by Luis Mario Vargas
In case you are wondering, yes, this dessert was nemaed after Napoleon Bonaparte. The reason is very simple, the French strategist used to eat a great deal of them. There’s even a rumour claiming that, before the Waterloo Battle he ate so much of the dessert, that they were the cause the battle was lost by the French Army.
However, in America, the Napoleon dessert is not very popular. It is a kind of pie, made of layered puff pastry, filled with different sweet ingredients (in this article, I will tell you how to use chocolate and caramel in its preparation). To be honest, the recipe is pretty simple to follow, so please, try it at home and find out why it was so desired by such an important historical character, who by the way, belonged to one of the countries with the richest gastronomic cultures in the world. Yes, this includes also the desserts.
(Yields for 6 people)
- 400g of puff pastry
- 6 extra fine sugar teaspoons
- 500 g of custard cream
- 500 g of caramel (for bakery)
To prepare the ganache (the filling)
- 200 g of semisweet chocolate
- 1 cup of milk cream
- Divide the puff pastry into 2 parts. Spread some flour over a table, and using a rolling pin and adding more flour when necessary, stretch the puff pastry until you form a thin rectangle (30 x 45 cm and 2 mm of thickness). Cut the borders to get them straight, and divide the rectangle into 3 pieces of 30 x 15 cm. Don’t worry if they get smaller in the oven.
- Put the 3 pieces of pastry on oven trays, previously buttered, and pinche them with a fork, creating small holes all over them (so that they don’t get inflated inside the oven). Prewarm the oven at 180 oC (356 F), and bake for 8 or 10 minutes until they start to brown. Then, take them out, and flip them. Bake for another 5 minutes the other side.
- Take them out and spread a spoon of extra fine sugar over them, and out them into the oven for 3 or 4 minutes more, so that they get more brown and shiny. This step is essential for the dessert (as for many others), in order that it looks sweet and tempting. Then, take them out of the oven and let them cool. You can out them inside an airtight container until you fill them with the ganache (no longer than one day).
- Now, let’s do the dessert’s filling. Before using the custard cream for the filling, you can beat it a little if it was in the refrigerator, so that it gets creamy again. When it’s ready, add the chocolate, cut into pieces in a bowl.
- Warm the custard cream, without boiling it, and pour it over the chocolate. Wait a few seconds and mix with a spatula, as the chocolate melts and it forms a uniform mixture. Let it cool (don’t get it into the fridge), to obtain a thick and spreadable filling. This may take a while.
- Once the puff pastry stripes are ready to do the cover, and the filling is ready too, we can assemble our Napoleon. To do this, cut slighlty the capes of pastry with a knife. Put the first cape over the plate it will be served in, and cover it with caramel. Cover with another cape of pastry, and put some ganache (the chocolate and cream filling).
- Cover the third layer with ganache, and so on until you’re done.
- To serve it, cut with a knife. This portion must be enough for 6 people.
As simple as that, you can close a perfect dinner with a delightful dessert, giving your guests something original, fresh and elegant. Bon appetit!
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Entre historias y dulces. La gastronomía francesa en su máximo esplendor.
This post is also available in: Español