Friday, July 11, 2014

Napoleon Pastry (Asian Style)

When I first started using the internet to search for recipes (before my blogging days), there were so many things I couldn't find, especially when it came to the less commonly eaten things that I'd wanted to make. And even less so, recipes that actually seemed reliable!

Napoleon Pastry

I'd been searching for a recipe for napoleon pastry/napoleon cake for a while before giving up and forgetting about it. I'd wanted to make them the way I'd always known- that is, the type they sell at Asian bakeries (cripsy biscuit-like pastries of puff pastry, walnuts, and sponge cake or whateverelse the bakery felt like putting in), but the only thing that google came up with was vanilla slice (perhaps the more common version/definition of napoleon).

I'm sure there's plenty of recipes online for this particular version now, but I was reminded of my quest to find such recipe when I came across it in an Asian cookbook. This particular version uses puff pastry to sandwich together buttercream and walnut meringue, which is quite similar to one of my favourite versions of this pastry. It's a bit fiddly to put together because you have to put together the three components, but it's well worth the effort- these pastries are amazing! There's plenty of textural contrast, with layers of flaky, buttery pastry against soft meringue and crunchy walnuts which impart a fragrant nuttiness.

The photo really don't do these justice (they didn't last long enough for me to take good photos!)- they taste a lot better than the mess they look like!!



Napoleon Pastry Recipe
aka 拿破崙酥 in Chinese
Recipe from 西點36變

Puff Pastry
Note: As I was pressed for time, I didn't have a chance to make my own puff pastry, so I used store bought pastry instead. I found that two sheets of the store bought stuff was enough to sandwich the walnut meringue, although it meant that I had to assemble them into two pastries instead of one large one as per recipe (I cut each puff pastry into three pieces, and the walnut meringue into four pieces of equal width). The book instructions for making puff pastry aren't very good (as they are intended to be understood along with the pictures in the book), so I'd suggest using your own puff pastry making method. 
250g flour
30g margarine
130ml iced water
140g butter
few drops of yellow food colouring (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 220degC
  2. Sift flour with a fine sieve. Rub margarine with sifted flour. Make a well to add in iced water and edible yellow colouring. Arrange butter cubes on surrounding of the well. Knead to smooth dough. Pack in a plastic bag and chill in a refrigerator for resting. 
  3. Roll the dough in a rectangle with verticle edges. Brush out surface with extra flour. Fold bottom and top of dough toward the centre and fold like a book. This is the 'book fold' method. 
  4. Turn in 90deg and do 'book fold' method once. Transfer to a refrigerator for resting, about 30 minutes. Repeat twice and so that you have folded the dough a total of 4 times.
  5. Take out the dough and roll to a rectangle of 38cm x 26cm x3cm with a rolling pin. Place on a silpat and pierce with a fork, then rest for 30 minutes. 
  6. Put a cooling rack on top of the dough. Transfer to a 220degC preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes (or until lightly golden)
  7. Take out the semi-cooked pastry and remove out the cooling rack. Dust with caster sugar. Reduce oven temperature to 200degC and bake for another 20 minutes. Remove the pastry and let cool. 
Butter Cream

120g unsalted butter
40g syrup
0.5Tbsp lemon juice
few drops of vanilla essence
  1. Whip unsalted butter until fluffy. Add in syrup and combined. Stir in lemon juice and vanilla essence
Walnut meringue

20g egg white powder
190g water
70g caster sugar
40g cake flour
125g diced walnuts

  1. Sift flour with a sieve and mix with diced walnuts
  2. Whisk egg white powder and water in a bowl. Whip up egg white and slowly add in caster sugar to firm peaks. Stir in sifted flour, diced walnut and spread on a silpat. 
  3. Transfer to a preheated oven at 190degC and bake for 20 minutes
  4. Take out and cut into two equal portions as the width of the pastry
Assembly
  1. Cut the pastry into three pieces of equal width and sandwich in the walnut meringue and butter cream. Cut into slices. 



14 comments:

Ivy Sew said...

Hi Von, this Napoleon Pastry looks great and yummylicious! I would love to come over for tea with you, may I? hehehe.. Thanks for sharing and you have a fabulous day. Cheers :)

Emma | Fork and Good said...

Oh man that looks good. So airy... is it crispy?! I've never had a napoleon pastry before!

Emma @ Bake Then Eat said...

This looks really good I am glad you were able to recreate the recipe you had such fond memories of. I have to admit I use store bought puff pastry most of the time, I have made it from scratch but it is so time consuming!

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

I love the flaky texture of napoleon pastry! I would love to make it one day. <3

Elzbieta Hester said...

Nice, I never thought about making my own napoleon, they just look so complicated. Thanks for the recipe and the tips. Your turned out fantastic!

ela h.
Gray Apron

Cakelaw said...

This cake sounds really good. I know of a different version of Napoleon cake with puff pastry, sponge, jam and buttercream icing on top - an old fashioned cake you don't see much now.

Cheri Savory Spoon said...

Hi Von, wow! walnut meringue, sounds delicious! I think your pictures turned out great!

Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

Awww I had a small obsession with Napoleons from St Honore during my uni days. Yours looks just like the ones in the shops!

Lavender and Lime (http://tandysinclair.com) said...

oh my! That meringue sounds divine, and it looks amazing :)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A fabulous creation! Your Napoleon pastries look divine.

Cheers,

Rosa

Lilli @ sugar and cinnamon said...

Wow this looks so tasty! And such an interesting recipe~ I've never tried anything like this before

Angie Schneider said...

So flaky and wonderfully delicious with walnut filling.

Liz Berg said...

Wow, what an incredible combination of flavors and textures! That's one lovely dessert!

Joanne said...

Napoleon recipes have always eluded me also, but this one is now bookmarked! I think yours looks gorgeous!

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