Crème Brûlée Napoleon with Bourbon Crème Anglaise
Four layers of crisp phyllo pastry and vanilla custard create the towering napoleons. They are served with bourbon-laced crème anglaise, an unusual touch.
- Egg Yolks - 6
- Sugar - 1/2 cup
- Heavy Cream - 2-1/4 cups
- Vanilla bean - 1, split
- Phyllo Squares
- Phyllo Dough - 2 sheets
- Butter - 2 tablespoons, melted
- Confectioners' sugar
- Bourbon Crème Anglaise
- Egg Yolks - 5
- Milk - 2 cups
- Sugar - 3/4 cup
- Vanilla bean - 1, split
- Bourbon - 2 tablespoons
To make the custard: Preheat the oven to 325 F. In the metal bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a balloon whip, combine the egg yolks and sugar and beat lightly. Add the cream and scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the eggs with the tip of a knife. Continue to beat until thickened. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a shallow pan that has been filled with plastic wrap. Place the pan containing the custard into a larger pan. Fill the bottom pan halfway with water, being careful not to wet the custard, and set in the preheated oven to bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the custard is set and firm to the touch. (A cake tester inserted into the center should come out clean without any milky residue.) Remove from the oven and refrigerate until cool. Place in the freezer for 20 minutes.
Preheat the broiler or ready a blowtorch. Invert the custard onto the back of a sheet pan, and cut into 2- inch squares. Sprinkle the squares liberally with sugar and brown under the broiler or with a blowtorch.
To prepare the phyllo pastry: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line an inverted baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Place 1 sheet of phyllo dough on the baking sheet. (Keep the remaining dough covered with a towel to keep it moist.) Lightly brush the phyllo sheet with melted butter, sprinkle with the confectioners' sugar, and top with another sheet of phyllo. Brush again with the melted butter and sprinkle with more sugar. Place a second sheet pan on top and weight it down with a cast- iron skillet or any heavy ovenproof object. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown.
To make the bourbon crème anglaise: In a medium heavy saucepan whisk the egg yolks over the low heat until they are pale in color. Whisk in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, then continue to whisk until the mixture reaches the consistency of cake batter. Whisk in the milk and vanilla bean, if using, then stir continuously with a wooden spoon until the custard coats the spoon and a line drawn down the back of the spoon remains visible. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the bourbon, and remove the vanilla pods.
If the custard is to be chilled, press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming, or dot the top with bits of optional butter. Chill the custard for up to 2 days.
To assemble the napoleon: In the center of each serving plate place a square of crème brûlée (custard) and top with a phyllo square. Repeat the procedure until the napoleons are stacked 4 layers high. Ladle the crème anglaise around the napoleons and garnish with fresh berries and mint sprigs