This is a really extravagant cake. It has a lot of delicious crusts all layered with custard cream. It was originally created in France and called mille-feuille "a thousand leaves". By the way, this cake has 14 crusts but you can make up to 16 from this recipe. The origin of the name is obscure, but I like to think it was named after the famous general/emperor.
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Step 1: Ingredients for the Crusts
You will need:
390 grams all-purpose flour
120 grams butter, cold not softened, cut up into small pieces
100 grams sugar
dash of salt
dash of baking soda
120 grams sour cream
Step 2: Step 1- Making Dough for the Crusts
In a medium sized bowl, combine 300 grams flour, sugar, and a dash of both baking soda and salt. Mix with a whisk. Make sure there are not flour lumps.
Next, comes the butter. Cut up cold butter into small pieces so it will be easier to work into the dough. Add butter into the flour mixture, using your hands to mix it in. You need to end up with crumbly mixture.
Now, add the sour cream and eggs and mix them in. I ended up using my hands.
Lastly, add the last 90 grams flour. Knead it in, until smooth dough forms.
Step 3: Step 2- Dividing the Dough
With this amount of dough, you can make up to 16 crusts. They will be very thin! Last time I made 15 crusts with a 22 cm.diameter and this time made 14 crusts with a 22 cm. diameter.
So, now we need to divide this clump of dough into 14 uniform pieces. Weigh the dough on the food scales and divide the total amount by the number of crusts you want to make. My total weigh was ? ,divided it by 14 and got 60 grams for each crust. I used food scales to make 14 balls of dough all 60 grams each.
Put all the little balls in the bowl, cover and put in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
If you leave them longer, they will get hard; so take them out to get soft.
Step 4: Step 3 - Starting the Custard Cream
While the dough is cooling, make the custard cream. It is easy to make and super delicious! You can even dream up other ways to use it.
You will need:
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 and 1/2 cup milk
250 grams butter
Heat 2 cups milk in a small saucepan until very hot but not boiling. Meanwhile, whisk 1 egg, sugar, flour, and 1/2 cup cold milk in a medium saucepan. Mix until smooth. Slowly add the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking quickly to prevent any lumps.
Now put the saucepan over low heat and heat, whisking constantly, until it becomes thick. Transfer the cream into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool.
Set out butter to let it soften.
Step 5: Step 4 - Making and Baking the Crusts
You will need:
2 baking sheets
2 parchment papers to fit your baking sheets
a round plate or a bowl with a 20-22 cm diameter
Roll out the crusts on a slightly floured parchment paper. Place the dish over and cut the shape with the knife. Lift the dish off. Do not pull away the ends, leave them on. Very important! Poke the crust with a fork all around.
Place the parchment paper on the baking sheet and bake at 200C for 5 minutes or until golden. While the first crust is baking, roll out the second one on the floured parchment paper, cut out the circle outline using the dish and poke with fork. Take out the baked crust and put the second crust in the oven. Lift the first crust and transfer to a rolling rack. Place the baked ends in a bowl. You can use them later to make crumbs to decorate the finished cake.
This is basically the rhythm of baking Napoleon Cake crusts. Repeat until all crusts are baked.
When finished with the crusts, put all the ends on a baking sheet and bake until crispy and brownish-golden.
Step 6: Step 5 - Whipping Up the Napoleon Custard Cream
You will need:
cooled custard cream (If it is warm then it will melt the butter and the cream will be ruined!)
250 grams softened butter (Very important that it is softened, or there will be butter lumps!)
Beat butter with cooled custard cream until smooth.
Step 7: Step 6 - Assembling the Cake
Spread custard cream over the first layer and top with the second crust. Layer crusts this way. The cake is basically finished. You can crush the browned ends and decorate the top with them, if desired.
The cake needs to stand to develop its texture, in a refrigerator for at least 12 hours. Cover with plastic wrap, if needed. I did not cover it to avoid condensation.
Step 8: Step 7 - Serving the Cake
Before serving, let stand for about 30-60 minutes. The cake will soften to become super delicious!
I decorated the top with fresh strawberries, so I guess there was no need for the crumbs. But anyway, it turned to be a special birthday cake!