This was my first napoleon. I made it for a dinner party with friends. It was delicious and even road public transit (though I’d probably recommend serving it at home – wrapped securely in plastic wrap it does travel, but only ok). Easy to prepare once you’ve mastered pastry cream, this napoleon is summery and delightful. Like a pie, but better! You can make it a few hours ahead and just take it out of the fridge 30 minutes before serving.
1 sheet puff pastry (I used store-bought and it was just fine)
2 T corn syrup
2 cups pastry cream
1 pint raspberries
Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Cut the puff pastry sheet into thirds. Place on a baking sheet and poke with a fork all over. Cook 15, until just browned. Brush with corn syrup and return to the oven for another 5 minutes. Cook until golden brown.
For the pastry cream
2 cups whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split in half and scraped
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 T corn starch
1/2 cup sugar
4 T butter
In a medium saucepan over low heat, heat the milk, vanilla bean and salt until just under a boil. In a medium bowl, whisk together the corn starch, sugar and eggs. Temper the eggs with the hot milk by slowly ladling the milk into the egg mixture.
Pour the egg and milk mixture back into the saucepan. Heat over low heat until it thickens, whisking constantly. It can over cook very easily so be sure to pay close attention to the custard. When the custard can coat the back of a spoon, remove from the heat and pour through a mesh sieve back into the bowl.
Once the custard has cooled slightly, add the butter one tablespoon at a time making sure to mix completely before adding the next tablespoon. Once all of the butter has been added, let the cream cool and place in the fridge or assemble the napoleon.
To assemble the napoleon
Place a layer puff pastry on a plate and top with a layer of pastry cream. Top with another layer of puff pastry and then another layer of pastry cream.
Place the raspberries in rows in the pastry cream and top with another layer of puff pastry dough. The napoleon can be assembled up to six hours in advance and refrigerated. Bring up to room temperature before serving and cut deliberately with a serrated knife.