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Friday, July 22, 2011

Chew on This | Very Berry Napoleons with Balsamic Glaze

By now, you might have realized that I'm thoroughly all about desserts. I just love them and I would be very willing to have every meal start with the sweet stuff! And this summer, these Napoleons would be at the very top of my list.

Very Berry Napoleons are three layers of delicate flaky pastry, topped with a luscious layer of cream, topped with fresh ripe summer berries, then hit with a drizzle of balsamic glaze...how sweet it is! I most often make napoleons for special occasions and this week I have one. My babies will return from a trip to the seashore and this will be a perfect 'Welcome Home'.

This is what you will need:  Phyllo pastry, unsalted butter, sugar, mascarpone cheese, heavy whipping cream, vanilla, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries.  Plus, balsamic vinegar, and confectioner's sugar, not shown.

I start by preparing my phyllo sheets first. Phyllo can seem intimidating, but a few quick steps will make working with it a breeze. First, open a package of phyllo and place 1 sheet on a clean work surface. Make sure to then cover the remaining phyllo with plastic wrap and then a damp towel to keep it from drying out while you're preparing each sheet. Now, brush the phyllo sheet with melted butter and sprinkle with 1/2 t of sugar.  Top with a second phyllo sheet and again brush with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Repeat this process until you have four phyllo sheets stacked.

Cut the layers in half lengthwise, then cut crosswise into thirds, which will create six  4 1/4" squares.  Transfer squares onto a prepared baking sheet and cover lightly with plastic wrap. 

Repeat this full process another two times so that you have a total of 18 squares. This will be enough for 6 servings.

Next, the balsamic glaze, which is what makes this napoleon so deliciously different.
Over medium-high heat, bring vinegar and 2 t of sugar to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until liquid is thick and reduced by half (about 25 minutes). Pop it in the fridge to cool.

Now for your creamy, dreamy filling! Beat mascarpone, heavy cream, vanilla extract and 1/4 cup sugar until stiff peaks form.

Clean all of your berries and it's time to put these beauties together!

Absolutely decadent! I'm sure you'll agree, after having one of these delicious delicacies, that dessert first should be considered proper etiquette!


Here is the recipe:

Very Berry Napoleons with Balsamic Glaze
(adapted from Epicurious)

12 sheets of phyllo dough, thawed
3 T butter, melted or more if needed
8 t + 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 pound mascarpone cheese, whisked to loosen
3/4 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
2 t vanilla extract
12 ounces raspberries
1 pint fresh blueberries
12 ounces blackberries
powdered sugar for dusting
Balsamic Glaze:  1/3 cup balsamic vinegar + 2 t of granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350℉.  Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or sil pat

Place 1 phyllo sheet on a work surface (cover rest of the phyllo with plastic wrap, then a damp towel). Brush phyllo sheet with some melted butter and sprinkle with 1/2 t sugar.  Top with another layer of phyllo, brush it with butter, sprinkle with 1/2 t of sugar.  Repeat this process with 2 more sheets of phyllo, butter, and sugar. Cut sheets in half lengthwise, then cut crosswise into thirds, ending with 6 - 4 1/4" squares. Transfer squares to a prepared baking sheet. 

Repeat the above process two more times, ending up with 18 - 4 1/4" squares total. Enough for 6 napoleon servings. Bake the sheets of phyllo in a 350℉ oven for 7-8 minutes or until golden. Note: Phyllo squares can be made up to 2 days ahead. Store between layers of waxed paper in an airtight container at room temperature.

Balsamic Glaze:   Bring vinegar and 2 teaspoon sugar to boil in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened and reduced to about half-about 25 minutes-don't let it burn. Refrigerate until cold. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Refrigerate.)

Filling:  Beat mascarpone, cream, vanilla extract, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a large mixing bowl until stiff peaks form. (Mascarpone filling can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate).

To assemble:
Set aside all the blackberries, and 1/4 of the blueberries and raspberries for top of finished napoleons.

Place 6 phyllo squares on a work surface. Spread each square with 1 T mascarpone filling.  Divide the blueberries among the squares. Cover another 6 phyllo square with 1 T of filling and place it, filling side down, on top the blueberries. Spread the top of those squares with 
1 T  of filling. Cover filling with the raspberries. 

Spread one more tablespoon of filling on 6 more phyllo squares and place, filling side down, on top of the raspberries. You will have some filling left which will be use on the top of the napoleons.  (Can be made 3 hours ahead).  

When ready to serve:
Place each napoleon on a serving plate.  Spoon a dollop of remaining filling on top of each napoleon and scatter the remaining berries evenly among the napoleons.  Dust with powdered sugar.   Drizzle some balsamic glaze over each napoleon and around the edge of the plate.

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  1. Love your presentation, especially the balsamic drizzle on the plates. Beautiful dish!

  2. What a beautiful and elegant dessert. It's really impressive. I love it. Thanks for sharing on Sweet Indulgences Sunday.

  3. This looks delicious. I wasn't sure the first time I used balsamic with berries but have been hooked ever since. YUM!

  4. It looks elegant and quite tasty with mascarpone, Mimi. So nice. Thank you for sharing and linking to Joy of Desserts. :-)

  5. These look yummy!! Thank you for sharing. New follower from the hop. Stop by and see my fondant recipe and I would love for you to follow back. http://tootsabellarose.blogspot.com/2011/07/marshmallow-fondant-for-cake.html