Cantaloupe Napoleons

April 29, 2011

There is a French pastry that a little bakery in my hometown makes to perfection called the Napoleon. It’s layers of pastry cream with puff pastry and a simple vanilla sugar icing. This weekend I made my own variation on the theme of layers of pastry and cream for a picnic dinner with some friends. It takes a bit of effort to put together, so it’s a good dessert for a celebration. Here you go!

You will need:

  • 1/2 of a package of frozen phyllo dough, thawed
  • 3 T butter, melted
  • 3 t cocoa powder
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 2 T flour
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1 c light cream
  • 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 1 c cantaloupe puree (~ half of a small, ripe cantaloupe blended in a food processor)
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1 pt whipping cream
  • 2 c powdered sugar
  • 1/4 t almond extraact
  • 4 T boiling water

Then you…

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Unwrap the phyllo dough and, using kitchen shears, cut into roughly 8 rectangles.
  3. Stir cocoa into the melted butter and brush the mixture between the layers of each rectangle to hold it together.
  4. Bake until cooked through and golden, roughly 10 minutes.
  5. Remove and let cool.
  6. In a heavy, medium saucepan, stir together sugar, flour and salt over medium heat.
  7. Slowly stir in light cream. Cook and stir until mixture is thickened and bubbly.
  8. Cook and stir for 1 minute more.
  9. Slowly stir about half of the hot mixture into beaten egg yolks to temper them.
  10. Return all to saucepan.
  11. Stir in the cantaloupe puree.
  12. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more.
  13. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla.
  14. Transfer mixture to a bowl. Cover surface with plastic wrap and cool just until warm without stirring.
  15. In a small mixing bowl, beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. Fold whipped cream into warm pastry cream. Chill up to three hours.
  16. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the powdered sugar and the almond extract. Stir in enough boiling water to make an icing of spreading consistency.
  17. Split each phyllo rectangle into two layers.
  18. Spread the icing on the top layer. Allow to set.
  19. To serve, place the bottom layer of one rectangle on a plate. Top with several spoonfuls of the cantaloupe cream.
  20. Top with the iced half of the rectangle and drizzle with chocolate (optional).
  21. Enjoy with friends!

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