On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me…three French Hens…and a French Napoleon Pastry!
4 cups Whole Milk
2/3 cup Granulated Sugar
1/3 cup Flour
7 oz. Butter (room temperature)
2 tbsp. Cornstarch
2 Vanilla Beans
10 Egg Yolks
Additional Flour to roll out pastry crust
Additional Butter for baking sheet (or use parchment paper as a lining)
Powdered Sugar to decorate
How to Make It:
Preheat oven to 400°F
1. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry into a large rectangle that you will be able to cut into three even parts (once cooked, not now!). Transfer rolled out pastry onto a baking sheet (lightly buttered or else lined with parchment paper). Prick top of pastry with a fork. Cover pastry with a layer of parchment paper and place another baking sheet, of the same size, on top, to keep pastry flat. If you don’t have another baking sheet, just pour rice or any dried bean over the top. Put in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
2. Remove pastry from the refrigerator and bake (with either the additional baking sheet on top, or with the rice/beans on top) for ten minutes. Take out of oven, remove baking sheet (or rice/beans) and remove top layer of parchment paper. Put back in oven for another 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool off entirely before spreading on cream filling.
3. As your pastry is baking, you can prepare the cream filling. In a large saucepan combine the yolks and sugar and stir well. Then stir in flour, and cornstarch.
4. Cut vanilla beans in half lengthwise, and scrape out the seeds into the mixture and stir well.
5. Slowly stir in the milk until homogenous. Put the cream filling on the stove (light heat) and very gently bring to a simmer — when you see small bubbles, take it off the heat and refrigerate.
6. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter so that it rises. Gently mix in the rest of the cream filling.
7. Once the pastry has cooled, cut it carefully (serrated knife works best) into three even parts. Using a spoon and a spatula spread a thick layer of cream filling on two parts of pastry crust. Stack these two layers and cover with the third (top) pastry piece. Sprinkle top