Napoleons

Napoleons

By
From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery
Makes
8

Napoleons are French pastries each consisting of three layers of thin, crisp puff pastry rectangles, sandwiched with crème pâtissière or whipped cream and topped with white icing, rippled with lines of chocolate.

Napoleons are similar to the French pastries mille-feuilles, although the name ‘Napoleons’ is rarely associated with them in any French recipe. Why these pastries were named ‘Napoleons’ and why the distinctive decorative icing was used is obscure. The explanation differs from country to country. Probably it was named after Napolitains, the imposing, and embellished, layered pastries that used to decorate formal dinner tables. This practice has now been abandoned, and although Napolitains are still made, they are usually small and known as Napoleons. Whatever the reason, Napoleons are light, delicious and found in pastry shops in many parts of the world.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
185g frozen puff pastry, thawed
or 1 quantity * puff pastry [rid:11044]
500g Crème pâtissière
1 quantity Glacé or warm icing

Chocolate decoration

Quantity Ingredient
60g cooking chocolate
45g butter

Method

  1. Roll out pastry as thinly as possible to a rectangle about the size of a large baking tray. Place on dampened baking tray, pricking well all over and chill for 15 minutes. Bake in a preheated hot oven for 5–10 minutes or until pale golden, then turn pastry over carefully and continue baking for a further 5 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
  2. Cut pastry into 3 strips about 8 cm wide. Spread one strip of pastry with half the crème pâtissière. Lay a second pastry strip on top and spread with remaining crème. Top with last pastry strip. Press down lightly and spread icing over top.
  3. To make decoration, melt chocolate and butter in a double saucepan over warm water and cool slightly. Pipe in thin rows across the icing at 2.5 cm intervals. Before chocolate has set, use tines of a fork or back of a sharp knife to draw a line down centre of length of pastry. Draw another line in the opposite direction on each side, thus pulling chocolate into a decorative pattern.
  4. When chocolate has set, cut pastry strips crossways into pieces about 5 cm wide, using a very sharp knife. Best served on the day they are made.
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