Napoleon Recipe

Napoleons are one of those pastries that are entirely made from components you probably already know: puff pastry, pastry cream and poured fondant. That being the case, there’s no “recipe” this week per se, just a list of things you’ll want to have on-hand (all can be made well in advance):

About 18 ounces puff pastry (store-bought is OK)
Half recipe pastry cream
One recipe poured fondant
A few ounces chocolate poured fondant or melted chocolate or ganache

Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll out your puff pastry into a thin sheet, about 12″ x 17″, the dimensions of a half sheet pan or cookie sheet. Place the rolled dough on a parchment-lined sheet and refrigerate it for about 20 minutes.

When ready to bake, poke holes all over the puff pastry sheet with a fork, lay another sheet pan on top of it (to discourage too much puffing), and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the top pan and bake another 20 minutes or so until dark brown (check after 10 to make sure it’s not getting overdone). Allow the sheet to cool, then trim the edges straight and cut the sheet cross-ways into three equal pieces. Layer them one on top of the other with the pastry cream, save for the top, and refrigerate the pastry for about two hours.

When ready to finish, have a squeeze bottle of chocolate poured fondant (or chocolate or ganache) ready. Melt the white fondant in a small saucepan, add 3 1/2 teaspoons water and whisk it in. Allow it to cool to room temperature stirring regular to prevent a skin from forming. Pour it over the pastry, pushing it to the edges of the top layer with an offset spatula, then promptly squeeze stripes of the chocolate fondant down the length of the pastry. Using a knife, toothpick or bench scraper, make the classic “cuts” in the fondant, pulling the chocolate stripe in one direction, then the other.

Refrigerate the pastry at least two more hours to firm before cutting. Slice into strips using a sharp serrated knife and long, gentle strokes. Serve chilled.

10 thoughts on “Napoleon Recipe”

  1. Just made this today. Millefeuilles are my all time favorite dessert (I am lucky enough to live in France & have them available on every street corner). I was ready to make the puff pastry for the first time ever, until I read comments about all the mess ups…then I got really scared & ended up buying pate feuilletee. Though my presentation needs a little work (the fondant hardened before I could draw the lines…) I found the pastry cream way way way too sweet!! I think half the sugar would’ve sufficed. Though I have some steep competition here, I’m pretty happy with mine. I’ll keep working on it & give an update in a weekend or 2!
    P.S. Love, love, love your site!!

    1. Hi Erica!

      I’m very glad you tried making these pastries! You’re not the first to complain about the sweetness…though when I’ve reduced the sugar in the past, some readers have complained that it’s not sweet enough! Perhaps what I’ll do is make a note about adjusting the sugar to your taste. Please keep me updated on your progress!

      – Joe

      1. Good recipe Joe! Also really funny is when you use a ruler which has a tag name of “Shatterproof”. Gotta have that.

        1. I have no idea where I got that, Arthur, but it ended up chipping to the point I had to throw it away. What a loss!


          – Joe

  2. Hi Joe,

    Thanks for the recipe!!! Can’t wait to try it. I was just wondering, have you ever done this using a “rough puff pastry”? For me, making the classic puff pastry is daunting…

    1. Hi Cecilia!

      I haven’t tried it that way, but I see no reason why it wouldn’t work. Considering that pastry makers go to a lot of troubled to defeat the rise of classic puff pastry when making Napoleons, a rough puff might in fact be ideal. Let me know how it goes!

      – Joe

  3. Hi Joe,

    Is the full one-and-a-half batches of fondant actually necessary to cover the top of the Napoleon? It just sounds like a lot…?

    Thanks for the tutorial, I’ve picked up some great tips 🙂

    1. Hi Korena!

      It depends on how neat you are. I don’t like people to run out, so I tend to over-estimate on things like this. If you want to cut the quantities in half, feel free. You can probably get away with it.

      Let me know how they go!

      – Joe

  4. Using an NSF certified thermometer, I found the first step of the process of cooking the puff pastry gave me results just like the pictures, but the second step, the “Remove the top pan and bake another 25-30 minutes until dark brown,” was way off. I checked it after 15 minutes and it was totally black from being burned.

    1. What a shame, Richard!

      I’ve very sorry to hear that. All I can think is that your oven runs hotter than mine. I shall make a note in the recipe to check after ten minutes to be sure it’s not getting overdone. All the best with your next attempt, I hope it goes better!


      – Joe

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