Easy Strawberry Napoleon

I’ll admit it. I’m a little burnt out on cooking shows. Mostly because the vast majority of them cook meals that would never go over in my household. Thankfully, there are exceptions and ABC’s The Chew is one of them.

The Chew – TV Food for the Everyday Mom

The Chew CastFirst The Chew has a cast I enjoy and an ensemble has a cook for every taste. Budget eaters will love Michael Symon. Comfort cooks find Mario Batali’s recipes perfect. For me, it’s Carla Hall. She’s a cook who doesn’t take the whole culinary thing too seriously and I love that about her. Plus she loves sweets!

The cast is rounded out by Clinton Kelly who shares styling and entertaining ideas – I love his humor – and Daphne Oz who reminds us that food is fuel and we need to think beyond taste and about the nutrition. They also bring on guests who are entertaining and fresh on a regular basis.

I love how familiar and friendly the cast is with each other. It often feels like we’re all sitting around the kitchen counter talking about recipes. They take friendly jabs at each other and lend support when one is promoting a new project or book.

They offer more than recipes on The Chew. There are money saving tips, ways to preserve your harvest, and plenty of how-to’s behind the recipes. It’s one of these how-to segments that inspired me to try something I’d failed at several times before. Baking with puffed pastry. I know, it’s supposed to be incredibly simple; after all, someone else has done all the hard work of making the layers of dough brushed with butter. But for the life of me, I’ve never had a single thing turn out when I used it.

Carla’s Strawberry Napoleon with Vanilla Pastry Cream

That’s all about to change. I use the video below to help me make Carla’s Strawberry Napoleon with Vanilla Pastry Cream. It’s a dessert made up of layers of buttery puff pastry fill with sweet strawberry filling and vanilla pastry cream topped with icing and melted chocolate. It sounds ambitious, but after watching the video below, it gave me the confidence to try it out.

The Chew: Carla’s Strawberry Napoleon with Vanilla Pastry Cream Video

So how’d I do? Well, here’s my version of Carla’s recipe.

Strawberry Napoleon with Vanilla Pastry Cream
  • Puff Pastry
  • 1 package frozen Puff Pastry (two sheets), thawed per package instructions
  • 1 tsp Butter, melted
  • Strawberry Compote
  • 1 lb fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • ¼ cup super fine granulated sugar
  • Zest from ½ lemon
  • Pastry Cream
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • ½ cup superfine sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 4 egg yolks (room temperature)
  • 2 Tbls butter (cubed)
  • 2 tsp good vanilla extract
  • icing
  • 1-1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 2 Tbls water (add up to ½ tbls more if needed)
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • ⅛ cup chocolate chips or melting chocolate
  1. Puff Pastry
  2. Gently roll the puffed pastry on floured surface to ⅛” thickness. Cut into 24 rectangles (12 each sheet). Transfer the pastry to parchment or silpat lined baking sheets being sure there’s a small distance between pastries.
  3. Cook per package directions – until lightly browned. Remove and allow to cool completely.
  4. Strawberry Compote
  5. Place the strawberries and sugar in a medium pot with a pinch of salt. Cook 9-11 minutes until the sugar is dissolved – use a potato masher to break up the berries as it cooks. The liquid should reduce by half and it should thicken so you see the bottom as you stir.
  6. Cool then cover the compote with plastic wrap, pressing plastic onto top of the compote to prevent a skin from forming. Place it in refrigerator until well chilled or even overnight.
  7. Pastry Cream
  8. Have everything at hand and ready when you start – having a helper makes it easier. You’ll have a few minutes of intense cooking but it’s worth it.
  9. Heat the cream in a saucepan over medium-low heat until steaming. Quickly whisk in the sugar, cornstarch and return to a low boil.
  10. In a small bowl, whisk eggs and temper with ½ cup of the hot milk mixture by whisking the eggs and slowly dribbling the milk mixture into it - stirring constantly - to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Gradually pour the egg mixture into the milk pot on the stove and continue to whisk as the mixture returns to a boil. Continue to cook until thick about 3 minutes.
  11. Strain the cream through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl (this gets out any lumps from the cornstarch). Add the butter, cut into bits, and stir until it’s melted. Add the vanilla and stir until creamy.
  12. Let the cream cool for a few minutes and then cover with plastic wrap, pressing plastic onto top of cream to prevent a skin from forming. Place in refrigerator until chilled or even overnight.
  13. Icing
  14. In a medium bowl, whisk powdered sugar to remove lumps. Add water and lemon juice and stir to create a smooth icing.
  15. Assembly
  16. You can do this in three layers, but I prefer two. With a plastic reclosable bag or pastry bag, pipe the cream into the center of a puff pastry. Top with strawberry compote. Then dip a puff pastry into the icing, let the excess drip off, and place it on top of the compote.
  17. Next drizzle chocolate over the top (heat in a double boiler or microwave and pipe it with a plastic bag or bottle). Use a knife or toothpick to draw through the chocolate and icing layer left to right, right to left, and then left to right again.
  18. Serve immediately.
  20. Make the cream and strawberry compote the night ahead. Bake the puff pastry and make the day of and assemble just before serving.

The Chew: Mon, Jul 22, 2013 Episode

The Chew Crew cooks up a feast selected by viewers with Clinton Kelly’s Kabob-A-Palooza, Michael Symon’s Lamb Burger and Carla Hall’s Plum Upside-Down Cake.

Check out ABC’s The Chew (weekdays 1e|12p|c) when you need a little inspiration, new entertaining and recipe ideas, and to share a laugh. Have Hulu? You can watch episodes of The Chew online for a limited time.

I’m always looking for new ways to spice up my Summer dishes, and ABC’s The Chew serves up everything from grilling and outdoor entertaining to road trips and picnics. Watch weekdays 1e|12p|c on ABC to see what celebrity chefs Mario Batali, Michael Symon, and Carla Hall, lifestyle expert Clinton Kelly and fresh face of healthy living Daphne Oz are dishing out to inspire you this Summer.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of ABC’s The Chew. The opinions and text are all mine.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of ABC’s The Chew. The opinions and text are all mine.