Sunday, February 10, 2013

Banana Cream Napoleons

Napoleons are cream “sandwiches” made with crispy puff pastry and filled with custard and whipped cream. Banana Cream Napoleans include, of course, sweet bananas.

Food Lust People Love: Napoleons are cream “sandwiches” made with crispy puff pastry and filled with custard and whipped cream. Banana Cream Napoleans include, of course, sweet bananas.

This week’s Sunday Supper theme is, of course, Valentines’ Day, so when I was contemplating what might be a good treat for my sweetie, it had to be something banana cream related.  Everyone knows how much he loves banana cream pie, but I thought I would pretty it up and create a banana cream Napoleon.

Napoleons are cream “sandwiches” made with crispy puff pastry and filled with custard and whipped cream. You find them in all the windows of fancy pastry shops, where, sadly, you do not find banana cream pie. More's the pity. This rendition would rectify that.

The banana cream Napoleons came out lovely, and my husband enjoyed them but, in the spirit of full disclosure, I have to tell you that he did ask why I was trying to improve on perfection and said, in future, he’d still rather have his ideal, the banana cream pie. All right. All right. Duly noted!

They were fun to make and I was pleased.  (I am thinking my next Napoleon might be completely untraditional.  Savory with whipped cream cheese and vegetable fillings, perhaps.  Wouldn't that be nice for a ladies' lunch?)

Ingredients for two large Napoleons
Vanilla custard – made from this recipe here, or your own, and chilled till set
About 17.5 oz or 500g puff pastry (A little more or less won’t matter.)
Flour for rolling out pastry
3 1/2 oz or 100g powdered or icing sugar (A little more than 3/4 cup)
3 1/2 teaspoons milk (You may not use it all.  Add gradually!)
1 large banana
1 cup whipping cream

Method
Preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C and line your baking sheet with parchment paper.

Sprinkle on a little flour and roll out your puff pastry dough till it’s about this thin as in my photo and pretty much covers your baking sheet.  I stick a piece of cling film to the countertop first because it makes lifting the puff pastry easier once it's rolled out.




Roll the pastry over your rolling pin and transfer it to the lined baking sheet.



Use a fork to dock the pastry (poke holes in it) so it doesn’t puff up too much while baking.


Cover it with another piece of parchment paper and top it with another baking sheet.



Bake for about 15 minutes, in your preheated oven.  Remove the top baking sheet and piece of parchment and bake for a further 15-20 or until the pastry is a nice golden color.

Just after the top baking sheet and parchment were removed. 

While your pastry is baking, whip your cream into firm peaks.  Pop it in the refrigerator until you need it.

Remove the pastry from the oven and transfer it to a large cutting board.  Trim off the sides so you have a nice straight rectangle.


Use a measuring tape to figure out how to cut your pastry into eight even rectangles.  The size of each doesn’t really matter, as long as they are equal.  Pick the two flattest and possibly least attractive of your rectangles and set aside to be the tops.  You are going to cover these with glaze any way.

I think traditional Napoleons have only three layers of puff pastry.  But then I've always been an over-achiever. 

In a small bowl, mix your powdered or icing sugar and the first teaspoon of milk.  Stir well.


Add another teaspoon of milk and stir well again.


You are looking for a consistency that will pour but then stay put without running completely off of the puff pastry.  Add just a little more milk until you reach that.  I ended up adding 3 1/2 teaspoons altogether, the last 1/2 teaspoon a 1/4 teaspoon at a time.


Place the two puff pastry rectangles you chose as your tops on a low wire rack with a piece of parchment paper underneath it to catch the glaze run off.  (I reused the one that baked on top of the pastry.)  Spoon the glaze over the two pieces of pastry, using the spoon to gently push the glaze over the sides.



Using a small decorating tip, pipe small lines of custard across the glaze.  Run a toothpick back and forth to create the traditional Napoleon zebra design.


Since I used custard instead of chocolate, the zebra stripe wasn’t exactly traditional or as pretty, but chocolate just wouldn’t fly in banana cream pie. One can only take so many liberties with a beloved recipe. Set the tops aside.


Start your “sandwich” building with one puff pastry rectangle as the base and pipe or spread on vanilla custard first.   I decided piping was much easier since spreading seemed to lift bits of the puff pastry.


Peel one side of your banana and slice it into thin slices with a sharp knife.


Line up about eight (or however many comfortably fit on your rectangle) slices on top of the custard.

Pipe or spread on the whipped cream.  Once again, I opted for piping, using one of the flattish tips meant for leaf-making.


Top with another crispy piece of puff pastry and continue the process – custard, banana, cream, puff pastry - until you are ready to add the top.  Hold the top piece by the edges, so you don’t mess up the zebra pattern and press gently onto the layer of whipped cream.


Repeat with the second Napoleon so you will have two, one for you and one for your sweetie. Eat the balance of the vanilla custard, if any, with a spoon. Same for the whipped cream. Pretend it all came out even. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Food Lust People Love: Napoleons are cream “sandwiches” made with crispy puff pastry and filled with custard and whipped cream. Banana Cream Napoleans include, of course, sweet bananas.

Enjoy!

If you are looking for Valentines’ Day inspiration, you have come to the right place!  Have a look at all the fabulous dishes and sweet treats the #SundaySupper bloggers are featuring this week!

#SundaySupper Valentine’s Day Breakfasts, Apps & Main Dishes:

#SundaySupper Valentine’s Day Sweet Eats:


#SundaySupper Valentine’s Day Drinks:

Pin these Banana Cream Napoleans!


Food Lust People Love: Napoleons are cream “sandwiches” made with crispy puff pastry and filled with custard and whipped cream. Banana Cream Napoleans include, of course, sweet bananas.





49 comments :

  1. Oh my goodness, Stacy! Your Banana Cream Napoleons are heavenly!


    P.s.I've pinned your impressive work of art onto the Ninja Baker's Great Desserts & Gateaux Pinterest board.

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  2. Thanks, Kim! I had a lot of fun making them. I've always envied the fancy pastries in the bake shop windows. Off to follow you on Pinterest!

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  3. Look at you being so clever and coming up with something so unique! I love this idea so much.

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  4. That looks absolutely delicious and great. I like also very much how you explain it step by step with all the picturess.

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  5. I am totally going to make these for my husband for his birthday next month - he'll be thrilled! Awesome recipe!

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  6. Yes, it's true...sometimes a good thing just doesn't need improving. BUT, it's always fun to play around - and these Napoleons are stunning! A great twist. And oh my goodness is my mouth watering...

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  7. Okay, wow! What a napoleon. Oh, and it made me laugh about what your husband said about just making his pie the next time. It sounds just like something my husband would say.

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  8. Wow ! This looks fancy. I could never make it,It requires skill !! but sure am enjoying gawking at it !!

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  9. Could these be any prettier?! no. lol Beautiful and tasty looking. yum!

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  10. Thanks, Laura! It wasn't hard to do, really.

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  11. Thank you, Christian. I think photos are so helpful when a person is trying something new.

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  12. I hope he likes them, Pam! Or maybe just make him the birthday banana cream pie. :)

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  13. I had a lot of fun, and he did enjoy it so that's what matters. Thank you, Heather!

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  14. You don't mess with perfection. I have been told! On the other hand, he eats anything I make with enjoyment, so I can't complain.

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  15. It wasn't that hard, Sunithi! You could totally do this, I promise.

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  16. Awesome, awesome, awesome! I've been wanting an easy recipe to make Napoleons and can't wait to experiment!

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  17. Paula @ Vintage KitchenFebruary 10, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    Amazing job with the dessert and with the pictures! The flavors are excellent together and it looks so, so gorgeous!

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  18. Hahaha!!! I love the "eat the balance" part - because I TOTALLY would make sure I did that step ;)

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  19. Incredible recipe! Photos are amazing too!

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  20. I really want some right now! This reminds me of something much less elegant that I have had with graham crackers instead of puff pastry. I remember loving it so yours would be divine! Your Valentine is very luck!

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  21. What a great dessert! My hubs is a coconut cream guy - I think I'm going to steal this idea for his birthday :)

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  22. This is beautiful - and you had me at banana cream!

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  23. These look so impressive!!! I love the banana spin on them...mmm!

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  24. This fits my dad perfectly, now I just need to conquer my fear of puff pastry

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  25. I think the real thing calls for something called crème pâtissière, Amanda, but that has gelatin in it to stabilize it and I knew that my homemade vanilla custard was plenty firm enough and would surely taste better. Do give it a try!

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  26. Thanks, Paula! According to my husband, vanilla custard and bananas are the best combination!

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  27. Thanks, Conni! You will have some leftover but that's not always a bad thing. :)

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  28. Graham crackers would have been much faster and easier! Why didn't I think of that?! Possible not as good though. How about Nilla wafers, to make it really retro though?

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  29. Ooh, coconut cream would be lovely too! Let me know how it turns out.

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  30. Thanks, Katy! I was pleased with how they turned out. :)

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  31. Puff pastry is really rather easy, Sarah. You will be pleasantly surprised, I think, and start using it for EVERYthing. At least I did when I discovered it a few years back. Search my site. It turns up a few times. :)

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  32. Thank you, Katie! They do look impressive but really aren't very hard. Double bonus!

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  33. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! I love the inspiration for this dish. It reminds me of Top Chef when they deconstruct and reinterpret dishes :) Great tutorial & photos too! Your knife skills are impressive to get those bananas so thinly and evenly sliced! Happy Valentine's Day!

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  34. oh my goodness!!!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! so absolutely beautiful!!! just stunning! love this! Did you make the puff pastry from scratch too? if so, please forward me the recipe. . I love this!! Just beautiful!

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  35. Thank you, Alice! I must confess that I did not make the puff pastry. It's on my bucket list and I am determined to do it soon. I've got Jenni's video bookmarked for when I get around to it so I'll pass on that link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUwubeyurYE&feature=share&list=UUEPw6bngupajspqzcuXlwFw

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  36. Thank you, Kelly, but you give me way too much credit. Bananas are like cutting butter. :)

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  37. Wow! This looks absolutely decadent and so so good! We love custards with anything and I know I have to try this now :)

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  38. oh my goodness! Why have I never had Napoleons! I need these in my life asap!

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  39. Stacy, this is an amazing post. I adore Napoleons and banana cream pie separately. Put them together? Yes please! This is absolutely stunning. I love your step by step photos - it really shows how much work and detail went into this labour of love. I am blown away by how pretty this is.

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  40. These are beautiful! What a great twist on banana cream pie! (A love of mine that I am ashamed to say I have NEVER made. I can't believe it! Thanks for the kick in the pants to get working on that. :) )

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  41. Sounds great to me!

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  42. I don't know, Angie! You need to fix that right away!

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  43. Thank you, Nancy! It was a lot of fun and not very hard at all, as you can see. I love piping bags!

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  44. Thanks, Sarah! As you probably read, I make a few banana cream pies a year and they are always eagerly demolished. You need to make one!

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  45. You did an amazing job on these! They look totally professional.

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  46. Thank you, Heather! You have a generous eye. :) I see all sorts of imperfections.

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  47. Simply amazing and beautiful at the same time!!! ~ Bea @ galactosemia in PDX

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