I just know that there are going to be some very angry bakers out there who will write to accuse me of cheating on this classic French dessert, which is actually more commonly known in France as mille-feuille. I decided to include it because it is one of the first desserts I made as the go-to dessert person for our Friday night neighborhood barbecues. Hence the awful photo of these beauties, literally just sitting on my kitchen counter in front of my ancient blender. But what can I do? I have to get through these awful photos and blog posts so that I can hopefully hit you with the good stuff!
Believe it or not, but these napoleons are super simple to make and you can alter them in so many ways to make them your own. In fact, these are as simple or as complicated as you want them to me. You can choose to fill these with pastry cream, custard, whipped cream, ganache, or even buttercream. You could add jam, preserves, fresh fruit, whatever you’d like! You could even do something totally crazy like make your own puff pastry. I personally used this opportunity to teach myself how to make raspberry jam. The rest was so simple that I felt like I needed to get at least one new skill out of it!
So, without further ado, here is how you make these delicious treats:
Ingredients (the easy way):
- 1 Box of puff pastry sheets (I used Pepperidge Farm)
- 1 Package of instant vanilla pudding
- 1 tub of cool whip topping
- 1 jar of raspberry jam
- 1 container of chocolate frosting
- 1 small bag of chopped walnuts
Instructions (the easy way!)
For the pastry:
- Thaw out your puff pastry sheets on the counter for a few hours. You want them to still be cold but not difficult to unfold.
- Preheat your oven to 425ºF
- Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the sheets slightly, just to remove the bulges between the folds and ensure that the sheets are laying flat.
- Cut the sheets into 4×2 in. squares and transfer them to a cookie sheet that has either been greased or lined with parchment paper or a Silpat
- Bake for approximately 10 minutes, or until you see the pastry puff up.
- Reduce heat to 375ºF and bake until they turn golden brown, about 5-6 more minutes. Do not overbake! Watch those babies like a hawk.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
For the vanilla filling:
- Prepare instant vanilla pudding according to instructions.
- Stir in some cool whip until it reaches the desired consistency. Every pudding is different so you may need more or less depending on the brand. I used about a half a cup and my filling was light, yet not runny.
- Split each pastry square in two. This is very easy since the pastry puffs up and leaves a natural soft crease.
- Spread a light amount of raspberry jam on each half.
- Top one on half of the squares with a couple of tablespoons of the pudding/cool whip mixture.
- Top the pudding halves with the remaining pastry halves that just have jam.
- Spread a light layer of chocolate frosting on each pastry sandwich.
- Sprinkle on chopped walnuts.
And that is it!
- Substitute the type of jam you use, or even make your own.
- Make your own whipped cream, so much better!
- If you do make your own whipped cream, reserve some of that cream and make an simple chocolate ganache to pour or spread over the top.
- These can obviously be topped with any kind of nuts.