Praline Mocha Napoleons

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An updated version of the classic napoleon.

It is necessary to assemble this dessert at the last minute to make sure that the puff pastry remains crisp.

Ingredients

Method

On a lightly floured board, roll the puff pastry 1/16 inch thick (see Puff Pastry recipe for rolling and cutting tips). Dock the puff pastry. Cut it into 18 pieces, each 4 by 5 inches. Put the pieces on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (You can stack them between sheets of parchment paper.) Freeze the puff pastry for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Line baking pans with parchment paper, put the frozen puff pastry on the baking pans, and cover with inverted wire mesh baking racks. Bake the pastry for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.

For the praline tops

Dissolve the sugar in the water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat. Increase the heat to high and cook the sugar until it is a golden amber color. Stir in the almonds. Be careful, as the caramel is very hot. Working quickly with a pastry brush, brush a thin layer of caramel on top of 8 pieces of the puff pastry. (Do not make the caramel layer too thick or the puff pastry will be hard to eat.) Set the caramel tops aside to cool. These will be the top layers of the napoleons.

To assemble the napoleons

Place a piece of puff pastry on each plate and top with 2-3 tablespoons of the pastry cream. Spoon some of the chocolate custard sauce over the pastry cream. Place another piece of puff pastry on the custard sauce and spoon on more pastry cream. Finish the napoleon with a piece of the caramelized puff.

Serve immediately.
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