7/22/10

Napoleon Tort - 1

A mystery pastry.
That's what it was.
Last week I walked into the kitchenette at my workplace and saw an empty aluminum pan on the counter top.
Well, not completely empty. There was a half a pastry left from someone who had used a knife to cut it. It looked all forlorn and not really appetizing. It was a flaky pastry with a bit of icing of some style smeared on top.

Being that I was hungry and I had fresh, hot coffee sitting at my desk, I decided to lift the pastry and check it out.

It smelled delicious. More importantly it didn't smell like it had a 'fruity' layer of all and the layers looked like a cross between an eclair or cream puff and a pie crust.

I took a bite.

Wow.

It was very, very similar to a Lithuanian Tort but without the apricot layer that I hate so much!

It was delicious. Not very sweet, the only sweetness came from a layer of butter cream or something similar.

I had only 2 tiny bites more to figure out what it was and what the ingredients might be. This led me to the conclusion that it *might* be a Napoleon Tort made into individual pastries by a local bakery. (The coworker that brought them in had no idea where they came from as she had visited a business that morning and one of the employees there gave her some pastries as they had too many for their office. We have no idea where they came from or what they were.)

My readers know I never, ever follow "ONE" recipe. I find many versions, I study them and then I play with my food and make it my own. Because of this I've been looking for recipes that I think should work for my 'test' and here is the first to keep in my files my my near-future attempt.



Napoleon Tort

Pastry Layers
4 tbsp butter.
1 tbsp sugar.
2 egg whites stiffly beaten.
1 cup sour cream.
1 tbsp vodka.
pinch of salt.
2 cups flour (approximately).

Custard Filling
10 egg yolks.
1 egg white.
2 1/2 cups sugar.
6 tbsp flour.
6 cups milk.
1 tbsp vanilla essence.
250gm butter.


Pastry Layers
Beat butter and sugar together until creamy. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites, sour cream and vodka. Add salt and fold in flour a spoonful at a time until the dough is soft and pliable. Chill for an hour or two to make it easier to roll out.

Butter an baking tray and dust with flour. Divide the cake dough into 12. Set the oven to heat to 190 degrees C.

Roll or press out each portion to an 8 inch circle on the baking form making each circle is of even thickness as thin areas will cook quicker and may stick to the tray before the rest of the dough is cooked.

Bake each layer until golden brown, approximately 6-10 minutes. If dough blisters as it cooks, puncture blisters with a fork. As each layer is cooked, remove from the tray and set aside to cool.

Custard Filling
Pour the milk into a large saucepan and heat on the stove without boiling.

Beating the egg yolks, egg white and sugar until creamy. Mix well with the flour. Pour this mixture into the saucepan of milk and continue stirring until thick and creamy. Add the vanilla and butter and stir until smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Stir frequently as the mixture cools.

Place one layer of the cooked dough in the bottom of an 8 inch spring form cake tin and cover evenly with a layer of filling. Continue to build up the cake in this way, layering the custard on top of the pastry, finishing with the 11th pastry layer. Crumble the remaining pastry layer on the top.

Refrigerate for 5-6 hours. The flavour improves after 12 hours of refrigeration when the custard takes on a stronger caramel flavour.

When ready to serve, carefully remove the cake from the tin. Decorate with chocolate shaving and walnuts or slivered almonds and whipped cream.

The best way to cut the cake and retain the layered shape is to use an electric knife.
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