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Friday, September 18, 2009

Napoleon's Army

One of the staff members in my office had a birthday this week, and I signed up for “baked goods”. I made Napoleons, and they were a hit! There are two ways you can make Napoleons…the easy way or the hard way. I’ll give you the difficult version first.

Napoleons: Difficult

Quick Puff Pastry:
2 cups flour
1 ½ sticks cold butter plus 2 tablespoons
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup ice water

1 ½ cups milk
4 egg yolks
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla

sweet melted chocolate
powdered sugar

Pastry: Sift together flour and salt. Add cold butter. Blend until mixture is clumpy. Add ice water and form into ball. Dust with flour, wrap in paper and chill 1 hour. Roll dough into 12 x 6" rectangle, dust lightly with flour. Fold top third over center and bottom third over top making a 4 x6 inch rectangle. Turn dough and repeat process after rolling out. Wrap dough and chill 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450.

Roll puff pastry to 1/8 inch thick sheet. Place on well buttered cookie sheet and prick with fork at intervals of one inch. Bake 15 minutes, or until light golden in color. Let cool on a wire rack.

Custard: Bring 1 cup milk and cream to a boil. In a small bowl, add cornstarch to beaten egg yolks and remaining milk. Add to milk and cream mixture and cook until thick. Add vanilla and chill.

To Assemble: Cut cooled pastry in strips to make 3 x 2 inch rectangles. Fill with cream. Garnish with sweet melted chocolate and powdered sugar. Chill.

Napoleons: Easy

Get a box of puff pastry (found in the frozen section under “dessert”). Cut into squares and cook according to package directions. Meanwhile, mix up a box of instant pudding or custard. Add a little bit of whipping cream and mix well. If you want, also add in a couple tablespoons of lemon curd.

Let the puff pastry cool slightly, then pull apart into two halves (top and bottom). Spoon a dollop of custard onto the bottom half of the pastry, then cover with top half. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

Melt chocolate chips or baking chocolate in the microwave, and add a splash of whipping cream. Stir well to combine, then drizzle over the napoleons. The end!

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