Once the milk in boiling, begin ladeling the hot milk into the egg and sugar mixture while continuously stirring. Finally, add all the milk.
- Return everything to the pot through a strainer, and while continuously stiring, slowely bring the mixture, once again, to a boil. Remove from heat and add the butter. Stir.
- Transfer the pastry cream onto a tray lined with plastic wrap and wrap the cream tightly, removing all air. Refrigerate.
- Once the baked puff pastry had cooled off, it is time to build the Napoleons.
- Pipe the pastry cream evenly onto one of the puff pastry rectangles. Top with the second puff pastry. Repeat by piping the pastry cream onto the puff pastry and top with the third puff pastry rectangle, BOTTOM SIDE UP. This ensure a flatter surface for the decoration.
- Mix together the powdered sugar, corrn syrup, butter, and milk removing all clumps.
- Pour ¾ of the icing over top the pastry. Spread evenly with an offset spatula.
- Add the cocoa powder to the remaining icing and stir. With a piping bag, pipe lines across the pastry. Using a toothpick, drag the icing down the pastry creating the traditional decoration.
- Let dry for about 15 minutes.
- With a sharp, serated knife, carefully trim the edges of the pastry cleaning the knife after each cut, and finally, cutting the single Napoleons.