Apr 25
2011

Strawberry & Chocolate Cream Cheese Napoleon Recipe

NapoleonCreamCheeseFinal

This is a compensated review by BlogHer and Kraft.

Aside from the watching the cherry blossoms burst open and the hummingbirds make their annual arrival, one of the pleasures of spring is biting into a fresh strawberry. I am not talking about those pale red specimens that mope on the shelves year-round, tasteless and scentless. No, I am talking about the local strawberries that are available at the height of spring, that smell like tropical flowers and are sweeter than any chocolate dessert. To me, strawberries epitomize spring and the rejuvenation that the season brings. The Strawberry & Goat Cheese Green Salad that I make last week was a good start, but I was itching to work it into a dessert, such as this Napoleon.

Puff pastry is one of my favorite ingredients to work with, both for appetizers and desserts. It is easy to manipulate, it is forgiving and it willingly pairs with a variety of flavors. Puff pastry is a standard ingredient in classic Napoleon pastries, the French dessert that is also known as Mille-feuille, which means “thousand leaf”. A traditional Napoleon is made with three layers of puff pastry, filled with pastry cream, and topped with an icing in alternating white and brown chocolate stripes.

One of the inspiring things about the Real Women of Philadelphia site and contest (with a chance to win $25,000) is the imagination that many home chefs show when put to the task of creating both easy and show-stopping desserts. Of course, you will find your fair share of tantalizing cheesecake recipes as you click through the dessert pages, but you will also find sweet treats that use cream cheese in new and inventive ways, which inspired me to come up with a Napoleon recipe that is a step away from the norm.

Cream cheese is enhanced with cocoa and sugar to make a creamy filling for the Napoleons. The golden brown, flaky pastry layers are stacked with the chocolate cream cheese and fresh strawberries to make a dessert that is beautiful to look at and tastes even better. In each bite, you will experience the light crispness of the pastry, the creamy sweetness of the cream cheese and the freshness of the berries. It is the taste of spring all in one bite.

The recipe:

Puff pastry:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface lightly roll out puff pastry. Cut each sheet into six equal pieces. Divide evenly between the two baking sheets. Lightly brush the tops of the puff pastry with egg.

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Bake until puffed and light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Lift the puff pastry pieces from the baking sheets and let cool on wire racks.

Chocolate cream cheese:
Into a medium bowl, sift together sugar and cocoa. In a separate bowl, combine softened cream cheese, milk, and vanilla extract by mashing with the back of a fork. Stir in the sugar mixture until combined.

Napoleon Cream Cheese Collage 1

Assembling:
Place one puff pastry piece on each plate (6 in all). Spread about 2 1/2 tablespoons chocolate cream cheese on these puff pastry pieces. Top each with 1/4 cup sliced fresh strawberries and place the remaining pieces of puff pastry on top to form a “sandwich”.

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Sift powdered sugar over each Napoleon and garnish with a few strawberry slices and sprigs of mint. Serve.

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Strawberry & Chocolate Cream Cheese Napoleon

Chocolate Cream Cheese:
1/4 cup plus 3 tbsp granulated sugar
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
8 oz. Philadelphia cream cheese, room temperature
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

The rest:
2 sheets purchased puff pastry, defrosted
1 egg, whisked
1 3/4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
Powdered sugar, for garnish
Mint sprigs, for garnish

Puff pastry:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface lightly roll out puff pastry. Cut each sheet into six equal pieces. Divide evenly between the two baking sheets. Lightly brush the tops of the puff pastry with egg. Bake until puffed and light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Lift the puff pastry pieces from the baking sheets and let cool on wire racks.

Chocolate cream cheese:
Into a medium bowl, sift together sugar and cocoa. In a separate bowl, combine softened cream cheese, milk, and vanilla extract by mashing with the back of a fork. Stir in the sugar mixture until combined.

Assembling:
Place one puff pastry piece on each plate (6 in all). Spread about 2 1/2 tablespoons chocolate cream cheese on these puff pastry pieces. Top each with 1/4 cup sliced fresh strawberries and place the remaining pieces of puff pastry on top to form a “sandwich”. Sift powdered sugar over each Napoleon and garnish with a few strawberry slices and sprigs of mint. Serve.

Makes 6 Napoleons.

Printable recipe

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{ 77 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Heather at Heathers Dish April 25, 2011 at 10:27 am

Oh my goodness, chocolate cream cheese sounds like a dream come true!

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2 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 25, 2011 at 10:58 am

Thanks, Heather. It is so easy to whip up.

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3 RLV @ bittensweetblog.com April 25, 2011 at 10:34 am

Oh my goodness. This looks like the perfect dessert. I wonder if you could use Nutella in place of the cocoa powder? I’m going to make this for Father’s Day. His name is Napoleon. It only makes perfect sense! ;)

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4 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 25, 2011 at 10:58 am

I think Nutella would work perfectly! I hope Napoleon enjoys his Napoleon.

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5 Heather at FarmgirlGourmet April 25, 2011 at 10:40 am

That looks amazing Dara! All things I love!! I am definitely making this!! Thank you!!

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6 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 25, 2011 at 10:58 am

Thanks, Heather. I hope you enjoy it.

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7 Explora Cuisine April 25, 2011 at 10:44 am

How I love this amazing dessert! It’s classic and super tasty, and looks divine!

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8 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 25, 2011 at 10:59 am

Thanks so much. They are also lots of fun to make – I have a thing for stacking food.

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9 Katrina April 25, 2011 at 10:52 am

This looks lovely. I especially like the chocolate cream cheese!

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10 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 25, 2011 at 10:59 am

Thanks, Katrina. The chocolate cream cheese is definitely a highlight of this dessert.

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11 Erin @ Making Memories April 25, 2011 at 11:14 am

Wow! I’m speechless! They look amazing!

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12 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 25, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Thanks so much, Erin.

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13 Jen at The Three Little Piglets April 25, 2011 at 11:30 am

I’m with Heather. I was just thinking – oh the things you could do with chocolate cream cheese! Like licking it off the spoon…

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14 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 25, 2011 at 8:07 pm

Thanks, Jen. I’ll have to put my mind to work for other chocolate cream cheese options.

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15 Sommer@ASpicyPerspective April 25, 2011 at 11:33 am

YUM. I just can’t get enough of these simple and delightful treats. Great use of cream cheese.

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16 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 25, 2011 at 8:07 pm

Thanks, Sommer. I do love how easily this dessert goes together.

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17 cooking rookie April 25, 2011 at 11:40 am

Beautiful photos! I would never think of combining cream cheese with puff pastry, but why not?

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18 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 25, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Thank you. That’s what I said – why not? And I’m so glad it worked out.

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19 Kankana April 25, 2011 at 11:53 am

I always like puff pastry and now that i know you can buy the frozen ones .. life became easy :) These looks super gorgeous and i can only imagine how tasty it will be !!

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20 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 25, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Kankana, I am a big fan of the frozen puff pastry for quick and easy desserts and appetizers.

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21 Suzanne April 25, 2011 at 12:01 pm

simple and delicious, love it!

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22 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 25, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Thanks, Suzanne.

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23 Gaby April 25, 2011 at 12:35 pm

this is my kinda dessert!! I’ve never seen chocolate cream cheese before – but now I have to try it! It sounds ah-mazing!

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24 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 25, 2011 at 8:09 pm

Gaby, I’ve made desserts with chocolate mascarpone before and was really happy that it worked out so well with the cream cheese.

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25 Carrie April 25, 2011 at 12:52 pm

that chocolate cream cheese is brilliant!

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26 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 25, 2011 at 8:09 pm

Thank you, Carrie.

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27 Asiya April 25, 2011 at 12:57 pm

This looks delicious…I’ve been wanting to try making a Napoleon for a long time. Do you think it would work with light cream cheese?

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28 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 25, 2011 at 8:09 pm

Absolutely, Asiya. The light cream cheese would work well.

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29 Carolyn April 25, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Just gorgeous! I can hardly wait until strawberry season…which isn’t really until June up here!

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30 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 25, 2011 at 8:10 pm

It’s always a treat when you see the first container of really sweet smelling strawberries at the market. I look forward to that each year.

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31 Flavia April 25, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Dara, these look wonderful! I love the combination of chocolate with strawberries and I adore puff pastry. It looks like an easy, yet elegant dessert. Lovely!

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32 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 25, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Thank you, Flavia. Yes, this would be great for last-minute entertaining.

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33 Tracy April 25, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Goodness does that look delicious! Beautiful dessert!

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34 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 25, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Thanks so much, Tracy.

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35 Maris (In Good Taste) April 25, 2011 at 5:00 pm

This looks so wonderful! I am a huge fan of puff pastry (and you) and you have made this into an incredible dessert!

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36 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 25, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Thanks, Maris. You’re a sweetie!

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37 Sara @CaffeIna April 25, 2011 at 5:05 pm

It looks delicious! I have strawberries, cream cheese and puff pastry at home…is it a sign that I have to make this napoleon?

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38 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 25, 2011 at 8:11 pm

I think it is! Get to work, Sara.

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39 bellini April 25, 2011 at 6:09 pm

This is surely a winner!!!!!

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40 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 25, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Thank you!

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41 Kimby April 25, 2011 at 6:16 pm

Dara,
I enjoyed your thoughts on Spring and this lovely dessert in celebration of it. :)
~ Kim
P.S. Our hummingbirds are back, too — what a delight!

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42 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 25, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Lucky you. We’re looking forward to the arrival of the hummingbirds in the next couple of weeks.

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43 Nichol April 25, 2011 at 6:27 pm

This looks amazing. I cannot wait for strawberry season here!

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44 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 25, 2011 at 8:11 pm

I hear you, Nichol.

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45 Jennifer (Savor) April 25, 2011 at 7:01 pm

I am in trouble because I have every single item to make this. Geee.or.geous

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46 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 25, 2011 at 8:11 pm

I hope you enjoy it!

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47 Jenny Flake April 25, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Delicious!! Love these cream cheese posts!!

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48 Liz April 25, 2011 at 7:07 pm

What a gorgeous dessert! I love all the components….and how fabulous they work together!

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49 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 25, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Thank you, Liz.

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50 HeatherChristo April 25, 2011 at 7:54 pm

beautiful! what an amazing way to use up some of the fresh strawberries I have right now!

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51 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 25, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Thanks, Heather. You can’t go wrong with fresh, sweet strawberries.

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52 Leanne April 25, 2011 at 8:53 pm

These look so beautiful and easy to make! You can’t go wrong with chocolate, pastry and fruit :)

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53 marla April 25, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Dara I too have been embracing all these fresh strawberries. Any way we can enjoy them over here we do. These napoleon pastries look amazing!

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54 Nancy@acommunaltable April 25, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Definitely a recipe to have in one’s collection – impressive, delicious and simple – what could be better? Oh, and it has chocolate in it… I rest my case.

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55 Sukaina April 25, 2011 at 11:26 pm

I love love using puff pastry to make life easier. Dara, this dessert is so easy and looks yummy. I wish I had thought of adding cocoa to cream cheese before!

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56 Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen April 26, 2011 at 4:28 am

These look so elegant, I love the concept. They would be great with all kinds of different berries too I bet.

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57 Lana @ Never Enough Thyme April 26, 2011 at 6:32 am

I do love a Napoleon pastry. Such a classic! And this chocolate cream cheese filling sounds heavenly. This recipe is definitely on my to-try list now.

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58 Rachel @ Baked by Rachel April 26, 2011 at 6:41 am

That looks so good!! I’m so happy it’s time for strawberries again. :)

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59 Pretend Chef April 26, 2011 at 6:53 am

Itty bitty and I have been enjoying the strawberries as well. We made chocolate covered strawberries last night and enjoyed them for dessert. This pastry looks so delicious. Yummy!

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60 Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. April 26, 2011 at 7:23 am

These look heavenly! We are both on the puff pastry wavelength

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61 Tickled Red April 26, 2011 at 8:28 am

Where is my surfer to catch me when I need him?…{swoon} :)

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62 Maria April 26, 2011 at 8:38 am

Divine dessert!

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63 Tracey April 26, 2011 at 9:33 am

Oh yum, what a wonderful combination of flavors! I love the simplicity of a Napoleon & you can never go wrong with puff pastry!

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64 Laura @ SweetSavoryPlanet April 26, 2011 at 12:39 pm

This looks simple, easy and totally delicious.

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65 Sprouts of Spring April 26, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Looks amazing. I would love to try this out!

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66 The Chocolate Priestess April 28, 2011 at 7:13 am

That looks like a very elegant dessert.

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67 Vicki @ WITK April 28, 2011 at 7:24 am

Wow, what a beautiful dessert! Your chocolate cream cheese looks delicious!

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68 Blomma April 28, 2011 at 3:31 pm

What a gourmet and elegant dessert, my mouth is watering just looking at it!

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69 Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels April 28, 2011 at 7:51 pm

What a gorgeous dessert! And it looks soooo good, especially the chocolate cream cheese. :)

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70 Darla @ Bakingdom April 29, 2011 at 7:29 am

These are so simply elegant and lovely, and they look completely irresistible. We don’t have strawberries here yet, but I can’t wait until we do, so I can make these! :)

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71 Shaina April 29, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Oh, I’m so dreaming of cream cheese chocolate filling now. Divine!

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72 Marly May 1, 2011 at 2:52 pm

I love both the simplicity and the elegance of this dessert. And of course, the strawberries are great too!

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73 Elle May 3, 2011 at 9:27 am

A lovely dessert, and not only pretty, but so simple!

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74 Kevin (Closet Cooking) May 10, 2011 at 11:58 pm

What a great way to enjoy some spring strawberries!

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75 Effie May 22, 2011 at 3:32 pm

This looks delicious! Simple and tasty – my favourite type of recipe. Love this blog. x

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76 Denise @ Creative Kitchen May 29, 2011 at 6:14 am

Oh yum! I love all desserts with chocolate, and I love cream cheese!! Favorited on SU. Can’t wait to check out that philidelphia site! Thanks for sharing! :)

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