Tarte Napoleon, Russian cake with an imperial name
Торт “Наполеон”, a cake with this name is originally from France, it cannot be otherwise. Here this type of pastry was originally called “gâteau de mille-feuilles” which means “cake with a thousand layers”. Traditionally, a mille-feuille is made up of three layers of puff pastry, between which two layers of pastry cream are placed and the top layer of dough is covered with a layer of powdered sugar. Later variants have a glaze layer and that is how the typical Dutch tompus was created. However, the Russian Tarte Napoleon that we are going to make here is of a completely different caliber!
Le Cuisinier François
The Russian pie has many more layers than the tompus and the top is not glazed, but crumbs of dough. Almost every European country has its own variation on the mille-feuille theme, for example in England the ‘vanilla slice’ is known, in Sweden and in Finland the ‘Napoleonbakelse’ and in Spain the ‘Milhojas’, which somewhat resembles the Russian one. Tarte Napoleon.
The mille-feuille is first described in 1651 by François Pierre La Varenne in Le Cuisinier François, well before Napoleon appeared on the world stage and although there are numerous legends about this, there is no evidence that the name of the cake could be linked. are those of the emperor. It would rather be a derivative of the French word Napolitain that refers to the Italian city of Naples, the Italians are therefore convinced that the pastry originally came from Italy.
Recipe for Tarte Napoleon
It is a laborious cake, it really takes some time, but the result is overwhelmingly delicious and you will certainly reap fame with it! Keep in mind that it requires a long cooling time, so make it a day before serving.
Ingredients for the cake:
- 400 grams of butter
- 2 eggs
- 150 ml ice-cold water
- 650 grams of sifted flour
- 3 tablespoons of vodka or brandy
- 1 tablespoon of 9% vinegar
- pinch of salt
Ingredients for the filling:
- 7 egg yolks
- 1.5 liters of milk
- 360 grams of granulated sugar
- 30 grams of vanilla sugar
- 200 grams of soft butter
- 100 grams of sifted flour
Preparation in stages
We prepare this cake in stages, first we make the dough, then we bake all layers of dough separately, then we make the filling and put together the cake, then it must be cooled for at least six hours and then we do the finishing.
Preparation of the dough:
- In a pouring cup, pour the ice-cold water, the tablespoon of vinegar and the 3 tablespoons of cognac, stir well,
- beat the eggs, add a pinch of salt and stir the salt through the eggs with a whisk,
- pour the water with the vinegar and brandy on the eggs and mix until smooth,
- sift the flour over a clean work surface,
- cut the cold butter into cubes and add them to the flour on the work surface,
- Using a large knife, quickly chop the flour and butter to a sandy mixture,
- if it is well mixed, make a mound of butter and flour with a well in the middle,
- pour the egg-vinegar-cognac mixture into the hole and knead everything well together,
- divide the dough into four equal parts and roll three balls from each part to get twelve equal balls in total.
Now cover the dough balls with cling film and put them in the fridge for at least one to one and a half hours.
Bake the dough layers one by one
The dough balls are rolled out into twelve thin layers that you bake individually, the most convenient is to bake them on the back of your oven baking tray, on which you also roll out the dough layer that is next to bake.
Baking the dough layers:
- Preheat the oven to 220-230 ° Celsius,
- slide the baking tray in without dough and heat the tray for about 1 minute,
- put a tea towel on your work surface and place the baking tray upside down, so that it does not shift when the dough rolls,
- you now dust the back of the baking tray with a small amount of flour,
- roll out one of the dough balls on this into a thin crust of about 25 cm in diameter,
- now take a plate of about 23 cm in diameter and place it on top of the rolled out dough,
- cut the outline of the plate out of the dough with the convex, unsharp side of a knife – this way the baking tray does not damage,
- carefully remove the plate and use a fork to prick as many holes as possible in the dough, the more the better,
- leave the cutting residues of the dough, which bake with it and are later crumbled for the top layer of the cake,
- bake the dough layer in the middle of the oven for about 5 to 7 minutes at 220-230 ° Celsius lightly golden brown,
- baking time and temperature depends on the type of oven, temperature or cooking time you can increase or decrease slightly,
- the dough is baked quite quickly, so keep a close eye on it, it should not get too dark,
- after baking, first remove the trimmings from the plate, crumble it over a bowl and set it aside for a while,
- carefully loosen the baked dough layer with a knife and slide it on a flat plate,
- then roll out the second dough layer on the baking tray and bake it in the same way, etcetera, etcetera,
- eventually you will have twelve layers of dough, stack them all together in the meantime and then set them aside for a while.
When all the dough is baked, we can start making the filling, a custard custard.
Vanilla sugar or vanilla pods for the filling
Instead of vanilla sugar you can also use a vanilla pod to obtain an even more beautiful richly scented cream. The vanilla pod should be cut open, scrape out the seeds with a knife and put them in the milk with the pods. Bring the milk to the boil, stirring occasionally, then remove from the heat, remove the pod and strain through a fine sieve.
Preparing the filling:
- Split the eggs, put the egg yolks in a bowl and mix in the sugar and vanilla sugar,
- pour in 50 ml of the milk and stir with a whisk until smooth,
- little by little add the sifted flour while stirring well in the meantime,
- when the flour has been absorbed and should not form lumps, add another 50 ml of milk,
- keep stirring, the mixture will now have the consistency of thick liquid cream,
- pour the rest of the milk into a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally, make sure the milk does not burn,
- Meanwhile, put the yolk-milk mixture in another large, thick-bottomed pan,
- pour in the warm milk while stirring until it is completely absorbed,
- now put this mixture on the stove and bring it to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon,
- a thick creamy custard will now slowly but surely develop after about 7 to 10 minutes, make sure it does not boil,
- once the custard has thickened, remove the pan from the heat,
- let the custard cool to room temperature and stir occasionally so that no crust forms,
- now put the 200 gram soft butter in a mixing bowl and process it with the hand mixer to a soft cream,
- add the custard pan, stir the custard for a while and add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the custard to the butter, mix it together,
- while you keep mixing add some custard and so on, you can increase the amount of custard a little each time,
- gradually you combine all the custard with the butter and you get a luscious smooth cream.
the filling is now ready to use in the cake.
Build the cake
For convenience, we build the cake in a form covered with cling film, so it is not a problem if we mess with the filling, it eventually ends up in the right place when we push the film against the cake after filling.
Composing the cake:
- Take a springform pan with a diameter of 26 cm and cover it on the inside with cling film,
- place a first layer of baked dough at the bottom of the tin and add 4 to 5 tablespoons of filling,
- spread the filling evenly over the entire surface of the dough,
- cover the filling with a second layer of dough and spread another layer of filling over it,
- continue like this with all layers of dough, between all layers you always add a quantity of filling,
- when you have applied the top layer, gently press the cake with your hands,
- now also spread the top layer with cream, detach the foil from the mold, remove the springform edge,
- push the foil against the sides of the cake so that excess cream sticks to the edge of the cake,
- fold the foil over the cake so that the top is also covered and chill the cake for at least 6 hours,
- then remove the cake from the foil and place it on four strips of baking paper on the plate on which you want to serve the cake,
- now grease the edges of the cake with the filling with a palette knife,
- the strips of baking paper prevent you from spilling on the plate on which you serve the cake,
- now sprinkle and push the crumbled baked dough chips that you have saved against the edges of the cake,
- then also sprinkle dough crumbs on the top of the cake,
- Finally, carefully remove the strips of baking paper from under the cake and your special creation is ready!
The biggest surprise of this exquisite cake is of course on the inside, serve with a dash of whipped cream.