Measure out all of the ingredients for the puff pastry and get your tools and utensils ready.
Mix 2/3 cup cold water, 1 Tbsp vinegar & 3 Tbsp vodka (replace with water if not using) in a cup.
By food processor: Add 5 cups flour to the cup of your food processor. Now add 3 ½ sticks cold, cubed butter, and pulse or process until the crumbs are pea-size.
Add wet to dry: Add the liquid ingredients and continue pulsing or mixing until the dough starts sticking to itself a bit, but is not formed yet.
Form into a dough: Pour the content of the food processor bowl onto a work surface and start gathering and pressing the dough together with your hands, trying to work it as little as possible. Form a ball and knead it for a couple of seconds until a dough forms.
Shape & Divide: Shape the dough into a log and then cut it into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, cover, and refrigerate for about an hour to allow the liquid to hydrate the flour. This will also make it easier to roll the dough out later.
Eggs & Sugar: In a 6 qt pot whisk together 7 egg yolks & 1 ½ - 2 ¼ cups sugar adding about ¼ cup of milk to make it easier to mix into a smooth mixture.
Flour & Milk: Add the [/adjustable]⅔cups flour and whisk again, forming a very uniform, clump-free batter. Add another ¼ cup[/adjustable] of milk to make it easier.
Heat the remaining milk in a saucepot or a microwave. If heating on a stovetop, make sure to heat over medium-low heat and stir continously to prevent scorching.
Temper eggs: Temper the egg yolk mixture by slowly pouring the hot milk in, all the while mixing. Adding the hot milk gradually will prevent the eggs from curdling and separating.
Add butter: Add [/adjustable]1 ¾ sticks butter, allow to melt and stir the custard into a smooth mixture. Alternatively, you can beat the butter into the cooled to room temperature custard. [/adjustable]
Cool custard: Allow the custard to cool by pouring it into a jelly roll baking sheet, covering it with plastic wrap so it touches the custard, which will prevent a film from forming. Do not refrigerate, just bring to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 400F °. Set the rack in the middle.
How to roll the puff pastry cake layers:
Place a damp kitchen towel on the table, then put an upside-down jelly roll baking pan on top. The kitchen towel will help prevent to prevent the baking sheet from moving as you roll.
Roll out 1 dough ball into a 11-12 inch circle, dusting the top surface with flour as needed. Pierce with a fork about every 1 inch - this will prevent large bubbles from forming as it bakes.
Alternatively, you can lightly wet your rolling surface, then place a piece of foil larger than 12 inches and smooth it out to adhere to the table. Now roll the dough on top of it. The foil won't move, giving you a steady rolling surface. Working this way, you can pre-roll all the cake layers, nonstop while some of them are baking.
Bake: Bake each puff pastry cake layer for 5-7 minutes or until lightly golden. Then, remove from the oven and place a 10-inch plate or lid on top and cut around it with a sharp knife collecting all scraps to a bowl. Allow to cool. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
Crumble all the cake scraps.
Place a dab of frosting on a serving platter, top with the first cake layer and press to adhere.
Reserve and refrigerate about 1 cup of custard for covering the sides, later.
Now, spread about 4 large spoonfuls of Napoleon Custard into an even layer. Repeat with the rest of the custard and cake, finishing with a layer of custard on top.
Sprinkle the top with some of the crumbled up cake scraps to keep the custard from drying out. Leave the cake at room temperature for 12 hours, then refrigerate for another 12 hours. Or just refrigerate the cake for 48 hours before continuing with the next step.
Unmold the cake by running a thin knife between the cake and the ring. Remove the ring.
Take the reserved custard and smooth over the sides of the cake. Set the cake on a cake stand, over a baking sheet. Take a handful of cake scraps and press them against the sides of the cake, allowing the rest to fall into the baking sheet. Continue going around the cake sides in the above-described manner. Sprinkle the leftover puff pastry cake crumbs over the top of the cake. Top with berries and sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.
Use 2 boxes of storebought frozen Pepperidge Farm puff pastry in place of homemade puff pastry if desired.
For this, roll out each thawed puff pastry sheet on a floured surface to a 20"x14" rectangle and poke it with a fork every 1 inch, then bake for about 8 minutes at 400F or until uniformly golden in color. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Trim the edges of the cake with a sharp knife to make all layers the same size.
Now cut 4 baked cake layers into two equal halves, giving you 8 cake layers.
Layer the 8 baked puff pastry cake layers with about 1 cup of prepared custard, then use the rest to cover the top and sides of the Napoleon cake.
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