My Mama is in town this week! We have the cutest guest room (which is a NYC luxury but has only been used a couple times,) and I get so happy to walk by and see her in there. Living far away is hard. Anyway- my Mama is always wishing that we could bake together, so we didn’t waste any time making some kitchen magic this week.
I was dying to show her how easy and impressive the quick puff pastry I shared recently was, and we decided that a springy version of the classic French Napolean would showcase the pastry perfectly. Normally three layers of puff pastry sandwich pastry cream with a chocolate and vanilla glaze. In our case we layered thick whipped cream and juicy strawberries in between the most flaky and tender pastry. (I still can’t help but be amazed at how easy it is to make.)
This is a light, springy, dessert that would be so lovely with an afternoon tea spread. It really isn’t very sweet, only a little sugar in the whipped cream, and the natural sweetness from the berries. I find these types of desserts so refreshing, and such a nice break from the more sugary treats I tend to go for! (Plus it only makes four pastries which is great for this girl who loves small portions….more on that on Friday!)
- 1 lb. puff pastry, chilled
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 large strawberries, hulled and sliced
- Line a 9 inch square baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the chilled puff pastry* to ⅛ inch thick. (Use your 9x9 pan as a guide- it should be plenty bigger so you can trim it to fit.)
- Let the dough rest for about 5 minutes, then using a ruler and a sharp knife or pastry cutter, trim the pastry to fit the pan. Carefully drape the dough over the rolling pin and transfer it to your prepared pan. Pierce the surface of the dough all over with a fork. Cover dough with wax paper and chill for an hour.
- Prepare an oven rack on the middle shelf, and preheat oven to 400F. Bake the pastry until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Cool completely in pan.
- To make the filling, beat heavy cream until soft peaks form. Stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla, and then continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
- Remove cooled pastry from pan and cut it in quarters. Cut each quarter in half again- ending with 8 pieces total. Spread the cream on the inside of one half- top with sliced strawberries and place the other layer on top.
- Serve immediately or within 2 hours of assembling (kept in the fridge.)**
*As delicious as this is freshly made, the pastry will get a bit soggy if it sits for too long. Eat it within 2 hours of making for best results!
Recipe adapted from: Williams-Sonoma: The Essentials of Baking