I found this treasure in the dessert section (page 116 - no name attached) of the Mennonite Treasury of Recipes, easily missed among all of the cakes, puffs and puddings.The reason it caught my eye was because I had recently seen individual strawberry napoleons done up beautifully for a photo in a magazine. As I compared recipes I noticed the biggest difference being that this one calls for a pie pastry instead of a phyllo pastry. With a few small tweaks in the method I will give you a visual and hopefully inspire you to try this for someone special very soon.
- 1 3/4 cups flour (original was 2 cups sifted)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cold cup butter
- 1/3 cup shortening
- 5 Tbsp cold water
Filling and topping
- 2 cups milk, divided
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 5 Tbsp flour
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp vanilla powder (optional)
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1 lb strawberries
- icing sugar for dusting
- toasted almonds
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- In medium bowl, cut butter and shortening into flour, using pastry blender. Add salt, sprinkle with cold water and stir with fork just until mixture comes together, then shape into a ball. Do not try to knead, the less handling the flakier the crust. Cut into four equal parts.
- Shape each part into a small rectangle on floured surface and roll into a 4 x 10 - 12" length . . . check your serving platter to be sure it will fit. Use a bread pan (upside down) as a template to cut sides. Prick with fork.
- Bake 2 lengths at a time on prepared cookie sheet for about 15 - 18 minutes, until crisp and golden. Set aside to cool.
- In a small pot or saucepan, heat 1 1/2 cups milk to almost boiling. ( skin forms and tiny bubbles appear on the edges)
- In the meantime, in a small bowl, mix sugar, flour, vanilla powder with 1/4 cup milk and egg yolks until smooth. Add the last 1/4 cup milk and whisk into hot milk in pot, stirring until it bubbles.
- Remove from heat, stir in butter, then cool in ice water bath and/or place saran wrap directly on pudding and refrigerate to cool completely.
- Slice 2 cups strawberries, leaving some whole to decorate the top.
- Beat 1/2 cup whipping cream until soft peaks form and add cooled pudding to blend. Stir in strawberries and almond extract.
- Dividing filling in three parts, layer pastry with filling, ending with pastry on top. Dust with icing sugar and sprinkle with toasted almonds. Decorate with a row of strawberries, sliced in half.
- Refrigerate and allow to set for 6 - 8 hours. It's still good the next day, so you can prepare it the night before. I covered it with a big bowl. Serves 8.