Mille-Feuille Napoleon with Crème Baumanière

1 9x15 inch sheet puff pastry (thawed if using frozen pastry)
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 batch Pastry Cream (recipe below)
1 cup stiffly whipped heavy cream
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
2 cups raspberries
confectioners' sugar for dusting

Place oven rack in center of oven and preheat to 425*F.

Place puff pastry on baking sheet lined with parchment, top with a second sheet of parchment and a wire rack to prevent the pastry from puffing up too much. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350*F and bake another 15 minutes. Cool completely on rack.

Stir Grand Marnier into 1/2 cup pastry cream (use remaining pastry cream in another dish), then fold in whipped cream to make the Crème Baumanière. Chill.

Place rack 3 inches from broiler and preheat broiler.

Cut pastry into three 3x15 inch rectangles with a bread knife, gently sawing back and forth. Place one rectangle on baking sheet and sprinkle completely with confectioners' sugar. Broil until caramelized (if you have a blow torch, that will be much easier than the broiler). Remove from broiler and set aside; this will be the top of the napoleon.

Place one rectangle of pastry on a serving platter. Top with 1/2 cup Crème Baumanière, spread evenly over the pastry. Top with half the raspberries, pressing gently into the cream. Spread 1/2 cup cream over the berries then top with another 1/2 cup cream. Top with second piece of pastry.

Cut into 8 slices with serrated knife. If necessary, realign layers.

Spread remaining cream on second layer, then top with berries. Place caramelized layer on top, then dust with confectioners' sugar. Cut into pieces following the cuts made on the bottom layer.

recipe adapted from The Secrets of Baking by Sherry Yard

Pastry Cream

1 1/2 cups whole milk
5 large egg yolks (at room temperature)
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ vanilla bean, cut in half length-wise, seeds scraped*
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
pinch of salt

Heat milk in a small saucepan with the vanilla bean and seeds over medium-high heat until it’s just before the boiling point. You’ll see a skin form on the top of the liquid, and the milk will appear to “dance” underneath the surface. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, combine egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl. With electric mixer (use paddle attachment if using a stand mixer), beat on medium-high speed until the eggs are thick and pale, and fall back on themselves in a ribbon, about four or five minutes. Reduce speed to low and add cornstarch, flour, and salt.

With mixer on low, slowly pour in a little scalded milk. Continue pouring adding milk slowly, to raise the temperature of the eggs. When mixed, transfer to a large saucepan and heat over medium-low heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens. Don’t worry if it appears to curdle, simply switch to a whisk and it will come together again.

Remove from heat. Add butter, Grand Marnier, and vanilla; whisk to combine. Pour cream through a sieve into a medium-sized bowl. Press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the cream, refrigerate until cool. (For faster cooling, place bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice water.)

*Can substitute 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract for the vanilla bean. Add the extract at the end, off heat.