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 ;-).
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
- Split the vanilla bean lenghwise and, using the back of the knife or a round knife, scrape the vanilla seeds.
- 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.
- Eliminate the vanilla pod and bring the milk again to simmer.
- In the meanwhile beat the yolks with 10 Tbsp of sugar and the sifted cornstarch until it becomes a pale yellow mixture (5 minutes).
- 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.
- 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.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/375°F.
- Put a sheet of puff pastry on a parchment paper sheet on the baking sheet.
- Cover it with another sheet of parchment paper and then with a baking sheet with chickpeas or salt to weight it.
- Bake it until the pastry begins to color.
- Remove the baking sheet and the parchment paper from above the puff pastry sheet and sprinkle 1 Tbsp of sugar over it.
- Bake it until it becomes light brown.
- Carefully remove the parchment paper from the bottom and let it cool.
- Repeat the same process with the second sheet of puff pastry.
- Using a serrated knife cut each puff pastry sheet into twelve rectangles of 4" x 2 " (12,5x5cm).
- Spoon 2 Tbsp of the cream on the center of a puff pastry rectangle and carefully place another rectangle on top, repeating the process.
- Sprinkle icing sugar on top of napoleons and...
- Buon appetito!