Since I still had puff pastry left over after making the vols-au-vents and turnovers, I decided it was high time for me to try my hand at pastry cream. The first pastry that makes use of pastry cream that popped into my head was the napoleon (or mille-feuille), since a friend told me a while ago that I really should try to make them. I filed it away at the time, thinking it wouldn’t be anytime soon that I’d be making puff pastry! Thanks to the Daring Bakers though, Isuccessfully conquered it. When hubby took a bite of one of these, he told me that they’re “pretty much to die for.” I agreed. I hope you enjoy them too!
For the pastry cream:
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 3 Tbsp cornstarch
For the glaze:
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 tsp imitation butter flavor
- 3 Tbsp boiling water
Chocolate for drizzling:
- 2 ounces chocolate
- 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
Heat the milk, sugar, and vanilla bean in a saucepan over medium heat.
Whisk together the egg yolks and in a small bowl. Add in the flour and cornstarch.
When the milk just starts to boil, remove from the heat. Temper the eggs with the warm milk, and then pour all of the egg mixture into the milk. Whisk constantly over medium heat until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat. Cover with plastic so a crust doesn’t form on the top, and then chill in the refrigerator until ready to use. (The picture shows mine after refrigerating overnight – I forgot the plastic for the top, oops).
For the glaze, combine the sugar and butter extract in a medium mixing bowl.
Stir in the boiling water.
For the chocolate topping, melt the chocolate either in the microwave or using a double boiler. Stir in the vegetable oil.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the puff pastry into rectangles as big as you want the pastries to be. You’ll need three of the same size for each pastry.
Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for 15 minutes longer.
Since they puffed up so much, I needed to flatten mine a bit. I just used a fork to smush them a little.
To assemble one of the pastries, spread pastry cream over the bottom two layers.
Stack the two layers and then top with the third pastry layer. Spread the glaze over the top and then drizzle with the melted chocolate quickly before the glaze begins to harden. Run a knife through the chocolate to make the pattern. Chill for about an hour before serving.