fbpx Skip to Content

Strawberry Napoleon

Sharing is caring!

Strawberry Napoleon is a classic French dessert made from layers of flaky puff pastry, homemade pastry cream and fresh strawberries. This dessert looks fancy, but is simple and perfect for kids to help make!

side view of platter filled with  strawberry napoleon

These napoleons are a great dessert you can serve any time you want to seem fancy, but really need something simple. They are light, fresh, and oh so fancy. The internet lands disagree if a Napoleon is the same thing as a mille-feulle. Both desserts have layers of flaky puff pastry sandwiched between lovely layers of pastry cream. A traditional mille feuille is typically topped with white icing and chocolate stripes.

This version is simplified, and I love this easy dessert to make with kids. Pairing homemade pastry cream with the shortcut of puff pastry from the freezer section means that with a little prep ahead work, you can have a fancy dessert that is ready in no time.

overhead view of white platter with six strawberry napoleon

Strawberries and Cream Napoleon

I imagine this easy dessert would be the perfect treat to whip up quickly if you need a fancy treat. It is be very easy to assemble a napoleon when you need it.

How to make Pastry Cream

Making homemade pastry cream isn’t difficult, it just takes a little time and some whisking! 

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk until it is simmering.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, cornstarch, vanilla and salt until it is combined and thick.
  3. Remove half of the hot milk. Leave the remainder in the saucepan off the heat.
  4. Temper the egg mixture with the portion of the hot milk that you removed. Slowly, slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking continually and vigorously. You want to slowly heat up the egg mixture with the hot milk, so make sure you go slowly or you will end up with scrambled eggs.
  5. Pour the tempered egg mixture into the saucepan with the rest of the hot milk.
  6. Place the saucepan back on medium heat and whisk vigorously for 2 minutes.
  7. While you are whisking, turn up the heat to medium-high and allow the egg mixture to come to a boil. Whisk for 1-2 minutes after you see the first bubbles start to break the surface.
  8. Remove from the heat.
  9. Whisk in the butter.
  10. Pour the custard into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure that the plastic wrap is touching the top of the custard (this will help it to not form a skin on top).
  11. Allow the custard to come to room temperature (or mostly cool). Chill in the fridge for 3-4 hours.

This pastry cream can be made up to 2 days ahead of time. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

collage showing steps to make pastry cream

Preparing the Puff Pastry

 Using premade puff pastry from the freezer section makes this recipe easy-peasy!

  1. Thaw the puff pastry according to the package directions.
  2. Lay the puff pastry sheets flat and cut along the fold lines to create 3 rectangular pieces. 
  3. Cut each of those 3 rectangles in half lengthwise, so you have 6 rectangle pieces (three on top and three on bottom).
  4. Cut each of those rectangles in half lengthwise, to give you 12 total pieces. 
  5. Place the puff pastry pieces on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
  6. Bake until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack when done.
  7. Repeat with the other sheet of puff pastry.

*Note: If you want your puff pastry to be very even and flat, place a piece of parchment paper on top of the cut puff pastry, and then layer a second baking sheet on top of it. Bake the puff pastry weighted like this to keep them from puffing up too much. Remove the weights for the last 5 minutes of baking.

collage showing steps to prepare puff pastry

Assembling the Napoleon

These napoleons are easy to assemble, and a great activity to do with kids! 

  1. Slice each puff pastry piece in half, creating a top and a bottom.
  2. Decide if you want two or three layers of puff pastry in your napoleon. If you do two, you will have some leftover puff pastry pieces. If you choose to do 3 layers, you will need to find relatively flat pieces to use as middle pieces. 
  3. Place the bottom pieces on a platter.
  4. Fill each bottom piece with some pastry cream.
  5. Layer sliced strawberries on top of the pastry cream.
  6. Take the top pieces and place some pastry cream on the underside (so the top stays pretty), and then place on top of the strawberries with the pastry cream touching the strawberries.
  7. Decorate the completed napoleons with a sprinkle of powdered sugar, whipped cream (if you want), or a small dot of pastry cream with a strawberry on top.
  8. Serve immediately.

These napoleons are best served fresh. However, you can parepare the various parts ahead of time and then assemble right before you eat. 

collage showing steps to assemble napoleon

How to serve this dessert to your family

I suggest serving these strawberry napoleons as part of a family dinner date celebrating the story “Beauty & the Beast”. Make the complete meal with Beef Ragu and Green Beans Almondine.

six strawberry napoleons on white platter

How to make this kid friendly 

Kids won’t need any help to love this fun dessert, but there are simple ways you can use this to help them expand their horizons with other food, too. That includes how you talk to your kids about what you eat, and getting them involved.

Table conversations with kids

How we talk to our kids about their food is key to helping them develop more curiosity about it. I love bringing in a talk of textures, colors, taste and curiosity into the dinner table conversation.

Try these conversation starters:

  • What kind of textures are in this dessert? How do you think the dessert would change if it was all the same texture?
  • What other fruit do you think would be good in this?
  • Usually this dessert has more layers – do you think next time we make this we should add even more layers? How do you think that would change the dessert?

Read more about how to explore the sense of taste with your kids.

close up of strawberry napoleon with platter in background

Kids in the kitchen: How your kids can help you cook

Getting your kids in the kitchen is an amazing way to help them be more interested in trying new foods and confident in their own abilities. 

This easy dessert recipe is great because it helps kids learn to stack and assemble parts and they get to practice whisking skills. This recipe is perfect for beginner cooks because it is so easy! And it is a great recipe for kids to experiment and become more comfortable with new flavors – which means they are more likely to eat it!

  • Kids aged 1-3 can help you measure ingredients for the pastry cream and wash the strawberries.
  • Kids aged 4-6 can do everything above, plus help you prepare the puff pastry, slice the strawberries, and help assemble the napoleons.
  • Kids aged 7-10+ can help you do everything above, plus help you whisk the pastry cream.

*Please note that these recommendations are generalized, and to please use your personal discretion with your child’s skill level. And always, always supervise! Read more about how to have your children help you in the kitchen.

side view of puff pastry and pastry cream layers

French Recipes:

Simple Dessert Recipes :

Food tastes better when its shared with the ones you love!

There’s nothing I love more than seeing you make my recipes! If you make this, don’t forget to leave a comment below and rate the recipe!

And if you are on Instagram, tag @gingeredwhisk and use the hashtag #gingeredwhisk on social media when you make my recipes so that I can share them and maybe even feature you. Follow along to get the latest updates:

And don’t forget to subscribe to the email list to get all the extra tips, tricks and bonuses! 

Subscribe here!

 

Want to save this for later? PIN THIS TO YOUR DESSERTS BOARD on Pinterest!

Yield: 8 Servings

Strawberry Napoleon Recipe

close up of strawberry napoleon with platter in background

Strawberry Napoleon is a classic French dessert made from layers of flaky puff pastry, homemade pastry cream and fresh strawberries. This dessert looks fancy, but is simple and perfect for kids to help make!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Additional Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 55 minutes

Ingredients

Pastry Cream

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter

2 sheets puff pastry

1 pint strawberries

Instructions

Pastry Cream

  • Making homemade pastry cream isn’t difficult, it just takes a little time and some whisking!
  • In a medium saucepan, heat the milk until it is simmering.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, cornstarch, vanilla and salt until it is combined and thick.
  • Remove half of the hot milk. Leave the remainder in the saucepan off the heat.
  • Temper the egg mixture with the portion of the hot milk that you removed. Slowly, slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking continually and vigorously. You want to slowly heat up the egg mixture with the hot milk, so make sure you go slowly or you will end up with scrambled eggs.
  • Pour the tempered egg mixture into the saucepan with the rest of the hot milk.
  • Place the saucepan back on medium heat and whisk vigorously for 2 minutes.
  • While you are whisking, turn up the heat to medium-high and allow the egg mixture to come to a boil. Whisk for 1-2 minutes after you see the first bubbles start to break the surface.
  • Remove from the heat.
  • Whisk in the butter.
  • Pour the custard into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure that the plastic wrap is touching the top of the custard (this will help it to not form a skin on top).
  • Allow the custard to come to room temperature (or mostly cool). Chill in the fridge for 3-4 hours.
  • Puff Pastry

    1. Thaw the puff pastry according to the package directions.
    2. Lay the puff pastry sheets flat and cut along the fold lines to create 3 rectangular pieces.
    3. Cut each of those 3 rectangles in half lengthwise, so you have 6 rectangle pieces (three on top and three on bottom).
    4. Cut each of those rectangles in half lengthwise, to give you 12 total pieces.
    5. Place the puff pastry pieces on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
    6. Bake until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack when done.
    7. Repeat with the other sheet of puff pastry.

      *Note: If you want your puff pastry to be very even and flat, place a piece of parchment paper on top of the cut puff pastry, and then layer a second baking sheet on top of it. Bake the puff pastry weighted like this to keep them from puffing up too much. Remove the weights for the last 5 minutes of baking.

    Assembly

    1. Slice each puff pastry piece in half, creating a top and a bottom.
    2. Decide if you want two or three layers of puff pastry in your napoleon. If you do two, you will have some leftover puff pastry pieces. If you choose to do 3 layers, you will need to find relatively flat pieces to use as middle pieces.
    3. Place the bottom pieces on a platter.
    4. Fill each bottom piece with some pastry cream.
    5. Layer sliced strawberries on top of the pastry cream.
    6. Take the top pieces and place some pastry cream on the underside (so the top stays pretty), and then place on top of the strawberries with the pastry cream touching the strawberries.
    7. Decorate the completed napoleons with a sprinkle of powdered sugar, whipped cream (if you want), or a small dot of pastry cream with a strawberry on top.
    8. Serve immediately.

    Notes

    These napoleons are best served fresh. However, you can parepare the various parts ahead of time and then assemble right before you eat.

    This pastry cream can be made up to 2 days ahead of time. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

    Nutrition Information:

    Yield:

    8

    Serving Size:

    1

    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 199Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 138mgSodium: 138mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 0gSugar: 16gProtein: 6g

    Nutrition information is an estimate and is provided for informational purposes only. For the most accurate information, please calculate using your specific brands and exact measurements.

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram, and don't forget to tag #gingeredwhisk.

    Green Beans Almondine with Bacon
    ← Previous
    South African Yellow Rice
    Next →

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    as seen in image with company logos
    Skip to content