June 05, 2016
Desserts, Dairy, Alcohol,
Fruit, North American, Make-Ahead, Small Batch Cooking, Entertaining, Father's Day, Ladies Luncheon, Mother's Day, Romantic Dinner, Sunday Dinner, Weeknight Meals, Hand Mix/Whisk, Marinate, Oven Bake, Refrigerator, Vegetarian, Pudding Mix, Make it from a box more
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"This is an old favorite; and, very easy to make. I really don't do much baking; yet, this is very easy to prepare ... even I can do it. But, it is a perfect dish to entertain with. It looks elegant, yet delicious; and, you can make it anytime of the year. Just use whatever fruit that is in season. Berries are delicious (strawberries, black or red raspberries, blueberries), peaches, apricots, plums, mango, guava, bananas, etc. Add a little of your favorite liquor (or flavored extract), chocolate; and, of course the pastry cream. A perfect dessert to prep ahead - which, only takes minutes to put together."
Pastry Cream ... Whisk the pudding and cold milk in a bowl until thick and creamy. Add the cream cheese, and mix until smooth. Slowly fold in the cool whip; cover with plastic wrap; and, refrigerate until chilled and firmed up. This is best made about an hour ahead of time.
Fruit ... First, use what is in season. Strawberries, I thin slice; most other berries, I leave whole. Peaches, plums, apricots, I thin slice in wedges; and, even bananas are delicious, thin sliced. Add the fruit to a bowl; then, add sugar, only if necessary (it depends on the sweetness). Then, I like to add a little liquor or extract to really flavor the fruit. Now, my 'go to' is Grand Manier; but, you can also use rum, bourbon - or, any other flavored liquors or extracts. Amaretto and brandy are also really good - so, you can really get creative with this. Mix with the fruit, and let it marinate as you cook the pastry.
Puff Pastry ... Let the pastry thaw in the refrigerator; then, set on a pastry board or counter, lightly dusted with flour. Lightly dust the top as well; then, roll to flatten it our evenly. Using a knife or pizza/pastry cutter, cut the pastry vertically into 3 even pieces. Then, cut, the 3 pieces horizontally into 3 more pieces. Giving you a total of 9 pieces.
Add the pastry squares to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure to leave a little room between each square. Bake in a 350 oven, on the middle shelf for 15 minutes - until golden brown. Let the pastry completely cool.
Napoleons ... Take 3 of the puff pastries and spread the pastry cream on top. Add half of the fruit over the 3 pastries, using a slotted spoon; and, add a few chocolate shavings. Spread 3 more pastries with a bit more cream; and, place - cream side down on the fruit.
Layer 2 - repeat. Add some of the cream on top of the second pastry, add the remaining fruit, chocolate shavings; then, spread the cream mix on the remaining 3 pastries; and, place cream side down, once again. Now, you have a 3 layer napoleon. The top layer has no fruit or cream.
Finish, Serve, and ENJOY! ... Garnish the top pastry with powdered sugar and more chocolate shavings. Maybe a few pieces of fruit as a garnish would be nice. I like to add a dollop (spoon) of whipped topping on top; but, not necessary.
So, have fun with these. The best part ... you can use any in season fruit; and, any flavor combination. You can even added chopped nuts to tour dish. Also, the pastry, cream, and fruit can all be made ahead; which, makes this a perfect dessert to entertain with. It takes just a couple of minutes to put together; and, it is very elegant. But, it also makes a great dessert for family dinners too.
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