Monday, September 21, 2015

Polish Napoleon

I love Napoleons which are a French dessert.  However, I found out that Polish people have their own take on this dessert as well.  It only has two layers of puff pastry and no fondant.  Super easy to put together and I must say quite impressive.  Enjoy.

Polish Napoleons
2 cookie sheets lined with parchment

1 box of Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry with 2 sheets of pastry dough
Powder sugar for dusting

4 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 whole vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out
or 2 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch salt
8 egg yolks
1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 cup whipped whipping cream

More powder sugar for dusting.

Preparing Puff Pastry:
 Roll out puff pastry to about a 10x14 depending on size you want to fit in pan.  Keep in mind it will shrink about an inch all around after baking.  You can trim after baking to desired size to fit in pan.

After rolling puff pastry, poke all over with fork.  Bake in a 375 degree oven until golden brown, remove from oven and dust with powder sugar and place back in oven to caramelize.  Remove from oven and flip over and do the underside with a dusting of powder sugar and bake until caramelized.  This adds a wonderful texture and flavor to the puff pastry, similar to the top of a creme brulee.  Do not skip this step, it makes a huge difference.  Roll out other sheet and do the same as above.  When finished, let pastries cool completely for assembly.

Make Filling: Can make filling in advance to cool
In a medium saucepan, mix milk, 3/4 sugar, vanilla bean seeds and salt.  Slowly cook over medium heat and bring to a light simmer.  In another bowl, whisk egg yolks, cornstarch and remaining 3/4 sugar.  Whisking constantly, add hot milk into egg yolk mixture.  Keep whisking.

Transfer mixture back into sauce pot.  On gentle heat, bring mixture to a boil.  Be careful it can burn very easily.  Make sure you are whisking constantly.  As soon as you see first bubble from boiling,  remove from stove top, add butter and continue to mix well with a wooden spoon.

Place custard in a bowl.  Cover with clear wrap directly on top of custard to prevent a skin from forming.  Custard needs to cool for about 2 hours.  Fold in the whipped whip cream into custard with a spatula.

In a 9x13 place a piece of parchment paper to overhang long sides about 2 inches on each side.  This is for easy lifting of the Napoleon when frozen.  If you have to cut your first piece of puff pastry to fit into the 9x13 pan do so.  Place pastry sheet on bottom of parchment lined pan.  Place custard on top and smooth out with off set spatula to even out.  Place the other Pastry sheet on top.  Gently press down to even out custard.  Cover  Napoleon with clear wrap and place in freezer for 5 hours to freeze.  This is for easy slicing.  Remove Napoleon by lifting from the parchment paper overhang on sides of pan.  Place on cutting board.  Generously sift powder sugar all over Napoleon.  Using a serrated knife, slice frozen Napoleon into perfect slices.  Place in fridge for about 5 hours to come to perfect consistency. 

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