A Napoleon or Mille Feuille is a classic French dessert made with puff pastry. This one gets a twist with layers of phyllo dough sandwiched between creamy caramel mascarpone cream and caramelized apples.
I am honored to have this post sponsored by Athens Foods, thank you!
What is a Napoleon dessert?
A napoleon dessert is sometimes called a Mille Feuille (translates to a thousand leaves) because it refers to the many layers of dough used to make it. Then those layers get stacked with cream to make this seemingly fancy but super easy dessert.
Traditionally this dessert is made with puff pastry, but I have partnered up with Athens Foods today to put a little twist on that.
We are stacking layers of their deliciously flaky phyllo dough with a caramel mascarpone cream, and then topping it with caramelized apples.
Look at all those flaky layers! Are you drooling yet?
Don’t be intimidated by this dessert, it looks super fancy but it doesn’t take as much effort as you think!
How to make this Napoleon Dessert
First start off by defrosting 1 package of Athens Foods Phyllo dough.
There are two rolls of phyllo dough inside, you only need one for this recipe, but if you want to double it or make individual desserts, you can use both.
It’s super important to let the dough defrost completely before working with it. It won’t crack at all if you defrost it all the way!
Spray a cookie sheet or ½ sheet tray with baking spray and dampen a paper towel. Keep the paper towel on top of the phyllo dough as you are working with it so that it doesn’t dry out.
Each piece of dough is very thin. It’s totally ok if a piece rips a little, we are layering a bunch on top of each other!
Separate one thin sheet of dough and place it on your sheet tray. Brush with melted butter or spray with baking spray and layer with another sheet.
Keep going until you are finished with the whole package.
This goes a lot faster if you use a baking spray but I love using butter for the taste.
Now that you have all the layers stacked, cut the dough into thirds so that you have 3 stacks of phyllo dough.
Now it’s time to bake. It’s a super short 8 minute bake time. The layers are ready when they are golden brown.
While you are baking, prepare the mascarpone cream and caramelize the apples.
How to make the cream filling:
To make the filling you will need:
- Mascarpone cheese
- Confectioners sugar
- Homemade or store bought caramel sauce
- Heavy cream
The easiest way to make this is in either a stand or hand mixer. Mix the mascarpone cheese until it is light and fluffy, confectioners sugar, caramel sauce, then heavy cream.
You can definitely make this a day or 2 in advance, and store it in the fridge.
It will make this recipe all the more easier!
Make the caramelized apples
In a medium size pan, melt the butter, and add in the apples and sugar. Stir and cook the apples on medium heat carefully as not to burn them.
When the apples are golden brown and softened- in about 20 minutes- dissolve the cornstarch in heavy cream and add to the apples. Simmer until the mixture thickens and then take off the heat.
These apples are best made the day of serving.
How to assemble this Napoleon dessert:
HOORAY you’re about to wow your guests because here comes the fun part!
Take one stack of baked phyllo dough and place it on a serving tray.
Pipe (if you fancy, in this case I am) the mascarpone filling using a piping bag or a plastic bag on top of the stack. Spread with a knife or offset spatula if you aren’t piping.
Repeat with another stack, the apples, and another layer of cream. Top with more apples (optional), the last stack of phyllo dough, and a last layer of cream. Finish it off with more caramelized apples.
For more crunchy texture you can add freeze dried apples to the topping as well.
How to store:
The best thing about this dessert is that you can prep it right before serving and hopefully you won’t have any leftovers. If you do you can store it in the fridge for up to 3 days!
Oh wait, do you hear that? That’s the sound of your guests clapping for you and your amazing impressive Napoleon phyllo dessert.
BRAVO! They don’t have to know how easy it really was.
For more European inspired desserts:
Napoleon Dessert with Caramel Mascarpone Filling
- ¾ cup unsalted butter separated
- Baking spray
- 1 package Athens Foods Phyllo dough defrosted completely
- 3 large fuji apples peeled and diced small
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 8 oz tub of mascarpone cheese
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon heavy cream separated
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 ½ cups confectioners sugar
- ⅓ cup homemade or store bought caramel sauce
- Freeze dried apples for garnish
Prep the phyllo dough:
- Preheat your oven to 375° F. In a small pot melt ½ cup of butter. Roll out one package of Athens Foods phyllo dough, keeping it covered with a damp paper towel while you work. Spray a half sheet tray or cookie sheet with baking spray, then layer the first sheet of phyllo dough down. Brush the dough with melted butter and continue stacking the layers of phyllo, brushing each one with melted butter before stacking another. Brush the top layer with butter too. When all the layers are stacked, cut the dough into thirds (on the shorter side, not long).
- Bake for 8 mins until golden brown and super crispy. Cool.
- Meanwhile, make the caramelized apples:
- In a medium sized pot, melt the ¼ cup of butter and add in the apples and 1/2 cup sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves, bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes until golden brown. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't burn.
- In a small cup dissolve 1 teaspoon cornstarch in one tablespoon of heavy cream, then add to the pot. Mix and continue to simmer until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Cool
- Make the cream filling:
- In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the mascarpone until light and fluffy. Add in 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar and mix on low until combined. Add in 1/3rd cup caramel sauce and the last teaspoon of heavy cream.
- Assemble the Napoleon:
- Take one stack of phyllo dough and pipe or spoon the filling on top. Top with caramelized apples, and another layer of phyllo. Continue stacking until you have 3 stacks of each. Garnish with freeze dried apples and enjoy!