Napoleons are one of those pastries that are entirely made from components you probably already know: puff pastry, pastry cream and poured fondant. That being the case, there’s no “recipe” this week per se, just a list of things you’ll want to have on-hand (all can be made well in advance):
Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll out your puff pastry into a thin sheet, about 12″ x 17″, the dimensions of a half sheet pan or cookie sheet. Place the rolled dough on a parchment-lined sheet and refrigerate it for about 20 minutes.
When ready to bake, poke holes all over the puff pastry sheet with a fork, lay another sheet pan on top of it (to discourage too much puffing), and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the top pan and bake another 20 minutes or so until dark brown (check after 10 to make sure it’s not getting overdone). Allow the sheet to cool, then trim the edges straight and cut the sheet cross-ways into three equal pieces. Layer them one on top of the other with the pastry cream, save for the top, and refrigerate the pastry for about two hours.
When ready to finish, have a squeeze bottle of chocolate poured fondant ready. Melt the remaining fondant in a small saucepan, then allow it to cool slightly to a medium-thick texture. Pour it over the pastry, pushing it to the edges of the top layer with an offset spatula, then promptly squeeze stripes of the chocolate fondant down the length of the pastry. Using a knife or bench scraper, make the classic “cuts” in the fondant, pulling the chocolate stripe in one direction, then the other.
Refrigerate the pastry at least two more hours to firm before cutting. Slice into strips using a sharp serrated knife and long, gentle strokes. Serve chilled.