First the empire, then dessert

February 12, 1997|By EATING WELL MAGAZINE

Napoleon Bonaparte, well-known emperor and one-time valentine of Josephine, once proclaimed: "An army marches on its stomach." This novel napoleon is surely the dessert he had in mind: juicy sauteed pears and figs layered between crisp triangles of phyllo in a sweet pool of ruby-hued raspberry coulis. As for that other dessert called napoleon? It was named for some bakers in Naples. Our dessert is born of love.

Pear and fig napoleons

Makes 6 napoleons

PHYLLO LAYERS:

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

pinch of ground cloves

2 teaspoons butter, melted

2 teaspoons vegetable oil, preferably canola

4 sheets phyllo dough (14-by-18 inches), thawed if frozen

PEAR AND FIG FILLING:

12 dried figs, stems removed, thinly sliced crosswise

2 teaspoons butter

3 pounds firm but ripe pears, such as Bosc or Comice (about 6 large pears), peeled, quartered, cored and thinly sliced

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons sweet Marsala wine or fresh orange juice

raspberry coulis (below)

confectioners' sugar for dusting

To make phyllo layers:

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a large (14-by-17-inch) baking sheet without sides (or an inverted one with sides) or coat it with nonstick cooking spray. Have a second baking sheet on hand.

In a small bowl, stir together sugar, cinnamon and cloves. In a small bowl, combine butter and oil.

Lay one sheet of phyllo on the prepared baking sheet and brush lightly but evenly with the butter/oil mixture. Sprinkle evenly with a generous tablespoon of the reserved sugar mixture. Repeat this process with 2 more sheets of phyllo. Lay the final sheet of phyllo on top (do not brush it) and press the layers firmly together.

With a sharp knife or scissors, trim edges of phyllo. Cut into 3 strips lengthwise, then 3 strips crosswise. Cut each rectangle into 2 triangles (you should have 18 triangles). Set the second baking sheet on top to hold the phyllo flat as it bakes.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until crisp and golden. (If a rectangle sticks to the top baking sheet when you check the color, just release it with a spatula and replace it.) Let cool on a wire rack with the top baking sheet still in place.

To make pear and fig filling:

In a small bowl, cover figs with hot water and set aside to soften.

In a large nonstick skillet, melt butter over high heat. Add pears and sugar and saute until no longer juicy, about 15 minutes.

Drain figs and add to pears, along with lemon juice and Marsala (or orange juice). Cook until somewhat thickened, about 2 minutes longer.

To assemble napoleons:

To form each napoleon, set a phyllo triangle on the plate, top with about 1/4 cup of the pear and fig filling, repeat with another triangle and more filling and place a final triangle on top. Repeat to make 5 more napoleons.

To serve: Spoon some raspberry coulis around each napoleon and dust the dessert and plate with confectioners' sugar. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 315 calories; 2 g protein; 5 g fat (1.8 g saturated fat); 70 g carbohydrate; 40 mg sodium; 7 mg cholesterol; 8 g fiber.

Raspberry coulis

Makes about 3/4 cup

1 1/2 cups fresh OR individually quick frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Combine raspberries, sugar and lemon juice in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Strain though a fine sieve. Chill until ready to serve.

Pub Date: 2/12/97

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