The Napoleon is a daunting recipe, but once it’s been made, even once, you’ll know exactly why it was worth every turn of the buttery dough.
Flaky pastry, stacked impressively tall, and filled with fresh berries and a delectable pastry cream are the trademarks of this particular Napoleon. One bite and you’ll know…a little work went a very long way. Enjoy!
Roll out the dough to a large rectangle. Doing this on parchment or a silicone mat eases the process and is less sticky. Spread the butter block onto two-thirds of the dough.
Fold the unbuttered third (see on the right) onto the middle of the dough. Overlap the left third of the dough over the top. Mark your dough for the first complete turn. Refrigerate thirty minutes, then repeat, marking after each turn.
Once all four turns have been completed, the dough will have 81 thin, buttery layers. You can now cut this dough in half. One half will be proofed, and made into the Napoleon, the other half can be frozen for later use.
One trick about layering the pastry and cream is to use a light hand with the cream, especially at the edges. This will help keep the cream inside, where it belongs. Layer the fruit on top of the cream and continue with the next level of pastry dough.
The Proofing feature on the KitchenAid® Commercial-Style Range is ideal for providing the perfect temperature and environment to proof the pastry. A steady 100 degrees, with no drafts, and what’s more, the Proofing Feature can be switched effortlessly to Bake, without having to remove the dough from the oven.
Although the Napoleon recipe seems challenging, in fact, it is not. The real challenge is the waiting – waiting between turns, waiting for the dough to rise, and finally, waiting to eat it. The method is simple, though time intensive, but the dessert is not. It’s a stunning display, delicious, and sure to be a crowd pleaser at your next party!
Be sure to keep track of how many turns you have made with the dough. Many pastry chefs opt to mark the dough itself after each turn, by pressing a knuckle into the soft edge of the dough, one knuckle per turn. Others opt to keep track on a nearby sticky note.
Proofing is very important in this recipe. Once the dough has been rolled out before baking, be sure to allow the dough to rise to at least double in size for the flakiest and light results.
Napoleon with Fresh Berries
For the pastry cream:
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
Zest of 1 orange
2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
3/4 cup whole milk, divided
4 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ounces cream cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, room temperature
For the dough
1 ounce fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs, chilled
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
For the butter block
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
For the Napoleon:
1/2 recipe prepared pastry dough
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 recipe prepared pastry cream
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
Whipped Cream, to garnish
To make pastry cream:
Combine sugar and orange zest by working the zest into the sugar with your fingers.
Whisk the sugar and cornstarch in medium saucepan over medium low heat until combined. Add half of the milk and continue to whisk until the cornstarch dissolves.
Whisk in the other half of the milk; follow by whisking in egg yolks. Stir in vanilla.
Continue to whisk over medium low heat until mixture boils and thickens, about two to three minutes. Remove from heat.
Stir in the cream cheese and whisk until smooth. Strain cream into bowl; discard any solids.
Place plastic wrap firmly onto surface of pastry cream and refrigerate at least four hours or overnight.
To make dough:
Combine yeast and milk in the bowl of a KitchenAid Stand Mixer fit with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed.
Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Slowly add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, eggs, and orange juice. Mix well.
Change from the paddle attachment to the dough hook and add the salt with the flour, 1 cup at a time, increasing speed to medium as the flour is incorporated. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, or until smooth. If dough is sticky, add a bit more flour. Transfer dough to a lightly floured baking sheet and cover tightly with plastic wrap.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to one hour.
To make butter block:
Combine butter and flour in the bowl of a KitchenAid® Stand Mixer fit with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle and continue to beat for 1 minute more, or until very smooth. Set aside. Do not refrigerate.
After the pastry dough has chilled at least 30 minutes, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 18 x 14 inches and 1/4-inch thick. The dough may be sticky, so keep dusting it lightly with flour. Spread the butter block evenly over the center and right thirds of the dough. Fold the left edge of the dough to the right, covering half of the butter. Fold the right third of the rectangle over the center third. The first turn has now been completed. Mark the dough by poking it with your finger to keep track of your turns, or choose another way to keep track of your turns. Place the dough on a baking sheet, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
After chilling, place the dough lengthwise on a floured work surface. The open ends should be to your right and left. Roll the dough into another approximately 14 x 18 inch, 1/4-inch-thick rectangle. Again, fold the left third of the rectangle over the center third and the right third over the center third. The second turn has now been completed. Refrigerate the dough for another 30 minutes.
Roll out, turn, and refrigerate the dough two more times, for a total of four single turns. Refrigerate the dough after the final turn for at least 5 hours or overnight. The dough is now ready to be used. If you will not be using the dough within 24 hours, freeze it. To do this, roll the dough out to about 1 inch in thickness, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze. Defrost the dough slowly in the refrigerator for easiest handling. Danish dough will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.
To make Napoleon:
Roll out pastry dough to 18 x 14. Allow to proof for one hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Brush proofed pastry dough with melted butter; bake for 20-25 minutes or until puffed and golden. Remove from oven.
When cooled, cut pastry into three 14 x 6 inch strips, pressing down any large puffs. Layer one strip on serving plate; top with 1/2 of prepared pastry cream. Top with blueberries.
Place another layer of pastry on top of the blueberries. Again, top with remaining half of pastry cream. Layer slices of strawberries on the cream.
Top with remaining piece of pastry. Garnish with whipped cream, or as desired.
*The Contributor of this post has been compensated by KitchenAid for this post, but this post represents the Contributor’s own opinion.*