Napoleons with Italian Pastry Cream (Pasticciera Cream): Thin layers of puff pastry filled with smooth, silky and gentle Italian Pastry Cream, easily done.
Sping 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 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 pastry, 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:
I really enjoy making edible flower dishes in my ‘secret’ life so I have garnished the bars with candied violets. Secret revealed !
- Ingredients for the bars:
- Store bought puff pastry (10 x 14 inches) cut to 32 bars
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 3 Tbsp white sugar
- Ingredients for Italian Pastry Cream:
- 3 egg yolks
- 4 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 9 Tbsp starch
- 2 cups milk
- 3 Tbsp butter
- Preheat the oven to 190° C / 375 F.
- Cut the puff pastry into 32 bars.
- Cover them with another sheet of baking paper to keep them flat.
- Bake the bars for 18 minutes.
- While still warm, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.
- Allow to cool.
- For the Italian Pastry Cream, mix the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla extract and starch in a small bowl.
- Heat the milk in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and add the yolk mixture.
- Boil for 1 – 2 mins until thick, stirring constantly.
- Put aside, add butter and mix well.
- Allow to cool completely, fill a piping bag with the mixture and choose a favourite tip.
- Pipe the cream onto 16 of the pastry bars.
- Carefully place the other bars over the cream to get 16 bites, pipe more cream on the top, and garnish to taste.
- Serve immediately.