Beautiful Swedish Napoleon Desserts You Should Try ASAP

By Life Pastry - September 28, 2020


Swedish Napoleon

Makes one 10-inch cake, to serve 10 to 12

When I was in high school, I spent a summer as an exchange student in Switzerland to better my French. My host family was Swedish and within a week of my arrival we jetted off to Stockholm to spend the summer. So while my Comment allez-vous? didn’t get much better, by the end of the summer my Swedish Hur mår du? was pretty perfect. Fast-forward many years later, and Roy Bakes, a popular pastry show in Sweden, reached out to film at Flour. I couldn’t wait to show off my linguistic skills with the host! When Roy arrived, charming as can be, the only word I could remember was jordgubbe (strawberry).

Thankfully, we filmed in English. I taught Roy the ins and outs of our Boston cream pie, and in return he shared with me one of his favorite classic Swedish pastries, a Nafoleonbakelse or Napoleonskake. As he was explaining it to me both of our mouths were watering, and he invited me to Sweden to try the real thing. “First you have a layer of crispy puff pastry and then spread some homemade apple jam on top; layer two is more puff pastry and some vanilla custard with whipped cream; the third layer is more puff pastry and some raspberry jam and fondant. You must come and try it!” I have yet to take him up on his offer but I was so taken by his description that I came up with my own version. I think he would love this.

1 recipe Master Pastry Cream

Apple Jam

Raspberry Topping

1 recipe Master Puff Pastry Dough or Master Quick Puff Pastry Dough, or 1½ pounds/680 grams store-bought all-butter puff pastry

1¼ cups/300 grams heavy cream

3 tablespoons/22 grams confectioners’ sugar

½ cup/150 grams thick raspberry jam


Make the pastry cream, apple jam, and raspberry topping and set them aside. Make the puff pastry and let it chill in the fridge, or thaw the store-bought puff pastry in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 400°F and place a rack in the top third of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside; if you have a full-size (18 x 26-inch) baking sheet and your oven is big enough to hold it, line just the one sheet.

Generously flick flour over the work surface and, using a lot of strength and firmness, roll out the puff pastry to a long rectangle, about 12 x 22 inches. Cut the puff pastry into thirds, each third measuring about 12 x 7 inches. Place the puff pastry rectangles on the prepared baking sheets. If you’re using a full-size baking sheet, put all the puff pastry rectangles on the one sheet; if not, place one rectangle on one sheet and two on the second. Place a sheet of parchment directly on top of the puff pastry, then place another baking sheet directly on top of that. (The puff pastry is so puffy that you need to weight it down while you bake it so it doesn’t get too tall. If you don’t have enough baking sheets, you can bake the puff pastry in batches; just let the baking sheets cool fully between batches.)

Bake until the puff pastry is totally golden brown throughout, rotating the baking sheets and switching their positions after about 15 minutes. Check the puff pastry after around 25 minutes by carefully removing the top sheet and peeling off the parchment to take a peek; reduce the heat to 350°F. Total baking time should be 30 to 35 minutes. When the puff pastry is fully golden, remove the baking sheets from the oven, carefully remove the top baking sheets and parchment, and let the puff pastry cool completely on the baking sheets on wire racks.

While the puff pastry is cooling, in a large bowl by hand or using a handheld electric mixer, or in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the cream with the confectioners’ sugar until it is stiff; set aside. Warm the raspberry jam gently in the microwave or on the stove in a small skillet until it is loose and spreadable; set aside.

To assemble the napoleon, have all your components on hand: a serrated knife, an offset spatula, the cooled puff pastry rectangles, apple jam, whipped cream, pastry cream, warmed raspberry jam, and raspberry topping. Place one puff pastry rectangle on a cutting board and spread it evenly with the apple jam. Using the offset spatula, spread the whipped cream on top of the apple jam. Place another puff pastry rectangle on top of the cream and gently press down to adhere. Spread the pastry cream evenly on top of the puff pastry rectangle. Thinly spread the top of the last puff pastry rectangle with the raspberry jam until evenly covered. Turn the puff pastry rectangle upside down so that the jam is facing the pastry cream and press it down gently to adhere. Cover the entire top with the raspberry topping; spread quickly so you have a smooth surface. Using a serrated knife, very carefully trim all four edges of the napoleon to expose the sides. Carefully transfer the napoleon to a flat plate or serving platter and place it in the fridge for at least 4 hours before serving to allow the whole thing to meld together a bit.

The napoleon can be stored in an airtight container or well wrapped in plastic in the fridge for up to 1 day.


Apple Jam

Makes 1½ cups

6 small or 4 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and finely chopped (about 6 cups)

¾ cup/150 grams sugar

2 tablespoons/30 grams unsalted butter

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon kosher salt


Place the apples, sugar, butter, and about ½ cup/120 grams water in a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the apples have broken down and the mixture becomes a thick chunky jam, 1½ to 2 hours. Add more water as needed to keep the apples from drying out or burning. Stir in the vanilla and salt. Transfer to an airtight container and let cool.

Apple jam can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.


Raspberry Topping

Makes 1½ cups

2 teaspoons raspberry jam

2 cups/240 grams confectioners’ sugar, sifted after measuring


Heat the jam in a tiny skillet or in the microwave until it thins out. Push it through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl to remove any seeds. Add the confectioners’ sugar and 2 tablespoons water and whisk until well combined. It should be thick but spreadable, so add a few drops more water if needed to make it spreadable. Cover until needed.

Raspberry topping can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.




You Might Also Like