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Thursday, June 10, 2010 09:24 am

Strawberry chocolate Napoleons

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If you’d like some chocolate with your strawberries, try this recipe, which looks as good as it tastes. Phyllo dough is available in the freezer section of most grocery stores. If you’ve never worked with phyllo dough, don’t let the tissue paper thin sheets intimidate you. Just remember to keep the sheets you’re not working with covered, or they’ll dry out. And don’t worry if they tear: they’re easy to patch and repair. Unless I’m feeding a crowd, I seldom use a whole package at a time. Don’t bother trying to save or refreeze extra dough sheets – they’re inexpensive, and don’t refreeze well.

  • 2 c. strawberries, washed and thoroughly drained and dried
  • Sugar to taste, plus 1/4 c. for the whipped cream, preferably baker’s or bar sugar
  • 1/2 package phyllo dough, unthawed according to package directions
  • 1 c. dark chocolate chips, Ghirardelli double chocolate or 60 percent preferred
  • 1/4 c. unsalted butter
  • Turbinado or Demerara sugar, sometimes labeled Sugar in the Raw, for sprinkling
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • mint sprigs for garnish, optional

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Stem the strawberries and slice them, reserving 4 whole berries for garnish. Toss with sugar to taste and let stand for at least 1/2 hour. The amount of sugar will depend on the tartness of the berries.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking spray.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. When it is bubbling, remove from the heat and add the chocolate chips. Whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Keep warm.

Phyllo dough comes in 1 lb. boxes; lately most are divided into two packages that contain half sheets. If you purchase a box with whole sheets, cut them in half or fold them over.

Lay a (half) sheet of phyllo dough on the parchment lined baking sheet, with the widest side at the bottom (cover the remaining phyllo with a lint-free towel, plastic wrap or parchment to keep from drying out). Brush and dab the sheet with the chocolate/butter mixture. It should be just barely coated, not saturated. Place another sheet on top and repeat for a total of six layers. With a sharp knife cut the pastry into thirds vertically, and in half lengthwise. Then cut each rectangle crosswise into triangles. Lightly sprinkle turbinado sugar over the top.

Place a sheet of parchment paper over the top of the pastry and cover with another baking sheet.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry is crisp. Remove the top baking sheet and the parchment paper and let cool. If you will not be serving the Napoleons within a few hours, place the pastries in an airtight container as soon as they are completely cooled; they absorb humidity very quickly.

Have your bowl and whisk cold for whipping the cream. Place the cream in a bowl and add the sugar and vanilla. Whisk until the cream forms soft peaks.

To serve, place a chocolate triangle on a plate. Add a dollop of whipped cream (a generous tablespoon), then spoon over some of the strawberries with the juice/syrup that will have been created by mixing them with the sugar. Repeat for two more layers (a total of three chocolate wafers). When you put the third wafer on top, press very gently, then reverse the order by putting a spoonful of strawberries, then a dollop of the whipped cream, and then finally a whole strawberry on top. Garnish with a mint sprig if desired and serve immediately. Serves 4.
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