While many of the pastries I’ve made are more modern pastries, the Napoleon is a classic french pastry. Since I didn’t make my own puff pastry for the few earlier 12 Days of Christmas Baking pastries I knew I had to try it at least once during this challenge. I chose King Arthur’s recipe because they’re good at explaining things and when I’m trying a new recipe with unique techniques for the first time it’s helpful to have their tips and photos.
I started off by making a half batch of their Blitz Puff Pastry. I made it the night before and having just finished making croissants, this was actually fairly easy since I was used to some of the same techniques. While there is a lot of folding and chilling, this recipe isn’t too difficult and yields a great puff pastry. I had to bake this at my grandparents house so I wasn’t able to roll out my pastry as thin as it needed to be but there were a lot of nice flaky layers.
I did cheat a little on this recipe and use the leftover pastry cream I made for the chocolate eclairs a few days ago. I had quite a bit leftover since my eclairs didn’t really turn out so there was no sense in wasting it.
Right before I assembled everything I made the glaze, which was super simple. I also melted my chocolate on 50% heat in the microwave for 15-30 second intervals. I trimmed my puff pastry down so I had the same size rectangles. My puff pastry cut really well, but I think that’s because it was a little too thick. Once everything was ready to go I started assembling: puff pastry on the bottom, layer of pastry cream, another layer of puff pastry and pastry cream, then take the final piece of puff pastry and gently spread the glaze on top. I cleaned up the sides and then put it on the layered puff pastry and pastry cream sandwich. I made a few vertical lines using the chocolate and then took a toothpick and made horizontal lines to create the iconic design seen on Napoleons. Visually I think it could have been a little cleaner so I didn’t give it a full 10.
Taste wise it was really good, but my puff pastry was a little too thick making it chewy and a little difficult to eat. Had it been a little thinner I think it would have yielded a better taste. This wasn’t crazy difficult, but it was a little time consuming. It was certainly fun to make my own puff pastry and create such a delicate and elegant looking dessert.
Recipe Used: King Arthur