Napoleon Complex

You can hardly walk a block through any big city these days without tripping over a vegan-friendly bakery. Littering the landscape with enthusiastic signs proclaiming their versatility with alternative diets, it’s thrilling to get any sort of treat with such ease. The typical selection, however, leaves a bit to be desired. Cupcakes and donuts are easy to find, but it’s the real treasures of classic French pastry that remain so terribly elusive. For anyone craving the finesse of mille-feuille, those gossamer thin sheets of puff pastry baked to a shatteringly crisp crunch, sans butter, there’s simply no where to turn… Except for the kitchen, of course.

Puff pastry may intimidate those unaccustomed to its often temperamental ways, but there’s no shame in buying the frozen variety to shave hours of mind-numbing prep off of the procedure. Rather than going the classic but tired chocolate-and-vanilla route, I wanted something a bit more lively. Lemon zest proved just the trick to add some sparkle to my Lemon-Pistachio Napoleons, baked for the March/April issue of VegNews Magazine. Considering how easy it is to put all the pieces together, it’s just as well that more bakeries don’t take the initiative for themselves. This is one DIY project that is likely far easier than taking a trip out to the nearest patisserie!

29 thoughts on “Napoleon Complex

  1. It’s like when the Irish thought that the U.S. streets were paved with gold! Here in Australia we can only begin to imagine how amazing it would be to be able to find bakeries that stock vegan produce. We are still considered too lefty (and too small a market) to get our own segment in the local bakers let alone have someone bake just for us. Maybe on the mainland, but definately NOT here in Tassie. Your Napoleans look droolescent and totally worth the effort. Again you come up with the goods and not just ordinarly goods, extraordinary flavours and texture pairings! Delicious, luxurious AND vegan? I am there! :)

    1. YES, I dream of bakeries than stock vegan goodness. In NZ we are definitely not “there” yet, either. Unless you live close to Unbakery in Auckland, in which case you can gorge yourself on raw vegan cheesecake to your hearts content.

  2. Beautiful! I had a weird recipe for Napoleons in a food zine a long time ago and paired with the Ani DiFranco song of the same name, ha! Yrs look a little classier than that. maybe like one should listen to opera while eating one.

  3. I’ll have to look for the magazine since there’s no recipe here. :-( (I get why, don’t worry.) I’ve never understood the cupcake thing and don’t see why anyone would pay $2-4 for a cupcake! However, real pastries that are vegan would be something else, chocolate croissants, for instance, or these beauties.


  4. These look sooo good. I’m yet to adventure with puff pastry, I’m in the intimidated camp haha.

    I’m super jealous of the increasing access to vegan goods in bakeries y’all seem to be experiencing over there!! We are a little behind the times Down Under.

  5. These look straight out from a bakery! I’ve never tried baking puff pastry and probably won’t be trying in the near future… haha. I’m definitely heading to the supermarket to get myself some frozen ones so I can make yours, looks really delicious!

  6. I loved the non-vegan version a lot but your creations do look mouthwatering, my friend! they look absolutely delicous too! :)

    Yummmmmm! Fab picture too!

  7. i swoon for the mille fuille cake served at my friend’s wedding in Italy… these look absolutely wonderful, and perhaps be just what I need to break my glazed-over eyes this monday morning :)

  8. So beautiful! Haven’t baked or eaten a Napoleon in ages. I love the sound of the flavours you’ve used in yours.

  9. It has been ages since I’ve thought of Napoleons. I forgot how wonderful they taste. Not sure if I should thank you or not ;)

      1. I’ll let you know how it goes, success or failure. I bought some soy margarine in Italy this afternoon – I’m hoping it stays solid enough to not melt into the dough. Fingers crossed!

  10. These look great! I love making vegan pastries with puff pastry . . . and these look delicious. Looks like you pre-cut the pastry before baking? Love to hear some tips on the presentation – perfect!

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