Delicious Handmade Gifts Made Easy
The festive season is almost upon us and soon we will be feverishly shopping, wrapping and delivering gifts.
Whilst we’re visiting friends (and furtively swapping children’s gifts from the car boot) I like to take a little something scrumptious, beautifully wrapped, of course.
This year I have been inspired
by the Dairy Diary to make
these fabulous Napoleons.
Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to make Napoleons
Time 1½ hrs
Makes 8-10 slices
Calories 513 Fat 18.3g of which 7.4g is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians
For the pastry
Ready-rolled frozen puff pastry 2 x 375g packets, thawed
For the pastry cream
Egg yolks 3
Caster sugar 200g (7oz)
Plain flour 50g (2oz)
Cornflour 25g (1oz)
Milk 500ml (18fl oz)
Vanilla extract ½ tsp
For the glacé icing
Vanilla extract ¼ tsp
Icing sugar 225g (8oz), sifted
For the chocolate drizzle
25g (1oz) Baking sheets and/or trays
Icing pen or piping bag
Secrets of pastry cream
Pastry cream or crème pâtissière is a thick custard sauce used in open fruit tarts and in many small pastry delicacies.
The recipe here uses cornflour to thicken the sauce; many recipes use custard powder instead. Both work well, but custard powder will give a yellow finish, whereas cornflour gives a cream-coloured result. Cook the sauce until it is really thick.
Making the pastry layers
1 Preheat oven to 220°C(200°fan)/425°F/Gas 7. Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper. Lay unrolled puff pastry sheets on prepared baking sheets, and prick them all over with a fork. Lay another baking sheet on top of each sheet of pastry. You may need to do this in batches.
2 Bake for 18–23 minutes, or until crisp and golden. Carefully remove pastry onto a rack to cool. Cut each sheet in half and trim edges. You will have one spare piece.
Making the pastry cream
3 Beat egg yolks and sugar until white, add flour and cornflour and mix well. Add ¼ of milk to loosen mixture. Put remaining milk and vanilla extract into a pan and bring to boil. Pour onto eggs, stir well, return to heat and cook, stirring, until mixture thickens. Transfer to a bowl. Cover surface with cling film and cool completely without stirring.
Making the glacé icing
4 Add vanilla extract to icing sugar and whisk in boiled water, spoon by spoon, until you get a good spreading consistency.
Creating the Napoleons
5 Lay one sheet of cooked pastry onto a board and spread it with a thick layer of pastry cream. Lay a second sheet of pastry on top and spread on another layer of pastry cream.
6 Put on final layer of pastry and spread with an even layer of glacé icing.
7 Melt chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water and put it into an icing pen or piping bag with a fine nozzle. Draw horizontal chocolate lines at regular intervals over surface of the icing.
8 Take a metal skewer and lightly drag it diagonally across lines to make an attractive pattern. Leave to set before slicing carefully with a sharp knife into individual servings.
These exquisite pastries are taken from the 2016 Dairy Diary available now.
And these will go into a cake
box adorned with a decorative
pompom (these are also fabulous
for decorating your home for
the Christmas season).
How to Make the Perfect Paper Pompom
Why not send me a photo of your pompoms?