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Waterloo! Finally facing my Waterloo!

My nephew and I made Napoleons last night. See what I did there with the subject line?

I have conquered gluten-free puff pastry, you see. I had half a batch in the fridge (the first half having gone to make little test crackers), and I wanted to use it up before it went off. So I told my nephew, who's getting to that always-hungry age, that I was going to make Napoleons, and would he like to help out and then eat them?

"What're Napoleons?"

"They are delicious stacks of puff pastry layered with rich vanilla pastry cream and topped with chocolate-striped fondant."

Nephew, being a sensible boy who has been raised on good food, a) actually knew what I was talking about in that description and b) instantly perceived its appeal.

We ran to the store for a few things, then came back and he read me the recipe and measured stuff (in between playing with his iPhone and talking to me about Halo Reach), and by and by we had these sort-of Napoleons.

The pastry cream was too thin--more of a crème anglaise, really. We could not be bothered with fondant, so settled for powdered-sugar icing. The chocolate stripes were more like little blobs ("polka dots," we decided), and the result was incredibly messy and the portion had to be served in a bowl, with more custard spooned over the top to make up for what smooshed out upon cutting.

It was not photogenic, so I didn't photograph it.

But oh sweet mother of Jesus, it was delicious. The puff pastry (made from rice and tapioca flours, mostly) was absolutely perfectly croustillant--it crackled between the teeth with the most delicious crunch, and stayed crisp even in the face of the too-thin pastry cream. The pastry cream was rich and sweet and vanilla and cold. Eating this thing was dessert heaven.

Nephew and I each had a portion, then my 17 year old niece came over and she and I split what was left. She agreed that this was one of the greater family pâtisserie achievements ever.

Then I went to bed, and oh the dreams I had. The tossing and turning. The noise of my brain. I awoke this morning with a genuine, honest-to-badness hangover from the sugar. It took me two quarts of water, two ibuprofen, and two large cups of black coffee to begin to feel like a real girl again.

It's been a long time since I sugared out like that. Makes me realize how far I've come, because I used to be in that state, like, most of the time.

So will I be making gluten free Napoleons again? Oh hell yes. But I'll make them presentable, so that I can present them to others before they kill me.


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 11th, 2010 11:27 pm (UTC)
Sugar gives you a hangover? you, me, people? yikes!

I don't eat tons, but...
May. 11th, 2010 11:32 pm (UTC)
Oh my, yes, if you eat enough of it. Apparently, last night I did. :( The deliciousness camouflaged the danger, I'm afraid.
May. 11th, 2010 11:47 pm (UTC)
You can fill napoleons with savory fillings y'know--all the flaky pastry goodness, none of the sugar hangover!
May. 11th, 2010 11:59 pm (UTC)
You could, but then they wouldn't be Napoleons--they'd be, like, rectangular vol-au-vents or something, n'est-ce-pas?

Chicken salad would be nice. But what would you use for frosting? Maybe a little cream cheese?
May. 12th, 2010 01:00 am (UTC)
I was thinking something in the spinach line, although that might collapse into spanakopita. But a ham filling could have a squiggle of mustardy cheese on top and a dusting of paprika.
May. 12th, 2010 02:06 am (UTC)
Ham. Oh, yes! I'm still at work and getting VERY hungry, and that just sounds fab. Like, kind of a deviled ham thing.

Om nom nom.
May. 13th, 2010 01:54 am (UTC)
Also, on reflection, I've seen restaurant reports with savory Napoleons filled with foie gras or asparagus--well, it isn't foie gras season right now but ...
May. 11th, 2010 11:59 pm (UTC)
Meant to add: the real trick would be just not to eat quite so much of a yummy thing at once next time!
May. 12th, 2010 01:01 am (UTC)
Yeah, well, for me *everything* comes in a single-serving package, so that wouldn't work.
May. 12th, 2010 02:07 am (UTC)
Yeah, I'm kind of that way too, hence the marshalling the family (or coworker) eating troops.
May. 12th, 2010 06:08 pm (UTC)
that sound fantabulous!

also, i didn't think i've never had them and looked 'em up on the internets to see what they look like and now i'm really hungry. and no, i don't think i have had them, although i have seen them.

more things to make when i decide to pastry binge again! i just gained 10 lbs from not paying attention to what i eat so i'm trying to be strict again for a bit! :P

May. 12th, 2010 06:16 pm (UTC)
I congratulate you on the rational approach to your diet.

And let me tell you, after that accidental binge the other night (seriously, I had no idea how much sugar I'd packed in till I was done packing it in), I'm sated for a while. It's been protein pretty much exclusively for two days.
May. 13th, 2010 01:25 am (UTC)
Well they sound amazing even without the pictures. Can't remember the last time I had a Napoleon, but I don't think I've ever eaten a whole one by myself. And for exactly the reason you mention, because yowza, that would be one heck of a sugar crash. You were very wise to recruit someone to help you finish them off!
May. 13th, 2010 04:08 am (UTC)
As I recall, the ones you get at a French patisserie are not humungous--maybe sort of a 2x4 inch rectangle, in a little fluted paper thing. Perfect little single serving dessert.

Mine, on the other hand, being hard to cut neatly, were perhaps a bit bigger than that...
May. 14th, 2010 02:10 am (UTC)
Hee. A post that has a good pun, experimental pastry cookery, and an offhand mention of both iPhones and Halo.

I might have to try some gluten free baking one of these days.

May. 14th, 2010 02:34 am (UTC)
It's been very horizon-expanding for me. Half of everything I knew about baking (which was quite a bit) had to go out the window, and in its place I've been learning about the properties of all these various flours. I'm beginning to get a feel for it at last, and my inner workings are grateful.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )



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