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Make wafer layers: Warmth oven to 350°F. Whisk melted butter and bitter cream collectively in a big bowl. If the butter was nonetheless heat from melting, this could cool it. Whisk in egg, salt, and sugar till {smooth}. Add flour and mix with a spoon till a crumbly, free mass types. Switch dough to your counter and knead a number of occasions, simply till {smooth}. Divide dough into 4 equal items. [The total dough weighs about 630 grams; each quarter will weigh about 157 grams.]

Roll first quarter of dough between two items of parchment paper till it’s in a really skinny 8″x10″ rectangle. If yours is a bit of wider or shorter, that’s advantageous; you’ll simply need the remaining items to be the identical measurement in order that they stack neatly. Peel away high parchment sheet and put aside to make use of for subsequent dough. With the dough nonetheless on the underside parchment sheet, use a knife or pastry wheel to chop dough in half, into two 4″x10″ rectangles. No must separate them. Dock the dough throughout with a fork and slide parchment and dough onto a baking sheet sufficiently big that it lays flat. Bake for 9 to 12 minutes, or till mild brown at edges. Switch wafers to cooling rack.

Repeat with remaining quarters of dough. If you happen to’d like to make use of much less parchment, you’ll be able to wait till the primary quarter is baked and cooling to reuse the parchment for the remaining quarters. If you happen to’d like to make use of much less time and have the oven area, use extra sheets of parchment to roll out the remaining quarters and bake greater than one after the other. Wafers may be stacked as they cool.

Make the filling: In a medium saucepan, whisk collectively sugar, starch, and salt. Add the eggs, one after the other, whisking till {smooth} and no pockets of sugar-starch stay earlier than including the following. Whisk in vanilla bean paste, if utilizing, after which, very steadily, whisking the entire time, pour in milk. Carry combination to a simmer over medium warmth, whisking the entire time. Because the custard begins to bubble, it should thicken. Simmer for one minute, whisking. Take away from warmth and stir within the butter till it’s absolutely melted, then the rum (if utilizing) and vanilla extract. If you’d like your custard further silky-smooth, pour the custard by a fine-mesh sieve earlier than persevering with, however I by no means do.

Press a chunk of plastic onto the floor of the custard and let it cool at room temperature or within the fridge till lukewarm. If you happen to’ve obtained area outdoors on a chilly day, this speeds the method up.

Assemble the napoleon: Take one wafer layer — I often select one with the sizing a bit of off — and chop it into breadcrumb-sized items. Switch to a bowl and toss the crumbs with powdered sugar and put aside.

Place considered one of remaining wafer layers in your cake plate. Dollop 2/3 cup custard filling on it and use a spatula to unfold it only a millimeter or so from the sides. It can appear very thick and wobbly — you’re doing it proper. Repeat with 6 extra wafer layers and many of the remaining custard filling (I all the time have a small quantity left; it by no means survives the afternoon), ending with a remaining layer of custard. Let it hang around at room temperature for 10 minutes — simply stroll away — so it begins establishing.

Whenever you come again, you’ll see that a number of the custard has spilled out the edges — it’s completely advantageous, simply scoop it up together with your spatula and press it again over the edges, a bit such as you’re messily icing a cake. Sprinkle a number of the powdered sugar wafer crumbs excessive, after which press small — you’ll actually have *simply* sufficient — handfuls over the lengthy sides.

Switch the napoleon to the fridge to relaxation in a single day. The layers will take up some custard and it’ll slice cleanly as soon as they do. We discover it takes 24 to 36 hours for the layers to melt to the best level.

The following day, mud with extra powdered sugar and reduce into 1-inch slices. Leftovers preserve for 4 to five days within the fridge.

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