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
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.
130ml iced water
few drops of yellow food colouring (optional)
- Preheat oven to 220degC
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Put a cooling rack on top of the dough. Transfer to a 220degC preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes (or until lightly golden)
- 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
0.5Tbsp lemon juice
few drops of vanilla essence
- Whip unsalted butter until fluffy. Add in syrup and combined. Stir in lemon juice and vanilla essenceWalnut meringue
20g egg white powder
70g caster sugar
40g cake flour
125g diced walnuts
- Sift flour with a sieve and mix with diced walnuts
- 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.
- Transfer to a preheated oven at 190degC and bake for 20 minutes
- Take out and cut into two equal portions as the width of the pastryAssembly
- Cut the pastry into three pieces of equal width and sandwich in the walnut meringue and butter cream. Cut into slices.