Sunday, October 21, 2012

Chocolate Napoleon

Oh I am a bad blogger.  It's not that I haven't been baking, but life is complicated right now and doesn't make for inspiring blog posts.  I am determined to keep this going, so bare with me.

I made this for no reason, other than I'm obssesed with making my own puff pastry right now.  There are so many uses for this versatile dough, and I've always wanted to make this particular dessert.

The chocolate pastry cream is a little thick for my liking, but has an absolutely decadent chocolate flavor.  I would probably reduce the amount of cornstarch, or find a recipe without it altogether next time.

I used Nick Malgieri's super duper easy and amazing puff pastry recipe, the recipe makes more than you will need for this, I suggest some simple sugar palmiers to finish it off.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Napoleon
from Martha Stewart

- 1 pound Puff Pastry (see recipe below)
- Chocolate Pastry Cream (see recipe below)
- ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
- 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
- 2 teaspoons Dutch-process cocoa powder

- On a lightly floured piece of parchment paper, roll out Puff Pastry to a 12-inch (30,5 cm) square, about 1/8 inch (0,5 cm) thick.
- Using a pastry cutter or pizza wheel, cut squares into three 12-by-4-inch (30,5-by-10-cm) strips.
- Transfer dough and parchment to a large baking sheet; prick over with a fork.
- Cover with plastic wrap; chill in the refrigerator or freezer until firm, about 30 minutes. Mean while preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C.
- Transfer sheet to oven; bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until pastry is puffed and golden around the edges, about 10 minutes.
- Set another baking sheet directly on pastry strips (weird, I know) and continue baking until pastry is light golden in the center, 6 to 8 minutes more.
- Remove top baking sheet; bake until pastry is baked through and golden brown, 6 minutes more.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, butter (or shortening), corn syrup and 1 tablespoon milk. If the mixture is too thick to pour, add additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until it reaches the consistency of sour cream.
- Transfer a quarter of the glaze to a small bowl; whisk in cocoa.
- Transfer chocolate glaze to a paper cornet; set aside.
- Pour white glaze onto one of the pastry strips; spread evenly with an offset spatula.
- Cut the tip of the paper cornet, and pipe lines of chocolate glaze crosswise over the white glaze, about ½ inch (1,3 cm) apart.
- Drag the tip of a wooden skewer down the length of the glazed strip, in alternating directions, to create a decorative pattern.
- Fit a pastry bag with a 5/8-inch plain tip (such as an Ateco #808) and fill with half of the Chocolate Pastry Cream.
- Pipe an even layer onto another pastry strip.
- Top with the remaining pastry strip, pressing gently to secure.
- Fill the pastry bag with the remaining pastry cream, and pipe evenly onto the strip.
- Place the glazed pastry on top.
- Once assembled, the Napoleon is best eaten the same day; slice with a serrated knife.

 Quick Puff Pastry
from Nick Malgieri 

1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup cold water

Cut 1 cup (2 sticks) butter into 1/4-inch cubes. Place in an even layer on a plate and transfer to refrigerator to chill.

Mix flour and salt together in a large bowl. Cut remaining 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter into thin slices and add to bowl. Rub in the butter, squeezing it with your fingertips, rubbing the butter and flour mixture between the palms of your hands and reaching down to the bottom of the bowl. Repeat process until flour and butter are evenly mixed; this should only take a couple of minutes and the mixture should remain cool and powdery. Alternatively, pulse flour, salt, and 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter in the bowl of a food processor until no visible pieces of butter remain; transfer to a large bowl.
Add chilled butter cubes to bowl and, using a rubber spatula, fold them into flour mixture.
Reserving 2 tablespoons of the cold water, pour remaining water into bowl. Using a spatula, fold water into flour mixture, scraping from the bottom of the bowl upward. If the mixture still has a lot of dry, unmoistened flour, add reserved water, 1 tablespoon at a time, repeating folding process.

Scrape dough from bowl onto a lightly floured work surface. Lightly flour dough and, using your hands, squeeze and shape dough into a cylinder. Press down to flatten into a rectangle.
Starting at the narrow end furthest away from you, use a rolling pin to press the dough firmly in parallel strokes close to one another. If there are sticky pieces of butter on the surface, cover with a large pinch of flour and press with the rolling pin to combine. Clean off the rolling pin as you go to make sure nothing sticks to the dough. Continue pressing with the rolling pin, working toward the narrow end closest to you.

Press the dough once along the width; it should now be a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Flour under and on top of the dough and roll dough away and back toward you in the length and once in the width, without rolling over the ends, to make a rectangle about 18 inches long and 8 inches wide.
Fold the two 8-inch ends in toward the middle of the rectangle, leaving a 1-inch space in the middle. Fold the bottom up to the top to form 4 layers of dough. Turn the dough so that the folded edge, which should resemble the spine on a book, is on your left.
Repeat rolling and folding process two more times. Wrap dough and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, and up to 3 days, before using.

Chocolate Pastry Cream recipe:

- 2 cups whole milk
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
pinch of salt
- 4 large egg yolks
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

- In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, ¼ cup sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, and salt.
- Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch, and remaining ¼ cup sugar.
- Whisking constantly, slowly pour about ½ cup of the hot-milk mixture into the egg-yolk mixture. Continue adding milk mixture, ½ cup at a time, until it has been incorporated.
- Pour mixture back into saucepan, and cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens and registers 160°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 minutes. (mine needed 45 seconds)
- Remove and discard vanilla bean.
- Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
- Add the butter and chopped chocolate, and beat on medium speed until the butter and chocolate melts and the mixture cools, about 5 minutes.
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