A napoleon or mille-feuille is a classic French pastry with layers of buttery, flaky puff pastry baked until golden and crisp, then filled with alternating layers of pastry cream and whipped cream. Once you learn to make this pastry at home you will never buy it at the patisserie again.
Preheat the oven at 375°F/ 190°C/ Gas mark 5. Cut the puff pastry into two. Roll each sheet to about 12 x 8-inch rectangle Pro tip - this measure is a guide but you can certainly main your own size and shape.
1 lb Puff Pastry
Work with one sheet at a time. Place on a parchment paper so it’s easy to move around.Pro tip - always keep puff pastry chilled or it will be difficult to work with. If necessary place in the freezer for 5 minutes for a quick chill between steps
Then cut the pastry at every 2-inch interval so you have 6 long strips. Cut each strip in half at the center so you should have 12 equal pieces. Dock or prick the pastry with the fork and sprinkle with granulated sugarPro tip - docking the pastry encourages crispness, and, the granulated sugar caramelizes and gives that golden color to the baked pastry
Place a parchment paper on top. Then place a baking sheet on top.Pro tip - the top baking tray prevents the pastry from puffing too much as well as helps make it crispy.
Bake on the center rack for 15 minutes
Remove the baking tray and parchment paper – bake another 10 minutes until lightly golden. Remove and let cool completelyPro tip - the final baking without the baking tray will encourage the pastry to become crisp which is what we want.
In a heavy-bottom saucepan combine sugar, cornstarch, egg yolks, vanilla bean paste, and salt. Gradually add the milk while whisking to prevent lumps.
2 cups Whole milk, ½ cup Sugar, 4 Egg yolks, 2 tablespoon Cornstarch, 1 Vanilla Bean scrapings, ¼ teaspoon Salt
Place the saucepan on medium heat stirring continuously until the pastry cream thickens.Pro tip - You want the pastry cream to come to a low simmer (boil) so the cornstarch will thicken the mixture and cookout.
Add the butter and continue to stir on low making sure to prevent the pastry from sticking or burning at the bottom.
2 tablespoon Unsalted butter
Once the pastry cream is thick, remove it from heat and pass it through a sieve or mesh. This will remove any lump and give you a smooth velvet-like pastry cream.
Cover with the plastic wrap touching the surface of the cream. Set aside to cool completely.Pro tip - the plastic touching the pastry cream will prevent skin from forming on the pastry cream which can later cause lumps and cause blockage in the piping bag
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment - whip the cream. You want nice stiff peaks.
1 cup Heavy cream
Combine half the whipped cream to the chilled pastry cream. Use a whisk to ensure you have no lumps. Save the rest of the whipped cream for the top layer.Pro tip - adding whipped cream to the pastry cream will lighten it up. I highly recommend it.
Each mille-feuille or napoleon uses three pastry layers. Two rows of pastry cream mixture and one row of whipped cream mixture.
Place one piece of puff pastry on the serving plate. Pipe two or three lines of pastry cream mixture.
Top with the second piece of puff pastry and pipe another round of pastry cream mixture.
Top with the third piece of puff pastry and pipe the whipped cream on the top. Garnish with fresh fruits.
10 Blueberries, 5 Strawberries
Bake the puff pastry until it's nice and golden. This will make it easier to crack the pastry when eating otherwise the whole thing just crumbles into a big mess.
Sprinkle the pastry with sugar this helps make the pastry brown and crisp but do pay close attention to it as it can also burn very easily.
Cook the pastry cream until it's thick. This will give you a firm consistency pastry cream that will not be runny between the pastry.
If you plan to make this napoleon ahead of time I suggest you use stabilized whipped cream as it will ensure the pastry cream holds on for longer.
When stacking the layers of puff pastry, choose the flat ones for the bottom and top so the finished dessert looks straight, not slanted.
Traditionally, a mille-feuille is topped with royal icing and chocolate which can make the dessert sweeter and often quite messy. But you can also use melted chocolate or just powdered sugar.
The nutrition information and metric conversion are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee its accuracy. If this data is important to you please verify with your trusted nutrition calculator. Thank you