Napoleons with Italian Pastry Cream (Pasticciera Cream)

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Napoleons with Italian Pastry Cream: Thin layers of puff pastry filled with smooth, silky and gentle Italian Pastry Cream, easily done.

Napoleons with Italian Pastry Cream: Thin layers of puff pastry filled with smooth, silky and gentle Italian Pastry Cream, easily done.

 


Spring brings nice, fresh colours and a change in the types of food we prepare. I started looking for something different in an old recipe book, and found this memorable old family dessert :

Napoleons with Italian Pastry Cream (Pasticciera Cream): Mille feuille ( thousand leaves ) puff pastry with Italian pastry cream : simple, elegant and the best dessert with pastry cream !

Napoleons with Italian Pastry Cream: Thin layers of puff pastry filled with smooth, silky and gentle Italian Pastry Cream, easily done.

Napoleons were my grandmother’s spring favourite for two simple reasons: eggs were cheaper in spring, and she had her own homemade butter. So the ingredients were literally at hand.

My version makes the preparation time shorter, of course, because I use store-bought puff pastry.

The Italian Pastry Cream takes 15 minutes to prepare, so altogether, if you start making the cream while the bars are in the oven, you need 35 minutes maximum.

Tips for the pastry: if you use store-bought one, roll it out, leave it on the original paper, and cut it into 32 bars. Place the bars on a flat baking dish, cover with another sheet of baking paper and bake.

When you roll puff pastry, make sure to get 32 bars of approx 3,5 x 1,3 inches in size. This is how it looks when cut, still raw:

 

Napoleons with Italian Pastry Cream: Thin layers of puff pastry filled with smooth, silky and gentle Italian Pastry Cream, easily done.

Baked, brushed with butter and sprinkled with icing sugar:

Napoleons with Italian Pastry Cream: Thin layers of puff pastry filled with smooth, silky and gentle Italian Pastry Cream, easily done.

There are many ways of making layers for Napoleon cake recipe with puff pastry : some chefs use three layers of puff pastry and spend all the pasticciera cream. In my version, there is always some left. As a result,  I enjoy eating the leftovers with tea spoon !

As you can see there are two different types of photos here. The reason to this is that I really enjoy making edible flower dishes in my ‘secret’ life so I have garnished the bars with candied violets. The other set is made with dried petals. Secret revealed !

Napoleons with Italian Pastry Cream: Thin layers of puff pastry filled with smooth, silky and gentle Italian Pastry Cream, easily done.

 

Some chefs cut the bars after they assemble the cake. I cut the bars before and serve slices garnished with edible flowers.

Napoleons with Italian Pastry Cream: Thin layers of puff pastry filled with smooth, silky and gentle Italian Pastry Cream, easily done.

My friend makes three layers of pastry cream and wrap the cake with pink raspberry fondant. There are as many variations as we can imagine.

I serve Napoleons dusted with icing sugar. As simple as that. Some people love an extra touch so I add dried or candied edible flowers to make it elegant and festive.

While my grandmother was alive, to make Napoleon cake was some sort of a challenge because of several reasons : she used to make puff pastry from scratch so one had to have quite much of extra butter to make the pastry. No fridge. Just cold basement loaded with wine 😊

Eggs were not that available as today, so it was a spring cake since there was an abundance of eggs around Easter time.

Nowadays, we have all the ingredients at hand most of the time so it is not more complicated to bake Italian Napoleon dessert than make pancakes for your breakfast !

 

Napoleons with Italian Pastry Cream (Pasticciera Cream)

Napoleons with Italian Pastry Cream: Thin layers of puff pastry filled with smooth, silky and gentle Italian Pastry Cream, easily done.

Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Napoleons with Italian Pastry Cream (Pasticciera Cream)
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 33 minutes
Servings 16
Author 2pots2cook

Ingredients

  • Ingredients for the bars:
  • Store bought puff pastry, 10 x 14 inches cut to 32 bars
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 Tbsp icing sugar
  • Ingredients for Italian Pastry Cream:
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 9 Tbsp corn starch
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 Tbsp butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 190° C / 375 F.
  2. Cut the puff pastry into 32 bars.
  3. Cover them with another sheet of baking paper to keep them flat.
  4. Bake the bars for 18 minutes.
  5. While still warm, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.
  6. Allow to cool.
  7. For the Italian Pastry Cream, mix the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla extract and starch in a small bowl.
  8. Heat the milk in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and add the yolk mixture.
  9. Boil for 1 – 2 mins until thick, stirring constantly.
  10. Put aside, add butter and mix well.
  11. Allow to cool completely, fill a piping bag with the mixture and choose a favourite tip.
  12. Pipe the cream onto 16 of the pastry bars.
  13. Carefully place the other bars over the cream to get 16 bites, pipe more cream on the top, and garnish to taste.
  14. Serve immediately.

 

 

Napoleons with Italian Pastry Cream: Thin layers of puff pastry filled with smooth, silky and gentle Italian Pastry Cream, easily done.

 

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