How to make french layered dessert, French Napoleon from scratch. There are 3 steps to making this dessert. It’s much easier to make the puff pastry 1 day before. The following day, make the vanilla bean custard, then chill for a few hours. In the meantime, bake the puff pastry and let it cool. Finally, make the royal icing and melt the chocolate for the design. You’re ready to assemble your french layered dessert when you have all of your steps prepped and finished.
Eggless Puff Pastry Recipe
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 100 g butter cold
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 400 g butter room temperature
- 1/2 cup flour
- Measure flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.
- Cut in cold butter with a pastry blender until it resembles coarse crumbs.
- Pour water into a well in the center of the flour.
- Mix and knead for a few minutes until the dough becomes smooth.
- Chill dough for 30 min. Wrap in cling wrap.
- Mix room temperature butter and flour together. Shape into a 9" square by beating it with a rolling pin in between 2 cling wrap pieces on a cutting board.
- Roll the dough out to a 12" square. Place butter in a diamond shape on the dough.
- Close the dough around the butter like an envelope and seal the edges so the butter is fully enclosed.
- Use flour as needed to roll the dough into a rectangle shape until its ~ 1/4" thick. Fold the dough like a letter. Fold one side over the center. Then fold other other side over the center creating 3 layers of even size.
- Roll out the dough into a rectangle again and repeat the letter folding process. Chill for 30 min.
- Repeat this process until you have completed 6 folds, chilling for 30 min in between every 2 folds.
- Your puff pastry is ready to be used.
Vanilla Bean Custard Filling
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 vanilla bean seeds scraped
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 5 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar granulated
- 3 tbsp flour
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- Heat whole milk over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add vanilla bean seeds and vanilla pod to the mixture.
- While the milk is heating up, place egg yolks, flour, cornstarch, sugar and whisk together in a large heat proof mixing bowl.
- Heat the milk until just before it comes to a boil. Remove the vanilla bean pod. Slowly add the hot milk ~1 tbsp at a time to start, to the egg mixture. Whisk vigorously so you do not cook the eggs. When you have added all of the hot milk to the egg mixture, strain the mixture by using a sifter over the saucepan, and pour the egg/milk mixture back into the saucepan.
- Heat this mixture over medium heat until it thickens.
- When it thickens up, you'll be able to feel the resistance in your whisk. Set a timer to heat it another 30 seconds, then remove it from the heat source.
- Let your custard cool down a bit, add the vanilla extract.
- Once it's cooled down enough to go in the fridge, put a bit of cling wrap on the custard to prevent it from making a skin.
- Chill for 2 hours.
French Napoleon Icing Recipe
- 2 egg whites room temperature
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 3 cups icing sugar
- Beat egg whites and lemon juice together for a couple of minutes until foamy/fluffy.
- Add icing sugar slowly until it's fully combined.
- Mix on medium speed until it's smooth and glossy. Add more icing sugar if necessary to achieve consistency that you want.
How to Assemble French Layered Dessert
- Split puff pastry in half. You only need half of the dough to create this dessert. Freeze the other half for up to 6 months.
- Roll puff pastry into a rectangle, until it’s about 1/2 cm or smaller thickness. The thinner the better. The dough will be hard to roll out. Prick the dough all around with a fork.
- Cut the rolled dough into 3 equal parts lengthwise with a knife.
- Place dough on a pan lined with parchment paper. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the dough. Place another pan on top of the parchment paper/dough to weigh it down.
- Bake at 400 degrees F for 25 min. Remove the top baking pan and parchment paper 5 min before it’s done baking to create a golden color for the pastry.
- Let the pastry cool on a wire rack.
- Warm up ~50 g bittersweet chocolate in the microwave. Put the chocolate in a piping bag, and cut a very tiny hole at the end. Set aside.
- Place 1 layer of pastry on a plate. Spread half of the pastry cream on the pastry, right to the edges.
- Place another piece of pastry on top of the pastry cream.
- Add the rest of the pastry cream on top of the second layer of pastry.
- Now, place the third pastry piece on top.
- Pour the royal icing top of the third pastry layer.
- Cover the royal icing in lines of your melted chocolate.
- Once you’ve made all of your lines on your royal icing, use a knife to gently cut through the icing. You’ll want to cut the opposite way of your lines to give it an aesthetic look to it.
- Serve immediately, or store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Store in the freezer for up to 1 month.