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Napoleon cake recipe

Napoleon cake is a staple cake of Russian cuisine. This delicious vanilla slice of many puff pastry layers and custard cream is soft, moist and tender.The variations of this cake are called mille-feuille. Russian Napoleon cake became very popular after the victory over the Napoleon troops. In the 19 century this cake was made in a triangular shape resembling the bicorn, the characteristic Napoleon’s hat. Nowadays the cake is mostly made in a round or rectangular shape but the popularity of this fantastic cake has never declined.

You hear puff pastry, many layers, and get scared? Do not be! We would like to share a great family recipe of authentic Napoleon cake with custard crème (courtesy of my aunt) The puff pastry is done in what it’s called “rough puff” way – it couldn’t be easier! The secret to this vanilla slice is patience and time, it will need to sit in the fridge for about 24 hours. This will help the cake layers to soak up all the cream and become one whole, moist and tender delight.

It should be noted though that this cake will require a bit of attention and time. The making of the Napoleon cake is best to divide into 2 sections: making the dough and custard cream and letting everything rest in the fridge (and using this time for some rest or going out), and second section – baking the layers and whatever comes next. Baking the layers will need your energy and time management, you will bake a layer (about 4-5 minutes), meanwhile rolling the next layer to go in the oven, and so on. Stop watch would be handy and so will a glass of wine (don’t ask me how I know it :) ). Let the baking commence!

Recipe:

Napoleon Cake

Ingredients:

Cake layers

560  gr/20 oz  (3.5 glasses) flour

300 gr/ 10,5 oz butter

1 egg

1/5 glass of ice water

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 tablespoon of vinegar

salt

Crème pâtissière

0,5 litre milk

3 egg yolks

70 gr/2.5 oz butter

0,5 glass sugar

3-4 tablespoons flour

100 ml cream (35%)

½ vanilla bean, split down the middle and seeds scrapped out

 Method

Layers

Dough

1. Sift the flour and salt and into a large bowl. Grate the butter into the bowl and rub it thoroughly with your hands so there are no bits of butter seen.

2. In a glass mix an egg, add water to fill about 1/5 of the glass. Put a tea spoon of soda into a table spoon, fill the table spoon with vinegar. Add the soda and vinger into the glass with the egg mixture, mix and slowly pour into the dough.  Mix the dough well, it should be firm.

3. Roll the dough into the sausage and cut into 9 parts. Roll each part into a ball and leave to rest for 4 hours in the fridge or more ( use this time to make the cream and rest)

Baking (after 4 hours of the dough resting in the fridge)

4. Lay the baking paper over the tray. Preheat the oven to 220 С.

5. Powder a working surface with flour. Take a ball of dough from the fridge and roll into a thin circle. Use a plate to trim. Bake the layer and the trimmings in the oven (about 4-5 min. Repeat for the next layers.

Crème pâtissière

1. Combine milk and 1/5 of sugar amount in a small saucepan. Add the split vanilla pod and its seeds. Bring the milk mixture to the boil, moving constantly, then remove from the heat. Cool down and remove vanilla bean.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks, flour and the remaining sugar. Slowly add into the cooled down mixture, constantly mixing so there are no lumps.

3. Return mixture to saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 15 to 20 minutes or until custard thickens (do not allow custard to boil, as it might curdle). Remove from heat.

4. Add butter and thoroughly beat up. Put the custard into the fridge for 4-5 hours. (time for your rest!)

5. Beat up cold cream with a mixer and slowly add custard into the cream, constantly mixing. Mix it up once again…the cream for Napoleon is ready!

Assembling the cake

1. Assemble all the layers, covering each of them with the cream

2. Break the trimming with a mortar and cover the top layer.

3. Leave to rest and soak up for 24 hours in the fridge.

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