Napoleon ~ Mille-feuille
Napoleon, also known as Mille-feuille or thousand-leaf is a classic French dessert comprised of almond flavored pastry cream sandwiched between flaky layers of pastry crust. Topped with an iconic white and black fondant icing this dessert is a show-stopper. Our version of this amazing dessert is easy to make and uses only a few simple ingredients. Surprise your family with this delicious treat, or wow your guests at your next dinner party with this stunning pastry that is certain to be the talk of the evening. No one needs to know how easy it really was.
An easy recipe for a classic French dessert. Delight your guests with this delicious and stunning cake that literally takes only minutes to make using just a few simple ingredients.
- 1 sheet Pepperidge Farms puff pastry
- 1 3.4 ounce box vanilla instant pudding
- 1 ¾ cups heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup Frangelico
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar sifted to remove lumps
- 2 teaspoons corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 2 tablespoons milk plus more as needed
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder sifted to remove lumps
Heat oven to 400°F and position rack in the center of the oven. You will require 2 baking trays of the same size and 2 pieces of parchment paper.
Cut the thawed pastry dough along the fold lines into 3 equal sized pieces. Prick the top of the pasties all over with a fork. Place the dough on a parchment lined sheet. Cover the dough with another piece of parchment and then the second tray, this will keep the pastry from puffing. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. The dough should be only slightly puffed and the tops lightly golden. Place on a wire rack to completely cool.
- Using a hand mixer on high speed beat the instant pudding with the milk and Frangelico until stiff peaks form. (If you prefer no alcohol replace Frangelico with milk). Set the pastry crème in the fridge while the pasteries cool and you make the icing and decorate the top.
Sift the powdered sugar into a small mixing bowl to remove any lumps. Add the corn syrup, melted butter, and 2 tablespoons of milk. Stir well.
Transfer about ¼ of the icing into a separate small bowl then sift the cocoa powder into this amount. Add more milk in small amounts at a time to both the white and the chocolate icing until you have a honey-like consistency that will flow smooth but that is not runny.
Working on a wire rack over a piece of wax paper, pour the white icing over one piece of the cooled puff pastry. Using an offset knife or spatula gently spread the icing towards the edges to cover completely allowing it to slightly flow over. Place the cocoa icing in a piping bag and pipe 4 or 5 lines down the length of the pastry. Use a toothpick to drag back and forth across the short width of the top alternating directions as you go. This will create the classic pattern in the icing. Allow icing to dry for several hours before assembling cake.
- Set the crème out for about a half an hour before assembly to make the piping easier.
- I build the cake on a working board then transfer carefully with a spatula to a serving plate.
Load the pastry crème in a piping bag fitted with a round or star tip. I like the crème to be almost double the thickness of the pastry. Pipe dollops or rows of pastry crème to evenly cover the surface of the pastry. Place the other piece of pastry on top and carefully wiggle it to position. Repeat with the pastry crème on the second layer. Using a spatula carefully place the decorated piece on top. Grasping it by the edges only, GENTLY wiggle it to position. Easy does it, be very careful not to break the top!
Chill for four hours before serving. Cutting this cake is the tricking part. Using a serrated bread knife, very gently cut through the top and the layers with a gentle sawing motion to avoid breaking. Let the knife do the work, do apply much pressure or you will shatter the cake. You can hold the cake in place by reaching your hand over the top to grasp the edges while you cut off a slice (hold the cake not the slice), just do your best to stay out of decorated top.
If there is any left, hold in the fridge for several days, the pastry will become soggy after that. I have actually never ran into this problem.
I get about 8 pieces out of one sheet of puff pastry.
The dough does come 2 sheets per box so if you have a large crowd it is easy to make 2 cakes, there will be plenty of pastry crème, and any extra crème is great with fresh fruit.
Here is a link with photos about making the pastry crème. https://jamesandeverett.com/2018/07/25/easy-bavarian-cream/