Introduction: Easy Holiday Napoleons

About: Tate is an artist, occasionally a curator, author, social designer as well as a frequent workshop facilitator focusing on utilization of available materials, tools and site specificity.

A Napoleon, AKA a Mille-Feuille (thousand leaf), is a french pastry typically made of layers of puff pastry separated by layers of pastry cream and topped with confectioners sugar, cocoa powder, pastry crumbs, seeds or icing.

This is a variation on a Napoleon or Mille-Feuille but it is simpler, not as sweet and with more complex flavors. Also, after a heavy and hearty holiday dinner, these will provide a light and refreshing note to end the meal on.

To make it you will need the following...


  • 1 box of phyllo dough
  • 2tbsp honey
  • 2tbsp butter
  • 2c heavy Whipping cream
  • 2tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 3tbsp confectioners or icing sugar
  • 1 pint of raspberries
  • 2tbsp of lime juice + the zest of one lime
  • food coloring (optional)
  • cracked black pepper


  • mixing bowl(s)
  • a whisk or electric mixer
  • a knife
  • a baking pan
  • an oven
  • a silicone or rubber spatula
  • 2 piping bags + tips (optional)
  • a microwave or saucepan
  • a basting brush
  • a mesh strainer
  • a spoon

Let's get started!

Step 1: Bake the Puff Pastry

  1. To start, lightly and evenly oil your baking sheet and preheat your oven to 375f/190c.
  2. Next, you will need to cut your raw phyllo dough/puff pastry into equal sized rectangles or squares, no smaller than 5 square centimeters or 2 square inches.
  3. With your layered quadrilaterals of raw phyllo dough/puff pastry ready, place them onto your baking sheet leaving half a centimeter or a quarter of an inch between them. Ideally you will have a multiple of 4 (20 to make 4 pieces, 24 to make 5 pieces, 28 to make 6 and so on)

Step 2: Butter and Honey

  1. Heat up your butter and honey in a bowl in the microwave or in a saucepan on low-medium heat until the butter has melted. Stir the butter and honey together to make a homogeneous paste.
  2. Next baste your uncooked phyllo dough/puff pastry quadrilaterals with the honey and butter mixture.
  3. Then use a pepper mill to grind some black peppercorns over the phyllo dough/puff pastry quadrilaterals so that the pepper sticks to the honey/butter mixture.
  4. Now, put your baking sheet filled with phyllo dough/puff pastry quadrilaterals into the oven for 10 minutes or until the pastry has puffed up and become golden brown. While the pastry is baking, you can work on the following steps.
  5. After you remove the baking sheet from the oven, allow your light and flaky pastry to cool before you attempt to spread the whipped cream mixture on them (*step #5).

Step 3: Raspberries

*If your raspberries are frozen, then defrost them in the microwave.

  1. Set 10 of your nicest raspberries aside to use as a garnish later.
  2. Fill the mesh strainer with the rest of the raspberries and use a spoon to push all of the raspberry juice and some pulp (but no seeds) through the strainer.

Step 4: Whipped Cream

For Raspberry cream:

  1. In the mixing bowl with your raspberry puree, add 1c of heavy whipping cream, 1tpsp of confectioners sugar, and 1tbsp of Greek yogurt. You can add food coloring if you want to make it more colorful and festive however I did not use any for my raspberry whipped cream.
  2. Use a whisk or electric mixer on high to whip the mixture until your get a light, fluffy and creamy consistency that holds its shape.

For Lime Cream:

  1. In another mixing bowl add 1c of heavy whipping cream, 1tpsp of confectioners sugar, 1tbsp of Greek yogurt, 2tbsp of lime juice, and the zest of one lime. You can also add a bit of food coloring if you want to make it more colorful and festive.
  2. Use a whisk or electric mixer on high to whip the mixture until your get a light, fluffy and creamy consistency that holds its shape.

    (*You can also just make one whipped cream mixture, if you'd prefer)

Step 5: Spreading the Whipped Cream

  1. If your using piping bags, use a rubber/silicone spatula to fill one with the lime whipped cream and the other with raspberry whipped cream.
  2. Pipe your whipped cream onto 3/4s of your baked phyllo dough/puff pastry quadrilaterals. If you don't have piping bags/tips then you can use a spoon, knife or a rubber/silicone spatula to spread the whipped cream mixtures onto them. Alternate using the raspberry and lime whipped creams over each.
  3. Make sure to leave 1/4 of your baked phyllo dough/puff pastry quadrilaterals uncovered. These will act as the top layer of each Napoleon. I suggest leaving the ones with the most black pepper on them, uncovered.
  4. Starting with one coated phyllo dough/puff pastry quadrilateral as a base, place two more on top of it and then finish it with a piece that has no whipped cream. You should end up with a piece of Napoleon that is alternating layers of phyllo dough/puff pastry with whipped cream so that you make a little tower. Repeat this until you use up all of your phyllo dough/puff pastry quadrilaterals.
  5. Serve your napoleons immediately for a super light, crispy, creamy and refreshing desert OR cover them and place them in the fridge overnight to allow the phyllo layers to soften which will still make for a light, creamy and refreshing dessert but will have a bit more of a uniform texture.

Step 6: Fin.

It is certainly not a traditional Napoleon nor is it even a conventional pastry with its combination of flavors. It is just a little bit sweet, a little bit sour, and with a dash of spice, it will leave you wanting another. So there you have it; a light and flaky dessert which is equally suited to serving after a big holiday meal as it is on a summer afternoon.

Please share this recipe with your friends and, if you make it, leave your suggestions or criticisms in the comments section. Thanks!

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