Posts Tagged ‘homemade from scratch’
Napoleons are one of those desserts few at home would make since it seems to be a lot of work. But those layers of flaky crust with rich buttery whipped cream which assault your taste buds can get anyone interested in learning how to make these incredible desserts.
But before we get there, here is an excerpt from wikipedia.com on the incredible napoleon dessert in case you were wondering:
The Mille-feuille (French ‘thousand sheets’), Napoleon (U.S.), vanilla slice, cream slice or custard slice (Commonwealth countries) is a pastry made of several layers of puff pastry alternating with a sweet filling, typically pastry cream, but sometimes whipped cream, or jam. It is usually glazed with icing or fondant in alternating white and brown (chocolate) strips, and combed. The name is also written as “millefeuille” and “mille feuille”.
There are also savory mille-feuilles with cheese and spinach or other fillings.
Variant names and forms
In Italy, where the pastry is thought to have originated in Naples, it is called mille foglie and contains similar fillings. A savory Italian version consists of puff pastry filled with spinach, cheese or pesto, among other things.
In the Commonwealth (Quebec excepted), mille-feuille is known as ‘vanilla slice’ or ‘cream slice’, and usually has only a top and bottom pastry layer. The filling is often flavored with chocolate. In Australia, popular icings include vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, raspberry, and passion fruit. In New Zealand, it is usually called a ‘custard square.’
A variation popular in England is the Bavarian Slice which has a layer of raspberry or strawberry jam and rippled icing, although there is no evidence that this is a traditional Bavarian dish.
In Australia, there are varying forms of this pastry. Balfours, claiming to be Australia’s largest bakery, produce their own form of Napoleon Cake which is multi layered and contains icing, pastry, cream, jam and sponge cake. This differs from the more widely known vanilla slice which is composed of icing, pastry and custard.
In Sweden as well as in Finland the Napoleonbakelse (Napoleon pastry) is a mille-feuille filled with whipped cream, custard, and jam. The top of the pastry is glazed with icing and currant jelly.
The Netherlands and Belgium eat the tompoes or tompouce. Several variations exist in Belgium, but in the Netherlands, it is iconic and the market allows preciously little variation in form, size, ingredients and colour. See tompouce.
The origin of the mille-feuille is unknown. The Hungarian city of Szeged may have something to do with its origins. Carême (writing at the end of the 18th century) considered it of ‘ancient origin’. It was earlier called “gâteau de mille-feuilles” ‘cake of a thousand leaves’.
Origin of the name ‘Napoleon’
The name appears to come from napolitain, the French adjective for the Italian city of Naples, but altered by association with the name of Emperor Napoleon I of France. There is no evidence to connect the pastry to the emperor himself.
In France, a Napoléon is a kind of mille-feuille filled with almond paste.
An annual competition for the best vanilla slice baker is the Great Australian Vanilla Slice Triumph held in Ouyen in western Victoria (Australia). Judging criteria include “when tasted, should reveal a custard with a creamy smooth texture and a balance of vanilla taste with a crisp, crunchy pastry topped with a smooth and shiny glaze/fondant”. 
- The time-travel card game Early American Chrononauts includes a tongue-in-cheek card called Napoleon’s Napoleon which players can symbolically acquire from the year 1815.
- On the cd label for the 1998 Sonic Youth album A Thousand Leaves the phrase “mille feuille” is crossed out and “a thousand leaves” is written under it.
- Milfeulle Sakuraba is a character in the anime Galaxy Angel. She is highly skilled in cooking, but especially enjoys making pastries and other desserts.
- In the Woody Allen film Love and Death, Napoleon berated his chefs for a pastry attempt at a Napoleon (they’d included raisins, among other things). Napoleon declared himself in competition with Wellington, who was “inventing” Beef Wellington.
- In the video game Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, the cake is the most expensive one when found in the hidden bakery of the City of Haze, at $1000 per single payment. It will reappear on sale once the player consumes it, but is also found again in another hidden bakery later on in 13th Street.
- In the video game For the Frog the Bell Tolls, The Princess Tiramisu lives in the Mille-Feuille kingdom.
As I searched for appropriate photos (the one above came from bonappettite.com) I was shocked by the photos that did come up as samples of the real thing – I kid you not, most of these photos of desserts were not very appealing…but I assure you there are a variety of ways to make napoleon’s but I found a good recipe to create the perfect dessert for your next shingdig.
Now that you have learned a thing or two about Napoleon Pastries here’s your most basic recipe for making your very own flaky pasties for your eating pleasures…
Napoleon Dessert Recipe:
Courtesy of Baking.About.com
Prep Time: 1 hours, 00 minutes
- 17-ounce package frozen pastry
- chocolate or vanilla pastry cream*
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 ounce semisweet chocolate, melted
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lighly flour bread board and rolling pin. Roll dough to 13 x 17 inch triangle, 1/8 inch thick. Transfer to cookie sheet. Prick dough with fork. Cover with another cookie sheet. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove top sheet and continue to bake for 5 more minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on wire rack.
Cut pastry into thirds, lengthwise. Mix powdered sugar and water. Stir until smooth. Turn over 1 pastry strip on rack. Pour sugar glaze over strip. Smooth with spatula. Quickly pour stripes of chocolate over glaze. Drag knife over top to make decorative design. Let stand until dry, about 30 minutes.
To assemble: Place one unglazed strip on serving platter. Spread half of pastry cream on top. Top with the other unglazed strip. Top with rest of pastry cream. Top that with glazed strip. Chill until firm, about and hour. (Don’t chill longer than 3 hours. It may get soggy.) For serving, cut with serrated knife.
Vanilla Pastry Cream Filling Recipe:
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 02 minutes
- 2-1/4 cups milk
- 4 egg yolks
- 2/3 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
Boil 2 cups of milk. Beat yolks with sugar and remaining milk. Whisk until smooth. Add cornstarch and flour until combined. Gradually whisk hot milk into egg mixture. Return to saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture boils and thickens. Reduce to low and stir for 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Pour into a shallow disk. Cover with plastic wrap. (Make sure wrap touches surface to prevent a skim from forming.) Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. Makes approximately 2-3/4 cups.
Also interesting on this September 7th – Some historical facts:
St. Gratus of Aosta, protector of vineyards
St. Regina, patron of shepherdesses
1840 Luther Crowell was born. He invented a machine to make square bottomed grocery bags.
1847 Henry David Thoreau left Walden Pond.
1912 David Packard was born. Founder with William Hewlett of the Hewlett Packard Company. Before they became famous for computers and printers etc., some of their early inventions were an automatic urinal flusher and a weight loss shock machine!
1971 The final episode of ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ TV show is aired.
I won’t be making napoleons for today, but will be making my coconut oatmeal cookies for a church community function that is happening tomorrow, weather permitting.
Have a great September 7th. ~Chef Maven
Now making turnovers is something I know about. I know that I just adore to eat them up! My mother often would make a little turnover from left over pie pastry dough when I was a kid, filling it up with jam, or apples with a little brown sugar and butter….. oh it was always fantastic – and I would do this very often for myself when I was making pies for others after I grew up. In fact, I often thought that the turnover was usually better than the actual pie, but that’s another story.
Both quick and homemade from scratch recipes have been included for your viewing and reading pleasure.
So today is national cherry turnover day. Now, aren’t you glad you learned this? Would you like to learn how to make one? I was going to share a from scratch recipe, but I am feeling a bit lazy today, so I will share with you the quick method which includes cheating with a premade cherry filling which you can get in the store in your baking isle.
Later this week I was thinking of making either empanadas or samosas with some new recipes I received, and if I do, I will make sure to share with you.
But before I do share the recipe, let me share with you some history on the turnover which goes my many different names, and is not necessarily always sweet by any means. In fact you probably love other types of turnovers – as these little pockets of food have been created for centuries:
Courtesy of fornobravo.com
A turnover by many other names: Many cultures prepare “turnovers” where a piece of dough is wrapped around some type of filling, singular or in combination. I’m sure there are many twists to our basic folded pizza recipes. I loved the Stromoli’s that we bought from pizza joints in upper New York……How about a little history?
Beerocks are a baked German pastry crust filled with meat and cabbage. (How about sauerkraut and smoked sausage for a twist.)
Calzones are the Italian delicacy that means baggy pants. Calzones are made with floppy soft doughs but were strong enough to be carried. Calzones are made with many different dough’s but pizza dough works well. Calzones can be baked or fried but we’re more into baking for good health! Calzones, like Pasties and Empanadas now hold all kinds of fillings.
Dim Sum is a small bite filled turnover with seasoned mixtures of meat, fish, or vegetables. There are varieties which can be baked, or fried, or boiled. I just love going to a Chinese Dim Sum restaurant and getting hit on by all the oriental servers (pushers) with their Din Sum items!
Empanadas means sandwich in Spanish speaking countries. Empanadas are typically filled with ingredients unique the area in which they are made. Often empanadas are filled with ground meat or sweet potatoes or fruit or raisins. Many of these are made in corn dough crusts that are baked or fried.
Fruit Turnovers made from pastry dough, fried or baked, or puff pastry varieties and even sweetened yeast bread doughs. We have a lovely quick fruit/cream cheese turnover recipe to try in the wood oven! I’ll post it later after we try it in the Horno Lena
Pastelillos are Puerto Rican & Caribbean meat pies. Often made with yucca flour in a leavened dough filled with pork, ham, onions, olives, raisins, capers and/or egg. (Pastelillos Rellenos are a Colombian meat filled pie, pork filled version of an empanada.)
Pasties were favorite foods of the Cornish miners from England. There are many varieties, but the most original were simple turnovers with potatoes, vegetables ground meat. Our recipe uses rutabagas or turnips and we’ll try it in the wood fired oven and post pictures. The copper miners in the Keeweenaw mines took them down into the mines for their meal break over 100 years ago. This mixture was wrapped in a basic pastry crust. You can still find Pasty shops in the Upper Peninsular of Michigan. Remember the ketchup!
Pastelitos Fritos are a Brazilian fried pastry turnover filled with meat or cheese.
Pierogies are Polish turnovers-usually served as a side dish. They are filled with potatoes, or cheese or vegetables or fruits or combinations.
Risole are a Brazilian fried turnover. It’s a boiled dough filled with meat, cheese, shrimp or hearts of palm mixtures. The turnovers are egg washed and dipped in manoic meal before frying.
Salteña is a baked South American (Peru and Chile) meat pie containing meats, potatoes, cheeses, onions, and sliced hardboiled egg and sliced olives.
Samosas are fried East Indian turnovers filled with chick peas, parsley, barley, mutton and onion and spices.
Sambosak Hulow is a Middle Eastern turnover made with a cookie dough and filled with chopped dates typically seasoned with sugar, butter, sesame seeds, cinnamon and cloves.
Sanbousic is a fried Middle Eastern small turnover in the Arab world. Its filling is diced cheeses like feta, mozzarella, jarlsburg. They are seasoned with fresh chopped dill and served warm.
Spanokopitas are Greek baked turnovers with spinach, cottage cheese, feta cheese and olives.
Strombolis are a close relative of the calzone. A folded pizza that uses meat fillings. I had my first ones in Beacon, New York. They’re found on the Eastern US, northern that is!
How to Make Cherry Turnovers – The Easy Quick Way
So here is one version on how to make a cherry turnover with cheating the system a bit since this recipe calls for using pre-made pie pastry dough and canned cherry pie filling. Ok, Don’t shoot me, you know I usually do EVERYTHING from scratch, I am allowed to ‘cheat’ once in awhile.
- 1 pre-made pie pastry un-thawed
- 1 can of cherry pie filling – found by the canned pumpkin in your baking isle at the grocery store
- One working oven preheated for 10 minutes at 425 degrees
- one cookie sheet
- parchment paper
- Rolling pin, clean working surface
- a little flour
- fork & spoon
- little butter
- sugar (optional)
- Take pie pastry dough and allow to be un-thawed and come to room temperature
- Dust working surface and rolling pin slightly with flour.
- Place pie pastry dough onto working surface, roll out a little more if you can.
- With knife, cut pie pastry into four equal sections.
- spoon only 2 tablespoons of the filling into each cut section of pie pastry.
- fold over and with fork, seal edges by pressing down
- Place parchment paper on cookie sheet which will help your turnovers be released.
- With flat metal spatula, slide folded pie pastries over to cookie sheet leaving a couple of inches in between each ‘turnover’
- With knife, slightly cut a few slashes across the turnovers in order to allow the steam to escape during baking.
- place on the middle rack of your preheated oven and allow to bake for 15 minutes.
- Let cool 15 minutes prior to serving. As they say at MickyDee’s, Caution, filling is hot!
- Serve up with a dollop of whipped cream if you are feeling extra naughty.
Do you want to learn how to make the real McCoy Cherry Turnover from Scratch…. ok here is it…. I came back after a few hours from posting this originally and felt I cheated you as well as me…. here’s my granmother’s version of homemade cherry turnovers from scratch:
Recipe should yield 6-8 turnovers
Ingredients for Standard Pie Pastry:
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup chilled shortening (such as crisco)
- Very Cold Water 6 tablespoons
- With pastry blender, break and cut half of the shortening into flour and added salt until mixture resembles corn meal, then add remaining shortening and continue blending until mixture resembles the size of small peas.
- This creates a tender yet flaky crust – a big secret here folks….
- most recipes have you add the shortening all at once….
- Sprinkle tablespoons at a time of the chilled water into the pastry dough, using the pastry blender until mixture is combined.
- Wrap up pastry dough into wax paper and place into fridge to chill for at least one (1) hour.
- While the pastry is chilling, prepare your homemade filling so that it is also ready.
- Once chilled, roll out onto lightly floured surface, and roll till 1/8 thick.
- Cut out squares or circles to create your turnovers.
- Place on cookie sheets, add 1/4-1/3 cup of filling to each turnover.
- Before folding over turn over to close over filling, add a little of water to fingers and wipe edges to help seal turnovers. Then fold over pastry.
- Using fork, press edges closed.
- Do an egg wash over turnovers for a shiny look – beat one egg yolk and ad 1 tablespoon water, then brush egg yolk over raw pastry turnovers.
- Create several slits with a knife into the tops of the turnovers to allow the steam to be released during the baking stage.
- Sprinkle with coarse sugar and place into freezer to chill until ready to bake.
- Use a preheated oven at 425 degrees and allow turnovers to bake on the middle rack for 15 to 20 minutes.
Homemade Cherry Filling for Turnovers:
This filling can also be used over cheese cakes, and as cake fillings.
- 3/4 cup homecooked or canned SOUR cherries, with juices drained.
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup cherry juice
- Add sugar and cornstarch to 2 quart pot.
- Add cherry juice drained from cherries, cook over medium heat until clear and thickened stirring constantly.
- Add 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract for serious extra flavor which matches really well with the cherries.
- Once slightly cooled, add to your turnovers, fold over as described above and bake in a hot oven for 15-20 minutes.
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes before diving in…. enjoy!
You could also create a simple confectioner’s sugar glaze as you would use on cinnamon buns if you are so inclined, simply tale one cup of powdered sugar, sift, then add 1/4 cup of milk, whisk till combined. Add a little more milk if you need to to create a syrupy concoction, then drizzle over cooled turnovers.