Strawberry Napoleons

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Flaky strips of puff pastry are layered with velvety homemade pastry cream and fresh berries in this easy Strawberry Napoleon dessert! Topped with vanilla icing, whipped cream and more fresh strawberries, get ready to serve up a gorgeously sophisticated treat.

Easy Strawberry Napoleon Pastries

Strawberries and cream. Need I say more? This simple dessert takes that dreamy duo and turns it into layers upon layers of sweet, summery bliss. Since most supermarkets carry fresh strawberries year-round, you can even enjoy that summery goodness in the wintertime to shed those cold-weather blues.

Every ounce of gloominess will instantly disappear once your mouth is full of buttery puff pastry, juicy strawberries and pillowy pastry cream. You’ll be surprised how easily it all comes together! These fruity napoleons have the presence of fancy-schmancy treats, but they’re totally beginner-friendly.

What is a Napoleon?

Traditional napoleons feature layers of puff pastry and pastry cream with icing or powdered sugar on top. Through their exact origin story is up for debate, they’re especially popular in France, where they’re known as mille-feuille (pronounced meal-foy). This vibrant strawberry version has the feel of a classic napoleon, but the berries and whipped cream add an extra special touch.

A strawberry napoleon on a long serving platter with a bowl of fresh berries behind it

Ingredients You’ll Need

Let’s talk about our trusty ingredient lineup. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for specific amounts.

For the Strawberry Napoleons

  • Eggs: You will only need the yolks.
  • Sugar
  • Cornstarch: To thicken the pastry cream.
  • Milk
  • Salted Butter
  • Vanilla Extract: Use a high-quality extract for the best flavor.
  • Heavy Whipping Cream: Keep this in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Puff Pastry Sheets
  • Chopped Fresh Strawberries: If strawberries are in season, I highly recommend buying them at a local farm or farmer’s market for optimal freshness.

For the Icing

  • Powdered Sugar: Sifted, to remove potential clumps.
  • Corn Syrup: You only need a small amount of this to get your icing nice and shiny. If you really don’t want to use it, try honey instead.
  • Unsalted Butter: Melted.
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Milk

For the Whipped Cream

  • Heavy Whipping Cream: Cold.
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Vanilla Extract
Two strawberry napoleon slices on a serving platter with another helping on a plate in the background

How to Make Strawberry Napoleons

With the convenience of pre-made puff pastry, these napoleons are a piece of cake. Here’s all you have to do to make them happen:

Prepare the Pastry Cream

  1. Beat Egg Yolks: Add the egg yolks to a medium-sized bowl and gently beat them together. Set the bowl aside.
  2. Combine Sugar, Cornstarch & Milk: Add the sugar, cornstarch and milk to a large saucepan and mix until smooth.
  3. Cook: Cook the sugar mixture over medium-high heat, stirring continuously, until it begins to thicken and bubble.
  4. Lower Heat: Reduce the heat to medium and simmer the mixture for 2 minutes. Remove it from the heat.
  5. Temper Egg Yolks: Add a small amount of the milk mixture to the egg yolks and whisk to combine, then add the egg mixture to milk mixture. This process ensures that you don’t scramble the egg yolks.
  6. Return to Stove: Place the pan back onto the heat and bring the mixture to a light boil. Allow it to boil for 2 minutes, stirring continuously.
  7. Add Butter & Vanilla: Remove the mixture from the heat and add in the butter and vanilla extract. Stir until the batter is smooth, then cover it with clear wrap that touches the top of the cream (this helps prevent a film from forming on top). Refrigerate the batter until it’s cool and you’re ready to use it.

Assemble the Napoleons

  1. Cut Puff Pastry: Remove the two sheets of puff pastry from the box and cut each set into 3 strips, creating 6 strips total.
  2. Bake: Place the pastry strips onto a baking sheet and bake them for about 13 minutes.
  3. Let Cool: Remove the puff pastry strips from the oven and allow them to cool. If needed, press the baked pastry down just a bit so the layers are relatively flat.
  4. Finish Making Pastry Cream: Add the heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar to a large mixer bowl and whip until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the pastry cream.
  5. Build Layers: Place a strip of puff pastry onto a serving plate and top it with some chopped strawberries. Pipe or spread some pastry cream on top of the berries, then repeat with another layer of puff pastry, strawberries and pastry cream, ending with a third pastry strip on top.
  6. Repeat: Repeat the layering process with the remaining puff pastry, pastry cream and strawberries for the second napoleon.
  7. Make Icing: Add all of the icing ingredients to a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Spread the icing on top of the assembled napoleons.
  8. Make Whipped Cream: Add all of the whipped cream ingredients to a large mixer bowl and whisk until stiff peaks form.
  9. Pipe Onto Napoleons: Pipe swirls of the whipped cream on top of the napoleons and top them off with some additional chopped strawberries.
  10. Enjoy! Refrigerate the napoleons until you’re ready to cut and serve them.
A strawberry napoleon pastry on a platter with homemade whipped cream and fresh strawberry slices on top

Tips for Success

Want to knock these napoleon pastries out of the park? I’ve got you covered with some trusty tips.

  • Remember to Temper the Egg Yolks: If you forget to temper your egg yolks, they could scramble when you add them to the hot milk mixture, meaning you’d have to start over from square one.
  • Expect Continued Thickening: Keep in mind that the mixture for the pastry cream will continue to thicken as it cools. Because of this, you want to remove it from the heat before it reaches your desired thickness. If you wait until it’s at your preferred consistency, it’ll end up getting too dense in the fridge.
  • Cover the Surface of the Cream: I recommend placing a piece of clear wrap directly onto the surface of the pastry cream batter before you transfer it to the fridge. If you skip this step or see a film form on top of the batter anyway, simply skim it off with a spoon.
  • How Do I Cut Clean Slices? Slicing a napoleon pastry can be kind of tricky, so it’s best to use a serrated knife or a very sharp chef’s knife. It’s also helpful to refrigerate the completed napoleons for 20-30 minutes before you try to cut them. I find it easiest to cut into them when they’re nice and chilled.

Variation Ideas

If you’re interested in tweaking this recipe, take a look at these tempting variations. Your napoleons, your rules!

  • Use Different Berries: Any berries you like would taste wonderful in these pastries. You could even make them patriotic by using a combination of strawberries and blueberries or raspberries and blackberries!
  • Make Strawberry Whipped Cream: Pump up the strawberry goodness even more by swapping out the regular whipped cream for Fresh Strawberry Whipped Cream. Be still my heart!
  • Go Traditional: If you want to make traditional mille-feuille, simply leave out the strawberries and whipped cream. You could also omit the icing and top each napoleon pastry with a dusting of powdered sugar if preferred.

Storage Instructions

Napoleon pastries are best when they’re fresh – as they sit, the puff pastry starts to soften and the berries begin releasing some of their juices. That being said, they’ll stay good in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Print
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A mille-feuille on a long platter with a bowl containing fresh strawberries in the background
Recipe

Strawberry Napoleons

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 13 minutes
  • Total Time: 53 minutes
  • Yield: 12
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Flaky strips of puff pastry are layered with velvety homemade pastry cream and fresh berries in this easy Strawberry Napoleon dessert! Topped with vanilla icing, whipped cream and more fresh strawberries, get ready to serve up a gorgeously sophisticated treat.


Ingredients

For the Strawberry Napoleons

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup (52g) sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3/4 cups (180ml) milk
  • 1 tbsp (14g) salted butter
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 2 tbsp (15g) powdered sugar
  • 17.3 oz box Puff Pastry Sheets
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh strawberries

For the Icing

  • 1 cup (115g) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsp corn syrup
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 12 tbsp (15-30ml) milk

For the Whipped Cream Topping

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

Prepare the Pastry Cream

  1. Add the egg yolks to a medium sized bowl and gently beat them together. Set aside.
  2. Add the sugar, cornstarch and milk to a large saucepan and mix until smooth.
  3. Cook, stirring continuously, over medium-high heat until mixture begins to thicken and bubble.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Add a little bit of milk mixture to the egg yolks and whisk together, then add egg mixture to milk mixture. This process ensures that you don’t scramble the egg yolks.
  6. Place the pan back on the heat and bring to a light boil. Allow to boil for 2 minutes, stirring continuously.
  7. Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla extract. Stir until smooth, then top with clear wrap that touches the top of the cream (it helps prevent a film from forming on top). Refrigerate until cool and ready to use.

Assemble the Napoleons

  1. Remove the two sheets of puff pastry from the box and cut each set into 3 strips, for a total of 6 strips.
  2. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 13 minutes.
  3. Remove them from the oven and allow to cool. Press the baked pastry down just a bit, if needed so they layers are relatively flat.
  4. To finish making the pastry cream, add the heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar to a large mixer bowl and whip until stiff peaks form.
  5. Gently fold the whipped cream into the pastry cream.
  6. To layer everything together, place a layer of puff pastry onto a serving plate and top it with some chopped strawberries.
  7. Pipe or spread some pastry cream on top of the berries, then repeat another layer of puff pastry, strawberries and pastry cream.
  8. Top off the pastry with a third pastry strip on top. Repeat the layering process with the remaining puff pastry, pastry cream and strawberries.
  9. To make the icing, add all ingredients to a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Spread the icing onto the top of the completed napoleons.
  10. To add the whipped cream topping, add the ingredients to a large mixer bowl and whisk until stiff peaks form.
  11. Pipe swirls of the whipped cream on top of the napoleons and top with a few additional chopped berries. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes

  • Each napoleon contains 5-6 servings.
  • To Store: These are best fresh, but leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 1-2 days.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 Sice
  • Calories: 340
  • Sugar: 35 g
  • Sodium: 59 mg
  • Fat: 17.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 40.9 g
  • Protein: 5.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 99.1 mg

Keywords: napoleon dessert, mille feuille, napoleon cake

Categories

More Easy Strawberry Pastry Recipes

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12 Comments
  1. Lucile Sorenson

    Your srrawberry napoleons look wonderful. The icing recipe calls
    For syrup. Is this corn syrup?

    Thanks, lucile

  2. Nicole Davidson

    Can’t wait to try this recipe! I’m making it for my Mom’s birthday ☺ Why does the recipe call for 6 sheets of puff pastry when I only see 3 stacked in your photos?

    1. Lindsay

      It uses two full puff pastry sheets that come in the box. Each sheet is cut into 3 pieces. Three pieces are used for each napoleon and this recipe makes 2, so it uses 6 pieces. Does that help and make sense?

      1. Nicole

        Hi Lindsay, yes thank you so much for clarifying. Can’t wait to try this! I don’t always comment but I’ve been following your blog for a long time and every recipe I’ve tried has been amazing. I make a lot of desserts for other people and even if I have never made or tried the recipe before I have full confidence it will be amazing. Everyone is also always impressed! Thank you for all the hard work you put into your recipes and this blog! It is my favorite.

        Congratulations on your twins!

  3. Erin R.

    Ha ha! This makes me so happy! I love to read about you two learning how to operate your new babies. I’m really, really happy for you, Lindsay.

  4. Lianne

    Oh wow! This is my kind of dessert!! I love anything with strawberries and cream in them.
    Congratulations on the birth of your twins!
    Lianne | Makes, Bakes and Decor

  5. Lynn M.

    I am not a big fan of pastry puff from the freezer section (I know..it’s sad). I have never found a recipe to make my own..seems like it would be a lot of work. But, I am excited about your cream filling for cream puffs I am making this Sunday for a brunch at my home for my ever-growing family. This cream filling sounds perfect for what I’m doing with these cream puffs I make. It will give me another filling to add to some of the cream puffs along with a strawberry creamy cheesecake filling that I normally use to fill the cream puff shells. Top it off with a drizzle of chocolate ganache. Perfect timing when I got the email of your napoleon. Your napoleon looks beautiful! I love cream filled baked goods..and my body proves that. (sigh..winter is killing me..no exercise). I am, also, making your Ultimate Breakfast Cake…my great grandchildren will love this. I have 3 great grands with one more on the way. YAY! (I am blessed with 6 adult grand children).

    Congratulations on your baby boys…there’s a lot to learn. Enjoy the time..for each moment builds memories for a lifetime. 🙂

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and a mom to twin boys and a baby girl! And I've got a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the treats!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29