There are some recipes that you look at and you just know that they need to be part of your life. Perhaps you read a list of ingredients in an old cookbook – or maybe you see a picture in a magazine. All of a sudden your mind is blank except for one thought…
Must have this, now. Continue reading
I can’t resist puff pastry. I know it is full of fat and calories but there is something about those crispy, airy layers of pastry that beckons me. And I always respond, like someone who has been hypnotized….mmmmm… puff pastry…
This Napoleon is a little different than most. I filled it with a praline-banana-rum fillings along with the creme patisserie. What resulted was a skyscraper of flavor layers… crispy pastry, sweet banana, rich cream, and crunchy pecans. This finishes up any Caribbean style menu beautifully, I think. It is very summery and tropical.
If you want a fluffier pastry cream just whip about a half a cup of heavy cream and carefully fold it into the pastry cream just before filling the Napoleons. You can then pipe it and it will look very elegant, as opposed to the messy, rustic look that I prefer. This recipe serves 12 generously, or you can probably serve 18 normal servings. Be sure the bananas are very ripe – they will be sweeter and more flavorful.
Please use organic cornstarch. Regular cornstarch is generally made from genetically modified corn and that is just a bad idea.
Banana Rum Napoleon
- 1 package frozen puff pastry or 1 lb homemade
- 4 bananas, peeled and sliced
- 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup rum
- pinch of salt
- 1 recipe pastry cream
- Thaw the pastry according to directions and cut along fold lines. If you are using homemade then you can just cut it into 6 rectangles.
- Bake at 400F for 20 minutes or until golden and puffed. Set aside to cool.
- Melt butter in heavy pan and whisk in brown sugar until smooth and combined. Add the rum and simmer for 1 minute.
- Stir in bananas and pecans.
- Mix gently until the bananas are covered in brown sugar mixture. Set aside.
- Split the puff pastry rectangles longwise into two pieces each. Save the best looking 2 tops to be the top of the pastry.
- Place one rectangle on a serving plate. Spread with pastry cream, then a layer of the banana mixture.
- Top with a layer of pastry and repeat until there are six layers.
- Dust the top with confectioners sugar.
- Repeat with the other pastry rectangles.
- Chill until ready to serve.
Pastry Cream/Creme Patisserie
- 3 cups half and half
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 8 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons organic cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Beat the egg yolks and sugar until ribbons form
- Whisk the cornstarch into the milk and heat, stirring until it begins to boil and thicken
- Pour 1/3 of the hot milk mixture slowly into the egg yolks stirring constantly.
- Pour the egg yolk mixture back into the pan with the milk, stirring constantly
- Cook, stirring, until thick , about one to two minutes at most (Don;t allow to curdle)
- Pour though a strainer into a bowl
- Stir in butter and vanilla
- Lay a piece of buttered plastic wrap on the top and chill
Can be made a day ahead if desired.
images: marye audet
I love pears. When I was growing up we had a pear tree in the yard. It was an ancient and gnarled tree that produced the sweetest of sickle pears. I would climb to the top branches of that tree with the library book I was reading and could literally spend and entire summer afternoon in complete oblivion to the rest of the world.
The summer that I discovered Louisa May Alcott was also the summer I discovered the boy that lived in the house next door and played football in the yard between our houses. I believe I was in fourth grade and was precociously interested in the rippling of his shoulder muscles as he threw and caught the football. So, the tree took on a new facet for me; a place where I could observe un-noticed the object of my 10 year old affections.
Always the pears were ready for me in the golden heat of a late August afternoon. Warmed from the sun, sweet, ripe and juicy – those pears had a flavor that is indescribable to this day. I can taste them. Continue reading