I took the recipe base from Sandra Lee, who actually uses the method of Napoleons for alot of desserts. Take puff pastry and layer in fillings and you've got dessert! I took her basic recipe and just ramped up the cherry layer in particular--I LOVE Cherry flavored anything!
What I love about Napoleons as a dessert is you can prep everything ahead and then it's just assembly when you're ready for dessert! The other thing is everything in the recipe you see with an asterisk* can be made/purchased lowfat or sugar free--very easy to make healthy. (Been watching Biggest Loser marathon today so now inspired to point out things like that :)
Big D Black Forest Napoleon
1 Box Frozen Puff Past
2 Boxes Chocolate Fudge Jello Pudding*
2 1/2 cups Milk*
1 cup whipping cream* (use all milk if making lite)
1 Cool Whip
1 can Cherry Pie Filling
1 jar Marachino Cherries
1 1/2 tsp Almond Extract
1/2 pkg Black Cherry Jello*
1 can RediWhip*
Hershey's Special Dark Syrup (!!!did you know they made a Special Dark Syrup? Brilliant!!)
2 bowls / tuperware containers that can hold about 4-5 cups
Okay, so for this recipe you prep 3 parts: the Puff Pastry, the Chocolate layer and the Cherry layer.
1. Puff Pastry Prep (say that 5 times fast!) Take out the Puff Pastry and let thaw for about 45 minutes; unfold and cut into 12 squares; then bake according to directions BUT watch it--if you get distracted by, say, a Twitter discussion (darn you @imaginaryfriends!), this could happen:
yeah, but they should look like this:
Once cooled you can put in a large ziplock bag for later.
2. Chocolate Layer: Combine Milk, Cream, and Chocolate Fudge Pudding mix (both packages). Using cream for part of the liquid will make it extra thick and fluffy. If you don't want to use cream, just use all milk but use about 3 1/2 cups. Let stand in fridge for 15 minutes and you're good to go.
3. Ramped Up Cherry Layer: Let the Cool Whip thaw. Combine the container of cool whip with the can of Cherry Pie Filling, 1 1/2 tsp Almond Extract--I use almond EVERY time I use cherry pie filling (it ramps up the flavor of cherry), about half of the juice from the jar of Marachino cherries and 1/2 a package of Black Cherry Jello. Combine and let set for at least 15 minutes in the fridge and, again, you're good to go!
4. Assembly: Take your puff pastry squares and seperate into 2 parts--you'll need 3 pieces for each Napoleon (so 3 squares = 6 parts = 2 napoleons). Layer pastry, chocolate, pastry, cherry fluff, pastry and then top with RediWhip, Dark Chocolate Syrup and a Cherry on top :)
*you could make this low sugar and low fat by using the lowfat/sugar free versions of the ingredients and layering the chocolate and cherry layers with lowfat graham crackers instead of puff pastry! I'm a big "dipper" and today I took the left over fillings and dipped graham crackers as a snack today :)
ENJOY! I thought they were delicious and Big D was raving.