Impossibly light and airy considering that the pastry foundation is composed of dozens, if not hundreds, of gossamer-thin layers, the classic Napoleon is a delicious study in contrasts. Rich, silky smooth cream alternates with those shatteringly-crisp sheets, piled high in alternating stratum. Razor-sharp corners lined up in perfect rows behind French bakery cases, icing immaculately striped as if printed by a machine, much of their popularity stems from their innate beauty.
Needless to say, such extraordinary works of edible art can be almost intimidating to eat, let alone consider creating at home. However, Napoleons needn’t be condemned by novice bakers; frozen puff pastry is the not-so-secret ingredient that makes stunning dessert possible in a snap. Though traditionally made with butter, many “accidentally vegan” versions now exist, so with alittle careful label reading, you could be chowing down on homemade Napoleons even greater than anything store bought in no time at all. Rather than going down the same plain vanilla path, shake things up with a bright green pistachio mousse, brightened with a pop of fresh lemon zest. An ideal finish to any spring time meal, these impressive pastries needn’t be confined to only special occasions anymore, especially when they come together so easily.