When it comes to the baking and pastry arts, there are few desserts more decadent and lavish than napoleons, also known as mille-feuille. According to Carlino’s Restaurant, the napoleon originated in Italy and is named for having its roots Naples rather than in reference to the famous French dictator. While napoleons are a classic dessert, making them at home can take a lot of patience. Similar to baklava, layering a napoleon can use up a fair amount of time. However, there are simple versions that can be made a bit more conveniently, especially if you use store-bought puff pastry. For example, below is a basic napoleon recipe courtesy of Food Network Magazine:
Strawberry napoleons with prosecco cream
For the pastries:
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1 large egg yolk
- 3 tablespoons sugar
For the fillings:
- 1 quart strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
- 3/4 cup cold mascarpone cheese
- 1/3 cup cold heavy cream
- 1/4 cup cold prosecco
Begin making the pastries by lining a baking sheet with parchment or baking paper. On the sheet, unfold the well-thawed puff pastry. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and a tablespoon of water, then brush this wash over the puff pastry. Liberally sprinkle with sugar, then allow to freeze for approximately 20 minutes.
Make the strawberry filling while the puff pastry freezes. In a large bowl, mash 1 cup of the strawberries, then add the remainder along with 2 tablespoons of sugar and vanilla. Toss the mixture to ensure the strawberries are coated evenly.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. On a new baking sheet, evenly spread the sliced almonds and bake for about five to seven minutes. Remove your puff pastry from the freezer and cut into four equal squares with a sharp knife. Use a fork to poke holes evenly throughout each square. Bake the squares in the oven for about 20 minutes, and then reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake for an additional 15 minutes. Remove the pastry and give it ample time to cool.
As the puff pastry cools, make the prosecco cream. In a medium bowl, combine the heavy cream, mascarpone, prosecco and remaining sugar. Beat the ingredients together for approximately two minutes, but be careful not to allow the cream to become grainy.
Using a serrated knife, slice the pastries in half. Place one half on each plate, then top with the strawberry filling and prosecco cream. Top the filling with the other half of the pastry and garnish with almonds to preference.