Expecting guests for dinner this weekend? In the mood for something fruity and stacked? Napoleons are fun to make and impressive to serve. They are also an elegant way to showcase the season’s fresh fruit. Don’t let the presentation intimidate you. With some planning Napoleons are also easy to prepare, since the components may be prepared in advance. All that’s required is some last minute assembly, which is fun to watch or, better yet, get your guests involved.
Caramelized Pineapple and Mango Napoleons
For the phyllo layers:
1 package frozen phyllo sheets, defrosted overnight in refrigerator
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
For the filling:
2 mangoes, skin and pit removed, cut in 1/4″ dice
Juice of one lime, about 2 tablespoons
1 fresh pineapple, ends trimmed, rind removed, cut in quarters lengthwise and cored
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Runny honey for garnish
Prepare the phyllo dough:
Preheat oven to 350 F. (180 C.) Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Unroll phyllo dough. Place one sheet on work surface. (Cover remaining dough with plastic wrap and damp kitchen towel to prevent drying.)
Lightly brush phyllo sheet with butter. Sprinkle lightly with granulated sugar. Place second phyllo sheet on buttered phyllo dough. Brush with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Repeat with 2 more sheets.
With a sharp chef’s knife cut stacked phyllo sheets in half lengthwise. Cut each half into 5 equal width rectangles. (5 across the sheets’ long side x 2 across the short side). With a spatula, transfer the squares to prepared baking sheets. Bake in oven until golden, about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely on racks.
Repeat this process 2 more times, so you will have a total of 30 rectangles. (Phyllo squares may be prepared one day in advance. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Separate layers of phyllo dough with parchment paper.)
Prepare the filling:
Toss the diced mango with the lime juice in a bowl and set aside.
Cut each pineapple quarter in slices 1/4″ thick. Arrange slices in one layer in 2 skillets. Sprinkle brown sugar over pineapple. Cook over medium heat, turning pineapple, until caramelized. Transfer pineapple to a plate to cool completely.
Beat cream in bowl of electric mixer until traces from the whisk are visible in the cream. Add confectioners sugar and vanilla. Continue to beat until soft peaks form.
Assemble the napoleons:
Arrange 12 phyllo sheets on individual dessert plates or platter. Spread each sheet with one tablespoon whipped cream. Gently press diced mango into whipped cream in one layer. Top with a little more whipped cream (this will help the phyllo layers to stay put) and sprinkle with coconut. Top cream and mango with a second phyllo layer and repeat process with mango, whipped cream and coconut. Top with a third phyllo sheet. Spoon cream over the top. Gently lay 1-2 pineapple slices on the cream. Drizzle with honey. Sprinkle with coconut. Serve immediately.