I made the puff pastry a day in advance because it needs a lot of rest. Living in Europe of course I have eaten many pastries with puff pastry and this recipe resembles it exactly! Today I maked & baked the rest. It is a very very very long recipe and it takes a lot of work, which is why I probably won't be making it again. Don't get me wrong, it tastes divine (as I expected, 5 out of 5!), but I can buy it at any bakery here for €1,50 without so much work. Here comes the very very very long recipe:
Puff Pastry recipe: Martha Stewart - Baking Handbook
Ingredients: makes about 3 pounds, but you will only need 1 pound for the Chocolate Napoleon, so I divided the recipe for myself. This is the normal recipe that makes 3 pounds.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 pound (4 sticks, 450g) unsalted butter, cold + 1 stick (1/2 cup), cold, cut into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice
- In a large bowl, combine 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour with the cake flour, salt and sugar.
- With a pastry blender, cut in the butter pieces (1 stick) until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few larger clumps remaining.
- Make a well in the center, and pour in 1 cup cold water and the vinegar, gradually drawing the flour mixture over the water, gathering and combining until mixture comes together to form a dough. If the dough is too dry, add more cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Knead gently in the bowl, and form dough into a rough ball.
- Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 40 minutes or up to 2 hours.
- Sprinkle 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour on a sheet of parchment.
- Lay remaining 4 sticks of butter on top, side by side; sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons flour.
- Top with more parchment; pound butter with a rolling pin until it’s about ½ inch (1,3 cm) thick.
- Remove top paper, fold butter in half, replace paper; pound butter until it’s ½ inch thick.
- Repeat 2 or 3 more times until it is pliable.
- Using a bench scraper, shape butter into a 6-inch (15 cm) square; wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until chilled, about 10 minutes.
- Lightly dust work surface with flour.
- Roll out dough to a 9-inch (23 cm) round; place butter package in center.
- Using a parking knife or bench scraper, lightly score dough to outline butter square.
- Remove butter; set aside.
- Starting from each side of marked square, gently roll out dough to form 4 flaps, each 4 to 5 inches (10 to 13 cm) long; do not touch square.
- Return butter to center square; fold flaps over butter.
- Press with your hands to seal.
- With the rolling pin, gently pound the dough all over in regular intervals until it is about 1 inch (2,5 cm) thick; this will soften the dough, making it easier to roll.
- Working in only one direction (lengthwise), gently roll out the dough to a 20-by-9-inch (51-by-23-cm) rectangle, squaring corners with the side of the rolling pin or your hands as you go.
- Using a dry pastry brush, sweep off excess flour. (highly recommend doing this, because the dough will not stick if there is any excess flour on top!)
- With a short side facing you, fold the rectangle in thirds like a business letter.
- Turn the dough a quarter-turn clockwise, so the flap opening faces right, like a book. (sounds all very complicated, but it’s really easy) This completes the first turn.
- Roll out the dough again to a 20-by-9-inch rectangle, rolling in the same lengthwise direction; fold dough again into thirds. This completes the second turn.
- Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour.
- Repeat the rolling, turning and chilling process for a total of 6 turns; always start each turn with the opening of the dough to the right.
- Wrap dough in plastic; refrigerate 3 to 4 hours before using the dough.
- Use dough within a day, or freeze it for up to 3 months. Don’t leave puff pastry in the refrigerator for more than 1 day or it will lose its ability to puff properly in the oven.
Chocolate Napoleon recipe:
- 1 pound Puff Pastry (see recipe above)
- Chocolate Pastry Cream (see recipe below)
- ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled (I suggest omit the butter and replace it with white shortening, so that the icing will look white, not butter-colored!)
- 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
- 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
- 2 teaspoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
- On a lightly floured piece of parchment paper, roll out Puff Pastry to a 12-inch (30,5 cm) square, about 1/8 inch (0,5 cm) thick.
- Using a pastry cutter or pizza wheel, cut squares into three 12-by-4-inch (30,5-by-10-cm) strips.
- Transfer dough and parchment to a large baking sheet; prick over with a fork.
- Cover with plastic wrap; chill in the refrigerator or freezer until firm, about 30 minutes. Mean while preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C.
- Transfer sheet to oven; bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until pastry is puffed and golden around the edges, about 10 minutes.
- Set another baking sheet directly on pastry strips (weird, I know) and continue baking until pastry is light golden in the center, 6 to 8 minutes more.
- Remove top baking sheet; bake until pastry is baked through and golden brown, 6 minutes more.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. (be very careful with the puff pastry, because it is very fragile and will break very easily)
- In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, butter (or shortening), corn syrup and 1 tablespoon milk. If the mixture is too thick to pour, add additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until it reaches the consistency of sour cream.
- Transfer a quarter of the glaze to a small bowl; whisk in cocoa.
- Transfer chocolate glaze to a paper cornet; set aside.
- Pour white glaze onto one of the pastry strips; spread evenly with an offset spatula.
- Cut the tip of the paper cornet, and pipe lines of chocolate glaze crosswise over the white glaze, about ½ inch (1,3 cm) apart.
- Drag the tip of a wooden skewer down the length of the glazed strip, in alternating directions, to create a decorative pattern.
- Fit a pastry bag with a 5/8-inch plain tip (such as an Ateco #808) and fill with half of the Chocolate Pastry Cream. (that would be way too much, I used 1/3 of the pastry cream to fill the entire Napoleon)
- Pipe an even layer onto another pastry strip.
- Top with the remaining pastry strip, pressing gently to secure.
- Fill the pastry bag with the remaining pastry cream, and pipe evenly onto the strip.
- Place the glazed pastry on top.
- Once assembled, the Napoleon is best eaten the same day; slice with a serrated knife.
Chocolate Pastry Cream recipe:
Ingredients: (this makes way too much, so I suggest you halve it!)
- 2 cups whole milk
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped (I used 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
pinch of salt
- 4 large egg yolks
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, ¼ cup sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, and salt.
- Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch, and remaining ¼ cup sugar.
- Whisking constantly, slowly pour about ½ cup of the hot-milk mixture into the egg-yolk mixture. Continue adding milk mixture, ½ cup at a time, until it has been incorporated.
- Pour mixture back into saucepan, and cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens and registers 160°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 minutes. (mine needed 45 seconds)
- Remove and discard vanilla bean.
- Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
- Add the butter and chopped chocolate, and beat on medium speed until the butter and chocolate melts and the mixture cools, about 5 minutes. (it will seems as if the pastry cream isn’t warm enough to melt the chocolate but have faith)