Saturday, January 15, 2011

Strawberry Phyllo Napoleons

Strawberry Phyllo Napoleons

Sometime last week, I was watching Foodography on the Cooking Channel. The episode was focusing on pastry. I love baking cakes and cookies, but this episode inspired me to try something a little more fancy. One chef featured on the episode made her version of the classic napoleon using thin layers of almond cake and phyllo rounds, topped with fresh strawberries and pastry cream. Although it looked beautiful and sounded delicious, it really did seem quite simple. The weather here in Southern California has really warmed up the last couple of days, and the winds are picking up as well. It almost felt like summer instead of winter! This would be the perfect dessert for a nice summer dinner party. So here is my take on the classic napoleon. There are 5 different components to this dessert and they all come together in the end.

Almond Cake


Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream


Phyllo Rounds

Blog 4


Blog 3

Orange Lace Garnish


Strawberry Phyllo Napoleons
Makes 16

For the Almond Cake:

4 oz. almond paste
1-1/2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the almond paste, butter, sugar and egg yolks in the bowl of a food processor. Mix until light and fluffy. Add the flour and salt. Mix to combine.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold egg whites into almond mixture. The almond mixture is quite stiff so the egg whites will lose some air.

Roll the half the batter between 2 sheets of parchment paper to about 1/4 of an inch thick and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, till edges are brown. Repeat with second half of batter. Remove top layer of parchment paper and cool completely. Cut into 4 inch circles.

For the Phyllo Sheets:

6 sheets of phyllo dough
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lay down 1 sheet oh phyllo. Brush with butter and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Repeat with 2 more layers of phyllo. Cut into 3-inch rounds. Repeat with last 3 sheets of phyllo. Place on cookie sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes, till golden brown.

For the Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream:

2 cups milk
1 vanilla bean
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons butter

In medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds. Add the seeds and the pod to the sugar mixture. Whisk in the milk and cook over medium heat till thickened and bubble, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Temper the egg yolks but whisking a small amount of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks. Add the the milk mixture and continue to cook, whisking constantly for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat. Add butter. Cool completely.

For the Orange Lace Garnish:

1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup orange juice
1 stick butter, melted

Combine sugar, flour and orange juice. Add the melted butter and stir to combine. Refrigerate for 2 hours or up to overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread batter onto silpat lined baking sheet about 1/8 of an inch thick. Bake for 12-14 minutes till golden brown. Edges may be slightly burnt. Let cool for 2 minutes. Using a pizza cutter, score the shapes you want to end up with. Rectangles, squares, etc. Continue to cut along these lines as the cookies cool. Let cook completely and carefully remove pieces.

For the Strawberries:

4 cups diced strawberries
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Combine strawberries, orange juice and sugar. Let sit for at least 15 minutes.

To assemble:

Lay down 1 layer of almond cake. Top with about 2 tablespoons of strawberries, a drizzle of the strawberry juices, and a tablespoon of the vanilla bean pastry cream. Top with a phyllo round. Add another layer of strawberries and pastry cream and repeat one more time. Garnish with a scoop of strawberry sorbet and the orange lace garnish.


  1. Great pics! Love the recipe. Hope to try it out someday, bookmarking it now.

  2. Glad you like it! : ) It really is a simple dessert!