Berry Napoleon With Lemon Curd

READY IN: 45mins
SERVES: 8-10




  • FOR THE PASTRY: Make a well in the flour. Add the cornstarch. Cut the butter in 1 1/2 Tablespoon chunks. Add the salt. Mash the butter into the flour with your fingers until the particles of butter are the size of whole macadamia nuts.
  • Mix in the ice water, 1 Tablespoon at a time, introducing it with your fingertips. Press the small balls of dough that will form into a large one. With the heel of your hand, lightly push the ball of dough forward into large pieces and then gather it into a ball. Shape into a rectangle 6 1/2 inches by 4 1/2 inches. Refrigerate for 1 hour, preferably in the vegetable crisper.
  • Roll the dough 6 inches away from you and then 6 inches toward you, keeping it 6 1/2 inches wide and never less that 1/3 inch thick. Do not bear down on the dough. Roll it out parallel to the countertop in 1 or 2 strokes. If the dough becomes wider than 6 1/2 inches, block it on each side by place the rolling pin parallel to the edge of the dough and tapping it gently toward the dough. The dough edge will straighten. Fold the dough in 3 folds. Turn the dough 90 degrees so it looks like a book ready to be opened.
  • With a bit of pressure applied with the rolling pin at the top and bottom seams, pinch the layers of dough slightly to prevent the butter from escaping later. Roll out the dough again and fold it a second time, exactly as described above.
  • You will have given it two turns. If the package of dough is less than 6 inches wide, tap it gently with the rolling pin to flatten it. To keep track of the turns, punch small depressions on the surface of the dough with your fingertips.
  • Put the dough on a lightly floured plate. Cover it loosely with a sheet of Saran Wrap (plastic wrap) and put it to cool in the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator. The dough should rest for at least 1 hour.
  • Finish the dough by giving it two more series of two turns, exactly as described above. Rest the dough for 30 minutes between each series of turns. After turns 3 and 4, punch 4 small depressions on the surface of the dough; after turns 5 and 6, trace an X. That will remind you that the pastry is finished and may be used anytime.
  • Roll out after chilling deeply for 1 to 2 hours and cut in the shape that you desire.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Cut the puff pastry in half. Roll each half into 2 sheets, each 1/8 inch thick and as wide and long as you can make it. Bake between 2 black baking sheets for 15 minutes until brown.
  • Cool and cut into rectangles 1 inch by 3 inches.
  • TO PREPARE THE LEMON CURD: Beat the egg yolks with the sugar in an electric mixer until extremely thick. The mixture should form a heavy ribbon. Transfer to a large saucepan. Gradually add the lemon juice as you beat over VERY LOW HEAT, until the curd thickens heavily. Add all the rinds and gradually the melted butter, and cool completely.
  • TO BUILD THE NAPOLEONS: Put the lemon curd into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/3 inch wide, round plain nozzle. Cover 1 rectangle of pastry with an even layer of curd. Top that layer with a second rectangle of pastry. Cover that second rectangle with curd and top with a third rectangle of pastry. Powder each napoleon with confectioner’s sugar.
  • Thaw the raspberries. Remove half of their syrup. Blend to a puree in the blender and strain to discard all seeds. To serve, put one napoleon on a desert plate and surround with raspberry puree. This recipe will make 8 to 10 beautiful napoleons.
  • VARIATION: Fresh Berry Napoleons: Instead of using just lemon curd, try the following idea. Pipe the lemon curd between the layers, as in the recipe, but add strawberries on the first layer, blueberries on the second, and raspberries on the third. Do not serve with the raspberry sauce; the berries will make their own sauce as you eat the napoleons.
  • Madeleine Cooks.
  • If you cannot find Meyer lemons, you can substitute Eureka or Lisbon lemons.
  • Meyer lemon is a hybrid, a cross between a regular lemon and either an orange or a mandarin. They’re sometimes smaller than a regular lemon, rounder in shape, with a thin, soft, and smooth rind which ranges from greenish when slightly immature to a rich yellow-orange when fully ripe. The rind lacks the typical lemon peel oil aroma and the pulp is darker yellow and less acidic than a regular lemon. The complex flavor and aroma hints of sweet lime, lemon and mandarin.
  • Use it for most purposes as you would a regular lemon. It’s perfect for a soufflé or lemon tart and, because it’s sweeter than a regular lemon, makes good lemonade requiring less sugar. On the other hand, when you want a more acidic lemon taste, as in a vinaigrette or marinade, you’re probably better off using a regular lemon.