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Saffy

Napoleon / Mille Feuille

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does he like chocolate and caramel?

i think those flavors would go great in a napoleon.

maybe one layer of chocolate pastry cream and one layer of a light chocolate caramel ganache (a la pierre herme) between perfectly caramelized puff sheets...

or if he likes nuts, a gianduja ganache layer...

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I was spacing out a bit today and started to think about my husband's favorite desserts. He loves yellow cake with chocolate frosting like his Mom used to make (from a box and a can)! He also really enjoys banana cream pie, but truly he's always talking about this amazing napoleon he had a billion years ago.

What about a banana cream napoleon with a chocolate glaze??

suggestions on a banana pastry cream? raw bananas in slices, mushed bananas, mushed roasted bananas? thoughts?

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but truly he's always talking about this amazing napoleon he had a billion years ago.

Did you ask him exactly why the Napoleon was so amazing? He might be able to tell you.

When I met my husband, he told me that Napoleons were always strange to him because they were one of those pastries that always LOOK amazing but usually disappoint. I totally agreed with that. I too, love the look of a Napoleon but have usually been less than impressed with a lot of them that I've tried. When I became a PC, I knew I could make a really GOOD Napoleon. I told my husband, (then my "boyfriend") to give mine a try. He raved. He loved it. Whenever I would come home from work, he would say, "Did you bring home a Napoleon?" I figured out pretty quick that if I made them at work, I always needed to save one aside. :wub: And they say the way to a mans heart is through his stomach.....yep....that's how I hooked mine. My Napoleons were great bait. :raz:

So I suppose you're probably saying, "Annie, what's the SECRET?" No secret. The Napoleons I make are pretty simple and straightforward...nothing fancy. But what makes them good is that every component is top quality. My own buttery puff pastry. A heavily vanilla'd pastry cream that's been lightened with whipped cream for a less custardy and more fluffy texture, but NOT BLAND. And finally a topping of poured fondant that's been enhanced with a little almond syrup and the chocolate striping. That's it.....and it's really really good. Well, according to my husband anyway. My customers loved them too. I'd make a dozen a day, and they always sold out before lunchtime.

I love making Napoleons! :wub:

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^Yummm...I hope to try one of your napoleons one day, Annie! :biggrin:

What about a banana cream napoleon with a chocolate glaze??

suggestions on a banana pastry cream?  raw bananas in slices, mushed bananas, mushed roasted bananas? thoughts?

I think that sounds like a great idea. I would do a layer of sliced, roasted bananas...no need to mush them up. I think sliced bananas would look neater. You could add rum to the pastry cream. I like the chocolate glaze idea too, but there's also the option of doing chocolate puff pastry.

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...

So I suppose you're probably saying, "Annie, what's the SECRET?" No secret. The Napoleons I make are pretty simple and straightforward...nothing fancy. But what makes them good is that every component is top quality. My own buttery puff pastry. A heavily vanilla'd pastry cream that's been lightened with whipped cream for a less custardy and more fluffy texture, but NOT BLAND. And finally a topping of poured fondant that's been enhanced with a little almond syrup and the chocolate striping. That's it.....and it's really really good. Well, according to my husband anyway. My customers loved them too. I'd make a dozen a day, and they always sold out before lunchtime.

I love making Napoleons! :wub:

Sounds like a perfect Napolean to me.... I love the classic recipe; it *is* simple in concept and everything relies on the freshness and quality of execution and of the ingredients. Crisp flakey layers, rich creamy filling and just enough sweetness from the fondant.... I've haven't tried to make them yet, but I know when I taste a good one. Thank you for the wonderful description. :smile:


Edited by ludja (log)

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raw bananas in slices, mushed bananas, mushed roasted bananas? thoughts?

I'd say caramelize slices of raw bananas with a torch, so they still retain their original texture.

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Annie, I have asked and asked what it was about that particular napoleon. He can't remember. He just remembers the feeling he had when eating it, you know.

Perhaps I should make both a classic and a banana cream? That's easy enough and we like celebratory gluttony.

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raw bananas in slices, mushed bananas, mushed roasted bananas? thoughts?

I'd say caramelize slices of raw bananas with a torch, so they still retain their original texture.

That's what I was thinking too.

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trish, i think a banana cream napoleon would be great. i just had a nice little banana cream pie at tartine in sf. the thing i liked about it, was a bit of caramel sauce underneath the bananas. it would have been even better if the caramel was a tiny bit salty to bring out the sweetness of the banana and custard a bit more. if you temper some chocolate to spread onto the puff you can avoid some of the mushiness (really thin layer).

sounds like a great birthday dessert.

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Why do most recipes require that the puff pastry be cut after the whole sheet is baked? I've never worked with puff pastry before so I thought that cutting it to the desired end-shape (individual rectangles/ squares) would work, wouldn't it? Or is there an undesirable effect, like not much/ uneven rising?

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if your puff pastry is made correctly, or you're using purchased puff pastry, there shouldn't be any problems with cutting the pieces individually before baking. it is up to you and what you want your final product to look like.

usually recipes indicate long strips to be baked and then filled and this is likely for the sake of production. it is easier and more efficient to fill an entire strip and layer it and then cut it into 15-20 pieces rather than piping 15-20 individual pieces.

but i'd have to agree that (with my cutting skills :blink: ) they'd look much better if cut before being baked!

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Wow! Thanks! I'd probably cut before baking... I don't have an electric knife and I have incredibly bad luck with cutting delicate food, so to cut after baking would be shatteriffic for me :smile:

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Old topic but the classics never die ...

 

A friend is getting married this weekend, and she has a vague recollection of some fabulous flaky, creamy cake she had in Italy once that we decided was probably mille foglie or mille feuille. 

 

I haven't eaten one in forever, much less made one so I thought I'd run this by you here. 

 

I'm thinking caramelized puff pastry with layers of chiboust or panna cotta - make the filling the day ahead and mold it in round cake pans lined with plastic wrap then stack that morning.  I want to have 2 or 3 tiers - is it better to try to shove supports through the puff pastry, or just try to make the filling solid enough to support it all?  Or really thin layers of filling so there's not much to squish out anyway?  I got a box of Trader Joe's all-butter puff which is tasty but pretty thin, maybe 4 layers of puff and 3 filling per tier?

 

I guess I could make regular pastry cream.  I used to have an aversion to it but I forget why - the gloppiness and my tendency to scorch it, IIRC.  Or how about white chocolate ganache?

 

And what about icing -  I could do naked with just powdered sugar.  Would butter cream be too much?  Too much is not necessarily bad, and icing adds another flavor  ...

 

What do you think?  Thanks!

 

 

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On 10/9/2017 at 10:14 AM, pastrygirl said:

Old topic but the classics never die ...

 

A friend is getting married this weekend, and she has a vague recollection of some fabulous flaky, creamy cake she had in Italy once that we decided was probably mille foglie or mille feuille. 

 

I haven't eaten one in forever, much less made one so I thought I'd run this by you here. 

 

I'm thinking caramelized puff pastry with layers of chiboust or panna cotta - make the filling the day ahead and mold it in round cake pans lined with plastic wrap then stack that morning.  I want to have 2 or 3 tiers - is it better to try to shove supports through the puff pastry, or just try to make the filling solid enough to support it all?  Or really thin layers of filling so there's not much to squish out anyway?  I got a box of Trader Joe's all-butter puff which is tasty but pretty thin, maybe 4 layers of puff and 3 filling per tier?

 

I guess I could make regular pastry cream.  I used to have an aversion to it but I forget why - the gloppiness and my tendency to scorch it, IIRC.  Or how about white chocolate ganache?

 

And what about icing -  I could do naked with just powdered sugar.  Would butter cream be too much?  Too much is not necessarily bad, and icing adds another flavor  ...

 

What do you think?  Thanks!

 

 

You would definitely need support as with any tiered cake. So, dowels for sure. 

I think that something with gelatin would be your best option for stability with the filling, like a Bavarian maybe. 

But, with that being said, I’ve added a photo of a recipe that I’ve made before that just had a stiff pastry cream. Not sure if you want to go to the trouble of making the dough rounds, but there’s the option. It seemed pretty sturdy, and the layers of pastry cream aren’t very thick. This makes one 10” cake. 

As far as the look, I would stay with the naked cake idea. Floral decoration, fruit or whatever she likes with powdered sugar would look nice. I think frosting would be too much. 

 

D08A4B42-C578-439C-A373-89711AE30225.png

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2 hours ago, RWood said:

You would definitely need support as with any tiered cake. So, dowels for sure. 

I think that something with gelatin would be your best option for stability with the filling, like a Bavarian maybe. 

But, with that being said, I’ve added a photo of a recipe that I’ve made before that just had a stiff pastry cream. Not sure if you want to go to the trouble of making the dough rounds, but there’s the option. It seemed pretty sturdy, and the layers of pastry cream aren’t very thick. This makes one 10” cake. 

As far as the look, I would stay with the naked cake idea. Floral decoration, fruit or whatever she likes with powdered sugar would look nice. I think frosting would be too much. 

 

Thanks, I'll use supports and try resist the urge to buttercream it.  We decided a chocolate groom's cake would offer appropriate excess, between that and the puff pastry there'll be plenty of richness.  Though maybe instead of sprinkling with sugar before baking to caramelize, I'll brush the puff with white chocolate after to keep it crispy.  It'll probably be a nightmare to cut no matter what!

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8 hours ago, RWood said:

You would definitely need support as with any tiered cake. So, dowels for sure. 

 

I disagree - there's something wrong with your pastry and/or pastry cream if it can't stand upright on its own.

 

The traditional way is just puff pasty and pastry cream.  I like to incorporate 1% gelatin and 3% cocoa butter into the pastry cream while it's still hot, then when it cools to body temperature blitz in about 20% butter (as a % of the milk).  Let it set overnight, then whip for 15 minutes before using - it makes it firmer and lighter.

 

I think you would have problems with a bavarois (unless you really pack it with gelatin), especially when you cut the cake.  They're delicate, so I'd be worried about the cake collapsing and mousse squirting out all over yourself and guests.  Then panic, depression, etc.

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18 hours ago, jmacnaughtan said:

 

I disagree - there's something wrong with your pastry and/or pastry cream if it can't stand upright on its own.

 

The traditional way is just puff pasty and pastry cream.  I like to incorporate 1% gelatin and 3% cocoa butter into the pastry cream while it's still hot, then when it cools to body temperature blitz in about 20% butter (as a % of the milk).  Let it set overnight, then whip for 15 minutes before using - it makes it firmer and lighter.

 

I think you would have problems with a bavarois (unless you really pack it with gelatin), especially when you cut the cake.  They're delicate, so I'd be worried about the cake collapsing and mousse squirting out all over yourself and guests.  Then panic, depression, etc.

Doweling has nothing to do with the pastry cream. The dowels are for support when stacking multiple cake tiers on top of each other.  You wanna take the chance of it collasping, that's fine. I just choose to not ruin someone's wedding with their cake in a pile on the floor. 


Edited by RWood (log)
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10 hours ago, RWood said:

Doweling has nothing to do with the pastry cream. The dowels are for support when stacking multiple cake tiers on top of each other.  You wanna take the chance of it collasping, that's fine. I just choose to not ruin someone's wedding with their cake in a pile on the floor. 

 

 

Ah OK, I missed the part about it being a tiered cake.  

 

I've never seen a tiered millefeuille, but I'm sure it could be done.  But you would have a hard time cutting and serving it - it's tricky enough to slice a single-tier one.  I can only imagine the crumbs, tears and panic with a two- or three-tiered one...

 

For what it's worth, you would make everyone's life a lot easier if you just did a long one.  One of the advantages of puff pastry is that it's easy to cut it into whatever shape you want (before baking).

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Definitely trying to avoid tears and panic :P  

 

I’ll bring a serrated knife and only do two tiers - usually I can just drop cakes off and run, I should be prepared for them to make me cut this thing!  Maybe whipped ganache would be a firmer/less slippery filling ... 

 

 

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20 hours ago, pastrygirl said:

Definitely trying to avoid tears and panic :P  

 

I’ll bring a serrated knife and only do two tiers - usually I can just drop cakes off and run, I should be prepared for them to make me cut this thing!  Maybe whipped ganache would be a firmer/less slippery filling ... 

 

 

 

Good luck. This will be a labor of love.

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I’m happy to report success - no tears, not too much panic, and I didn’t even have to cut it!  Seemed to cut cleanly enough so that was good, people got actual slices. 

 

Several layers of Trader Joe’s all-butter puff (docked and baked between sheet pans to keep it flat) and whipped white chocolate ganache with vanilla and lemon. Toasted almonds and fresh raspberries to garnish. 

 

D7752B41-1DB4-43AC-A603-6AE0A315B182.thumb.jpeg.d32859d59818009288e75190b95b397d.jpeg

 

CD503AA2-A251-4474-B515-2C39594EE760.thumb.jpeg.32501e0598fa4289dc8fe303afa0084f.jpeg

 

The bride was happy. 

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