STRAWBERRY – ALMOND CREAM NAPOLEONS
The college makes really great Napoleons. I always love it, when someone is serving these at a wedding reception. They are easy to make, and taste scrumptious. You don’t have to wait for the next wedding to enjoy one. This recipe isn’t fancy, just delicious.
The Napoleon is a pastry made of many layers of puff pastry with filling alternating the layers. It can be eaten as a dessert, or even as a decadent meal. As a French pastry it is called mille-feuilles, or thousand leaves, and it is usually filled with whipped cream, pastry cream, and fruit preserves – most often raspberry jam. The topping may be simply powdered sugar, or a layer of fondant, often with strings of chocolate drawn into a chevron design. In Italy, where the pastry is thought to have originated in Naples, it is called mille foglie (again, thousand leaves), and contains a similar layering like the mille-feuilles of cream, pastry cream, and fruit preserves. A traditional napoleon is filled with plain pastry cream but if desired you may add a thin layer of fruit preserves such as seedless raspberry or strawberry jam or preserves to the filling.
1 sheet (half of 17-ounce package) frozen puff pastry
1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup whipped topping
2 cups stemmed and sliced strawberries
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Powdered sugar, for garnish
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Thaw folded pastry sheet for 20 minutes. Open sheet and cut along folds to make three equal strips; halve each strip to make six rectangles. Space apart on baking sheet. Bake in center of oven about 15 minutes until well browned and baked through. Remove to rack to cool. Meanwhile, in bowl, whisk pudding mix, milk and extract 2 minutes; fold in whipped topping to blend thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate. Carefully split each piece of pastry in half horizontally. Cover bottom halves with almonds, then pudding mixture and sliced strawberries, dividing equally. Cover with pastry tops. Dust with powdered sugar. Serve with Strawberry Sauce (recipe follows), if desired. To make Strawberry Sauce: Stem and halve 1 pint basket strawberries and puree in blender container with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon lemon juice until smooth. To serve, divide sauce among 6 plates; top each with Napoleon.