Napoleons seem to be a Neopolitan invention as they originated in Naples, Italy. The French adopted the dessert, calling it “mille-feuille” or “ thousand leaves” for the many layers of pastry. As the dessert traveled from France the description of their place of origin, Neopolitan, became corrupted to the more familiar Napoleon associated with France, but there is no evidence that Emperor Napoleon had anything to do with these particular pastries. Napoleons traditionally have a confectionary sugar glaze on top (1 Tablespoon water to 1 cup of confectionary sugar) but I eliminated this to control the sweetness (and carb count). They are also typically larger in size and frequently have 3 to five layers of pastry. We prefer the little sweetheart size as portion control – but also because the easiest way to eat this crispy delicacy is to pick it up and carefully take a bite! If you choose the knife and fork method – still easier to eat the small ones.
Fresh strawberries are required to make this a “sweetheart” of a dessert. To make the strawberry hearts, cut a notch into the top of the berry before slicing. Like this:
You can substitute frozen strawberries. They just won’t have the heart. (pun intended!) I do not add sugar to the berries to keep the calorie and carb count lower. If berries are on the tart side, though, you might want to consider adding a couple of tablespoons of sugar to the sliced berries while waiting for the pastries to bake and cool. Using two layers of pudding mix helps to hold the pastry and strawberries together. I use chocolate discs for drizzling, but you can substitute about 1/3 cup of semisweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate chips. This was the first time I drizzled chocolate — move very quickly to keep lines thin and straight! Otherwise you’ll end up with a squiggle like these!
Your sweetheart will think you spent hours on this spectacular treat!
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