A little catching up to do… Napoleons with fondant glaze

Cooking is something of a fiasco at the moment. The Sour Plum is getting a new kitchen while the house gets a little renovation, which means that Bastien, Emmett the cat, and I are camping out in the bedroom. Quick meals are made and eaten at the foot of the bed because downstairs is a dusty mess. The dishes are done in the bathtub. Clothes, pots, and pans linger together in the closet. It’s quite topsy-turvy over here. I’m in renovation mode, and spend more time hammering at the walls than slicing fennel or beating eggs, though I did get to spend a few days working with passionate chefs in a restaurant kitchen last week, and a day out wine tasting in St. Chinian. I will tell about these later.

I posted a recipe for napoleons a while back, but never got around to giving you the recipe for the fondant glaze. This is a very easy recipe for fondant that I found in the excellent book Cookwise by Shirley O. Corriher.  If you like to know a little about the how and the why of cooking techniques, you would love this book. The recipe is originally from Helen Fletcher‘s book, The New Pastry Cook.

You must have a food processor and a candy thermometer to do this recipe, but it is very simple.

Working with fondant can be tricky at first, but it’s not difficult. This basic recipe will give you a thick white paste that can also be rolled out and draped over cakes for a smooth coating.

To use it to glaze a napoleon, reheat the fondant paste in a saucepan just to body temperature, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. You will probably need to add a few drops of water (or corn syrup) and stir very well until smooth. You can test the temperature by touching the fondant to your lip. It should be warm, not hot.

2 important things to avoid when preparing fondant for glaze:

1. Do not heat the fondant so much that it burns to the touch, or your napoleons will have a dull finish rather than a shiny one.

2. Do not add too much water (or corn syrup) to the fondant, or it will slide off the napoleon rather than setting.

The texture should be thicker than chocolate syrup, but pourable. Keep the layer very thin, or your napoleons will be too sweet!

Recipe for Basic Fondant as found in Cookwise by Shirley O. Corriher:

2 cups sugar
3 tbsps corn syrup or 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup water

Note: You won’t need all of the fondant for the napoleon, but to make less, you need a very small food processor. The extra fondant stays good for a few months in the fridge. I’ve highlighted the basic process in bold.

Heat sugar, water and corn syrup to 238°F (114°C) in a heavy bottomed pan. Pour into a food processor fitted with the steel knife. Don’t mix yet!

Wash the candy thermometer well and reinsert into the syrup. Let the syrup cool undisturbed to 140°F (60°C). This should take about 30 minutes.

Remove the thermometer. (You can add some flavoring or color if you would like). Process for 2 to 3 minutes, until the syrup converts from a glassy syrup to an opaque paste. When thoroughly cooled, store sealed at room temperature for 24 hours, or refrigerate for later use. Refrigerated, fondant can stay good for months.


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