Are you one of those people who gets an idea in their head and then just can’t get it out of their heads? You think about it so much that it’s all that you can think of? If you are, you’re just like me! It’s dangerous for me to think about something and then not act on it. It’s like it eats away at me until I have to act on it!
This happened to me recently with food! I had thought about making my own version of a napoleon and then got derailed and instead made Angel’s Delight, which was fantastic, but it wasn’t a napoleon. I kept thinking about making an napoleon the way I had it pictured in my head, and it kept eating away at me that I just broke down and had to make it. So, what did I do? I gave in to my thoughts and made my take on a napoleon. I used: frozen puff pastry, Chocolate Whipped Cream, powdered sugar, and fresh strawberries and blueberries. That’s it. Simple, yet delicious. And the best part is that this dessert comes out looking like it’s a million dollar winner at the restaurant. No one has to know how simple this really is.
Start off with a box of frozen puff pastry. You can pick it up at most grocery stores in their frozen food section. You’ll need to thaw out the puff pastry before you can work with it, so leave the box sitting out on the counter for 40-45 minutes and it should be soft enough for you to use.
This particular box of puff pastry comes with 2 sheets. Since I only needed one, I wrapped the second sheet in plastic wrap and stuck it back in the freezer to use at a later time. When you’re ready to work with the puffed pastry, place the sheet on a lightly floured flat surface. The puff pastry sheet is folded over on itself in thirds, just unroll the sheet so you have a large sheet of puff pastry. Take a knife and cut the pastry sheet in thirds, exact where the crease marks are where the sheet was folded. You should end up with 3 long strips of puff pastry that are about equal size.
Take your knife and cut each strip of puff pastry in half. Now each of your 3 strips have been halved to give you 6 rectangles of puff pastry. That is what you are looking for. This will yield 4 napoleons. Place each rectangle on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Put the baking sheet into a preheated 400 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. When the puff pastry has started to rise and the tops have turned a nice golden brown, the puff pastry is done and you can take the baking sheet out of the oven. Keep an eye on the puff pastry, there’s a fine line between light, flaky and fluffy pastry and overcooked pastry. Transfer the puff pastry immediately to a cooling rack so that it stops cooking and has a chance to cool down.
Alright, it’s almost time to start putting together the napoleon. For the filling to my napoleon I used fresh fruit, in particular fresh sliced strawberries. Clean, hull and thinly slice some strawberries. You want them thin enough to use as filling so that your napoleon won’t be chunky. To appease my husband, we also used blueberries.
When the puff pastry has cooled, you’re ready to begin building your napoleon. Remember, a napoleon is traditionally made with 3 layers of puff pastry alternating with 2 layers of pastry cream or whipped cream or even jam. In our case, we used chocolate whipped cream, which I though would go well with the strawberries. After all, is there a better combination than chocolate covered strawberries? Start with the puff pastry squares we made. Take a knife and cut the pastry square in half lengthwise, right through the middle. That way, you have a top half and a bottom half. Can you see where I’m going with this? We’re starting to build our napoleon. Take the bottom half of the puff pastry and set it down on your serving plate. Start piling it with some chocolate whipped cream. Top the whipped cream with the fresh fruit, strawberries, blueberries, peach slices, banana slices, whatever you want.
Take the top half of the pastry square, and put some chocolate whipped cream on the underside of the square. The purpose of this is to act as glue to keep the puff pastry together so it’s not slip sliding all over the place. Take the top half of the puff pastry and sandwich it on top of the fresh fruit you’ve piled on the bottom half.
Now, it’s time for some more chocolate whipped cream. Take a dollop of it and put it right on top of the puff pastry you’ve just put together. Put more fresh fruit on top of that. Cut another puff pastry square in half, take one half of it, put some chocolate whipped cream on the underside of it and sandwich it on top of the second layer of fresh fruit.
Alright, now you’re talking napoleon. 3 layers of puff pastry with 2 alternating layers of whipped cream and fresh fruit! Take a dollop of chocolate whipped cream and dab it on the side of the plate next to the napoleon. Lay a few slices of the fruit that’s inside the napoleon right alongside the whipped cream. This way, when you serve the dessert, they can see exactly what’s inside the dessert by looking at what you’ve put down as garnish on the plate. Take some powdered sugar and sprinkle it over your napoleon. Time to serve your napoleon; sit back and look at all the smiles you get once your guests have taken one bite of their fresh fruit and chocolate whipped cream napoleon. Don’t tell me this doesn’t look like a million dollar dessert you’d get a restaurant!