Sunday, March 27, 2011

Dulce de Leche Napoleons

Dulce de Leche Napoleons

So before Sis arrived for her visit, she asked that we try making this new dessert together.  Flaky layers of golden puff pastry are layered with pastry cream and dulce de leche in what I'll call a napoleon.  I didn't realize this meant I would be making and assembling the dessert while Sis watched and tasted.  But that's all right.  After all, Sis has her hands full these days.

Audrey hoodie

Look at her adorable peanut!  Or, as I call her, My Little Alien.  I can't help it, I'm in love with 2-month-old Audrey.  She really is a handful.  I tried to help, and felt up to my elbows in diapers all week.

Audrey hongbao

Here she was at 3 weeks old, during Chinese New Year, with a hongbao from my dad for his first grandchild.  But enough baby love (for now).  Let's get back to that pastry.

Baked Puff Pastry

You can make life much easier by using storebought puff pastry.  I've made it before, and it's a pain.  Just thaw your storebought pastry on the counter for 40 minutes, prick all over with a fork, and bake.  I took the recipe a step further by baking with a rack on top of the pastry, to help with an even rise so it doesn't dome so much in the middle.  Then  cool the pastry, split horizontally, and fill.  Easy!

You do have to make the other components, the pastry cream and the dulce de leche, so you may want to prepare those the day before.  I chose a dulce de leche recipe that didn't involve the risk of an exploding can.  Now I'm wondering what other combinations of flavors I can use to make different napoleons.

Dulce de Leche Napoleon 3

And Sis?  She loved the dessert, but has one tip: Serve the rest of the dulce de leche on the side, because you're going to want to pour more on top.

Dulce de Leche Napoleons
Adapted from My Colombian Recipes
I essentially kept this recipe the same, but integrated the rack into the baking for even rising, as well as tempering the pastry cream because it helps avoid scrambling your eggs.

For the Napoleons:
One package store-bought puff pastry, thawed
1 cup dulce de leche (Recipe I used follows)
Confectioners sugar
Pastry cream

For the Pastry Cream:
1½ cups milk
½ cup sugar
Pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbs cornstarch
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 tbs butter

The Pastry:
Preheat the oven to 400°.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cut pastry into three strips along fold marks.  Place on a baking sheet and poke a few holes in each strip with a fork.  Place a baking rack on top of the strips.  Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the rack and bake five minutes more, or until golden. Remove from baking sheets and let them cool on a rack.

The Pastry Cream:
Pour the milk in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt.  Gradually add the cornstarch mixture to the milk and cook, stirring often, about 6 minutes or until it thickens. Slowly whisk a few tablespoons of the hot milk mixture into the yolks, and then pour the yolk mixture into the saucepan.  Cook for about 2 minutes more, until it thickens, stirring the whole time.

Stir in the butter and vanilla extract and remove from the heat.  Let it cool at room temperature, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Assembling the Dessert:
Using a fork, split each pastry into two layers. Spread pastry cream on one pastry layer. Repeat layers. Top with dulce de leche.

Dulce de Leche or Confiture de Lait
From Jumbo Empanadas

Preheat the oven to 425° .

Pour one can (400 gr/14 ounces) of sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk) into a glass pie plate or shallow baking dish. Stir in a few flecks of sea salt.

Set the pie plate within a larger pan, such as a roasting pan, and add hot water until it reaches halfway up the side of the pie plate.

Cover the pie plate snugly with aluminum foil and bake for 1 to 1¼ hours. (Check a few times during baking and add more water to the roasting pan as necessary).
Once the dulce de leche is nicely browned and caramelized, remove from the oven and let cool. Once cool, whisk until smooth.
Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Warm gently in a warm water bath or microwave oven before using.

Sweet tooth not satisfied?  Check out Sweets for a Saturday.

19 comments:

  1. I'm in love with dulce de leche right now and I love how you've used it here. Beautiful Napoleons!

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  2. omg, yum! this looks like an excellent use of pastry dough. and love the baby ;)

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  3. Incredibly beautiful dessert! Adorable as heck pics. ;)

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  4. Your dulce de leche looks perfect (just like store-bought infact!) SO YUMMY! Now I've gotta get a slice of that from a the bakery down the road to satisfy my cravings :)

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  5. That looks so good. The baby is adorable :D

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  6. Your pastry looks incredible! I'm sorta drooling... Looks absolutely delicious.

    But that baby is adorable!!!

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  7. Thanks, everyone! It was fun to make and nice to try something different.
    And thanks for the compliments on little Audrey. I can't wait until she'd old enough for a baking lesson.

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  8. I'd love to watch you make this yummy dessert...it looks scrumptious. Your niece is just adorable, too!

    I have a question for you...do you mind e-mailing me at lizzy.do at gmail.com? Thanks!

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  9. That is just gorgeous! Lucky sister. :)

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  10. Your pastry is almost as sweet as that baby :-). This is my first visit to your blog and I've spent some time browsing through your earlier entries. I'm so glad I did that. I really like the food and recipes you feature here and I'll definitely be back. You've created a lovely spot for your readers to visit. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  11. Your Dulce de Lecch Napoleons looks simply delicious. Baby Audrey is just adorable.

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  12. Just adorable. This was what I needed to see tonight...the joy of new life. Thank you for sharing this delicious dessert, my friend. After such a long and hard week, it is good to visit the blogs that I love. I hope you have a safe and happy weekend.

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  13. These look so beautiful! I love pastry and I bet with dulce de leche it would be such a treat

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  14. this looks seriously great! thanks for sharing, lots of love happening for this and all your posts :)
    -meg
    @ http://clutzycooking.blogspot.com

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  15. Awesome post. I used to have Napoleans as a kid but haven't even thought about then in 15 years. Going to have to make these for sure. Thanks

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  16. great recipe! Will have to bake it some day!

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  17. I found you on Sweet as Sugar Cookies. This looks absolutely delicious!

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  18. Hook a sistah up with some bites!

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  19. Yeah you're definitely on my blog roll on my site now! I can't stop looking through your recipes, they're all so appealing. Keep up the great work! =]

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