Napoleon with Pastry Cream

Napoleon with Pastry Cream

Crispy layers of puff pastry with dreamy vanilla cream make this classic dessert something you'll never forget! Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook



  1. In a small non-stick saucepan, simmer over medium heat:
    • 1 cup milk, whole
    • 2 TBS granulated sugar
    • 1/4 vanilla bean , seeds scraped
    • 1/8 tsp salt
  2. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together:
    • 2 egg yolks
    • 2 TBS cornstarch
    • 2 TBS granulated sugar
  4. Whisking constantly, slowly pour about 1/4 cup of the hot-milk mixture into the egg-yolk mixture until it has been incorporated. This tempers the eggs and keep them from curdling.
  5. Pour egg mixture back into the saucepan, and cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens, about 2 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and discard vanilla bean.
  7. Transfer to a medium-sized and whisk in:
    • 1 TBS butter, unsalted , cut into small pieces
  8. When the butter melts and the mixture cools, about 5 minutes, cover with a piece or parchment paper, cut to size to cover the pudding surface. This prevents a skin from forming on the top layer of your cream.
  9. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. Just before using, whisk again until smooth.
  10. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  11. Grease the bottom of a baking sheet.
  12. On a lightly floured surface, roll out to a large rectangle:
    • 1 puff pastry sheet , thawed
  13. Pierce the entire pastry with a fork.
  14. Place pastry on prepared baking sheet.
  15. Cover the top of the puff pastry with a sheet parchment paper, cut to size.
  16. Place another baking sheet over the parchment paper.
  17. Place in the heated oven and bake for 10 minutes.
  18. Remove top baking sheet and parchment paper.
  19. Return pastry to the oven to cook until lightly browned, about 5-7 minutes.
  20. Remove from oven and allow pastry to cool to room temperature.
  21. Using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter, cut the pastry into thirds.
  22. In a small bowl whisk together:
    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • 2 tsp corn syrup, light
    • 1 TBS butter, unsalted , melted
  23. Slowly mix in:
    • 3 TBS milk, whole
  24. Add enough milk to keep the icing thick, but pourable.
  25. Pour half of the icing into another bowl, and whisk in:
    • 1 TBS cocoa powder, unsweetened
  26. Pour chocolate icing in to a squeeze bottle.
  27. Choose one of the three cut pieces of puff pastry to be your top layer and using a soft scraper, cover with the white icing.
  28. Using the squeeze bottle containing the chocolate icing, pour horizontal chocolate stripes over the white icing.
  29. Working quickly and use the tip of a knife to drag through the chocolate stripes and mix into the white icing.
  30. Place this top layer in the refrigerator to chill and set for 20 minutes.
  31. To assemble your napoleon, place the bottom layer of baked puff pastry onto your serving dish.
  32. Spoon half of your cooled pastry cream along the center of the pastry.
  33. Place your middle layer of baked puff pastry over the cream, gently pressing the pastry down and pushing the cream to the edges.
  34. Spoon the remainder of the cooled pastry cream along the center of the middle pastry layer.
  35. Top with the icing-decorated top layer and gently press over the pastry cream, again, pushing the cream to the edges.
  36. Allow to set in the refrigerator 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
  37. The longer the pastry sits, the less crunchy your napoleon is.

Napoleon with Pastry Cream  Detail

Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Inactive Time: 3 hour chill time
Difficulty: Hard
Servings: 8
Serving Size: 1 slice

Serving Suggestions: You can also decorate with powdered sugar and fresh seasonal fruit.

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