Chocolate and pecan napoleon with bourbon crème Anglaise

Impress your guests with a truly sumptuous dessert with Paul Bloxham's sophisticated chocolate sponge, filo and crème anglaise creation
By Paul Bloxham
Chocolate and pecan napoleon with bourbon crème Anglaise
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Prep Time: plus cooling and chilling
  • Effort: hard



  • 4 sheets of filo pastry
  • 100 g butter, melted
  • 100 g granulated sugar
  • 100 g pecans, finely chopped
  • icing sugar, for sprinkling

For the chocolate decadence:

  • 500 ml milk
  • 500 ml double cream
  • 400 g caster sugar
  • 500 g dark chocolate, (70% cocoa content), finely chopped
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 400 g unsalted butter, softened

For the crème Anglaise with bourbon:

  • 250 ml milk
  • 250 ml double cream
  • ½ vanilla pods, split
  • 125 g caster sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 50 ml bourbon whiskey


1. First make the crème anglaise. Heat the milk, double cream and halved vanilla bean together in a heavy-based medium saucepan.

2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk the sugar and eggs to the ribbon stage, that is thick and pale.

3. Slowly whisk the hot milk into the whisked eggs. Return the mixture to the pan. Cook over a very low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.

4. Strain the mixture into a bowl set into a larger bowl of ice water and stir until cold. Stir in the bourbon and set aside.

5. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4.

6. To make the chocolate decadence, place the milk, double cream and 200g of caster sugar in a pan and bring to the boil.

7. Place the chocolate in a large bowl, pour the boiling milk mixture over and whisk until smooth.

8. In a separate bowl, whisk the yolks, remaining sugar, vanilla extract and pinch of salt together until well combined. Add in the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth.

9. Combine the chocolate mixture with the yolk mixture, mixing well, and beat in the butter.

10. Pour into a baking tray, cover with foil, and bake until just set, about 20 minutes. Chill in the fridge until set, then cut into 8 rounds with a pastry cutter.

11. Lay 2 sheets of filo on a flat surface and brush each sheet with melted butter. Sprinkle sugar over each. Top each filo sheet with another sheet of filo, brush with melted butter, and sprinkle the top filo layer generously with the sugar and chopped pecans.

12. Cut out 6 rounds with a pastry cutter from each filo stack, making 12 rounds in all, and place on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Place two layered sheets of parchment over the filo rounds. Bake until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool.

13. Start stacking with a layer of filo, then a layer of chocolate sponge then another filo layer, a chocolate layer and a final filo layer, making 4 stacks in all.

14. Mix the bourbon into the crème anglaise. Spoon a little of the bourbon custard on each of four serving plates. Top with a filo chocolate stack or Napoleon. Sprinkle with sifted icing sugar and serve.

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