Orange Napoleons (Oranje Tompoezen)

If you have been watching the football World Cup at all, you’ll know that the Netherlands has been doing pretty well.  Everybody but the coach and the team itself was skeptical at first, but “Oranje” started off pretty amazingly by beating Spain 5-1 and since that moment, Orange Fever (Oranjekoorts) has kept our country in its unfashionably colored grip. I have been watching pretty much every and any match and I have yelled at the tv a couple of times (okay, maybe more than a couple of times..). I guess you could say I’m a fanatic supporter! But then again, most Dutchies are. We are famous for our crazy, orange supporter outfits:  guys in Dirndl dresses, girls in beer dresses. None of the regular fashion rules apply during national football games. And what we do in fashion, we do in food as well. Every orange occasion calls for an orange foodstuff. Orange pudding, orange potato chips, orange liqueur ánd the most popular and ultimate of orange foods: the Orange Napoleon. And so it came about that I baked these before today’s match instead of buying the gelatine-laden “tompoezen” that can be found in the supermarkets. Let’s be honest, who wouldn’t prefer a homemade Napoleon over a supermarket one (soggy bottoms, anyone)? 

If you support another country, or just aren’t that fond of orange (I understand completely if you aren’t), you can give the icing on top another color. Over here, a pinkish color is the alternative but you can go for green or blue if you’re feeling adventurous. I’d strongly suggest preparing the puff pastry the evening before you need the napoleons, as it’s a time consuming process. It’s so worth it though: flaky, buttery pastry is just the best thing to compliment the lushious crème patissière and whipped cream inside. They are best consumed on day of baking – but you could stretch it to a day or 2 if you keep them cool in the fridge. To keep the pastry from going soggy, you could melt some white chocolate au bain marie and brush it on the sides of the pastry that are going to touch the cream. Works like a treat, and tastes great too. Well, there’s only one thing left for me to say before tonight’s game (only a few hours away!): HUP HOLLAND HUP!

Recipe Orange Napoleons (Orange Tompoezen)
yields: 10-12 slices (depending on how large you want them to be)
Tools: palette knife, piping bag with round and star nozzle, bowl for au bain marie or microwave, rolling pin
Puff pastry:
166   grams plain flour
33     grams unsalted butter, slightly softened
92     grams cold water
3,5    grams salt
116    grams unsalted butter, cold and shaped into a square (for folding into the dough)
Crème Patissière:
6       egg yolks
125    grams caster sugar
40     grams plain flour
500    ml full-fat milk
1       vanilla pod
Filling and topping:
250   ml whipping cream
2      tablespoons (vanilla) sugar
175   grams poured fondant icing
orange food coloring (alternatively, you could use berry or beet juice as a natural colorant)
chocolate decorations (optional)
1. Start by making the puff pastry. Add flour, 33 grams unsalted butter, water and salt to a bowl. Knead until all the ingredients have been incorporated into the dough. You shouldn’t see any bits of butter anymore. Make sure not to overknead. Shape dough into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for 15 minutes. 
2. Once chilled, place dough on a lightly floured working surface. Flatten the ball slightly, then roll it out to form a cross. Make sure you leave a little mound in the centre. This is what it should look like (click, picture by Place your square in the middle of the cross, it should have plenty of room there. Fold each of the cross’ arms over the square of butter to seal it in. Wrap the dough into clingfilm and chill in the fridge for another 15 minutes.
3. Now the really time-intensive part. Pound the dough with a rolling pin a couple of times before rolling it into a long rectangle. Before folding, remove any flour that you have dusted the top of the dough with. Fold the top end of the rectangle over two-thirds of the rectangle, the bottom over one-third. Pat it a bit, then fold the new rectangle in two. Give the dough a quarter turn, then roll out into a rectangle again and fold again as before (from “fold the top end” to “in two”). You have now completed two “half turns” and thus given the dough one whole turn. Wrap the resulting square into clingfilm and chill it for 60 minutes. After chilling, give the dough another two “half turns”, wrap into clingfilm and chill for another 60 minutes. Lastly, another two “half turns” and 60 minutes of resting and your pastry is ready.
4. Preheat your oven to 180C/360F. Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment, and brush the paper with a little water. On a lightly floured working surface, roll your puff pastry out to a 40X30cm rectangle. Trim your edges so that they are nice and straight, then transfer the pastry to your baking sheet. Prick the pastry with a fork all over – don’t be afraid to prick it too many times! You need to do this to keep it from expanding too much. Cut the dough into two 20x30cm rectangles (down the middle). Chill in the fridge for 60 minutes (this is to help it keep its shape once it’s being baked). Once chilled, bake at 180C/360F for 20 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 150C/300F and bake for another 10 minutes. Once baked, turn out onto a wire rack (handle with care) and leave to cool.
5. To make the crème patissière, pour milk into a large saucepan and add one third of the sugar and the seeds of one vanilla pod + the “emptied” vanilla pod halves. Set aside. Whisk the remaining sugar and the egg yolks until it is pale in color, and the mixture lightly forms a ribbon. Sift the flour into the egg mixture and mix well until combined. 
6. Bring milk mixture to a boil, lift the vanilla pod halves out just before boiling point. Once the milk is boiling, pour a third of it into egg mixture, all the while whisking the egg mixture. Once mixed, pour egg mixture into the milk and, while continuously whisking to prevent lumps, bring back to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then pour cream into a bowl and melt a little butter over the top to keep a skin from forming (in fancy french terms, this is called “tamponner”). Leave to cool.
7. While your cream is cooling, place one pastry sheet on a wire rack with a baking tin underneath (this will be your “top” sheet). Mix coloring into poured fondant and heat au bain marie for a minute until it is very liquid. Pour fondant onto the pastry sheet and carefully spread it so that it is evenly covered. Leave to harden. 
8. Once everything is cool and hardened out, it is time to assemble. First whisk your whipping cream with the (vanilla) sugar until it is firm. Set aside. Place your bottom sheet on a cutting board. Pipe or spread the cooled crème patissière evenly over the sheet. Carefully spread two thirds of the whipped cream evenly over the crème patissière, then cover with the top sheet. Cut into 10 to 12 napoleon slices with a wet knife, make sure the knife is sharp and wet before each cut. Use the remaining whipped cream to decorate the tops of the napoleon slices with. If your filling is looking a little messy, use a (palette) knife to even the sides out a bit. 
Sources: puff pastry adapted from De Banketbakker, crème patissière from The Roux Brothers on Patisserie

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