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Today's Case

New Orleans Napoleon Pastry

Subject: New Orleans Napoleon Pastry?
From: Ricki
Date: 6/19/2020, 10:45 AM

On 6/18/2020 8:35 PM, Ricki wrote:

Hi Uncle Phaedrus!

I hope you and your family are doing well during all of the chaos this year has brought. 
My father (62 years old) was telling me about this really airy, fluffy, and light dessert 
called a Napoleon (apparently also called a Mille-feuille). He said it was some type of 
flaky pastry with sweet cream and a glaze-ish icing on top. Probably 1,000 calories! My 
mom said she remembers McKenzie's bakery in New Orleans making them. All my dad said was 
that the old-fashioned pastry shops in New Orleans and surrounding areas made them. When 
I searched up videos and recipes online, my mom told me that the pastry itself was light 
and flaky, not hard, crunchy, or dense. She also said that it was a basic recipe (not 
raspberry flavor, praline flavor, or anything like that). Both of my parents said it had 
many layers, not just a couple. These websites look like it would be something similar 
to what my parents are talking about: 
and They told me each pastry layer was 
thinner and not crunchy. Soft and flaky.My dad told me the inside cream was light, not 
dense and heavy.

Hi Ricki,

We're doing good, thanks.

You have already found recipes for this pastry, you say. I am unsure of what you want me to find, if it is not what you have already found.  Are you still looking because you want to find a recipe that specifically says that it is from McKenzie's or another New Orleans bakery? There are a lot of "Napoleons" and "mille-feuille" recipes, both on the web and in cookbooks. However, I had no success finding a recipe that said it was from McKenzie's Bakery or any other bakery in New Orleans. It is extremely rare for a bakery to give out its recipes. Napoleons/mille-feuille pastries are very popular in New Orleans because they are French pastries and the city of New Orleans has a strong French background, but many bakeries around the country have them. They aren't specifically limited to New Orleans, although in some parts of the country it might be difficult to find a bakery that has them.

When recipes are posted online, they rarely include such descriptive terms at "light and flaky, not hard, crunchy, or dense"(pastry) or "inside cream was light, not dense and heavy" or "each pastry layer was thinner and not crunchy". So, those descriptions are not very useful in searching for a particular recipe, although they might be found in a blog post about Napoleons/mille-feuille.

Many, many recipes for Napoleons/mille-feuille recipes take the shortcut of using commercial frozen puff pastry sheets (Pepperidge Farm is a good one) for the pastry because making the pastry by hand is rather tedious.

The recipes that you found on the two sites above are probably as good as any and are certainly typical recipes for the pastry. Did you try them? I found recipes on these sites that look to be good:

Same one that you found: Classic Napoleons

Chocolate Napoleons


There is a recipe for homemade puff pastry here, if you don't want to use frozen puff pastry: Homemade Puff Pastry


Thank you so much for the info! Yes, I was looking for a recipe with Mackenzie's Bakery 
attached to it. No, I have not tried the recipes yet. Thanks for all your help! I hope 
you have a great weekend and a happy father's day!

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