Strawberry Napoleons on white plates
Photography, Janis Nicolay

Anna Olson’s Strawberry Napoleons

This easy dessert is ideal for entertaining since it can be prepped ahead of time.

In her book Anna Olson’s Baking Wisdom: The Complete Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Make You a Better Baker, acclaimed pastry chef and TV personality Anna Olson breaks down the fundamentals of a classic French dessert. “A napoleon and a mille-feuille are virtually the same dessert of layered pastry and filling, but a napoleon is an individual pastry whereas a mille-feuille is a larger, more structured version that is sliced into portions after assembling,” Olson writes. “These strawberry ricotta napoleons are perfect for a dinner party because you can bake the individual puff pastry layers, make the ricotta filling and slice the strawberries in advance, then assemble the desserts just before serving.” Her version is made with a creamy ricotta filling – add a sprinkle of dark chocolate shavings for cannoli-style napoleons.

Strawberry Napoleons on white plates

Strawberry Ricotta Napoleons

Anna Olson's recipe for strawberry napoleons with a creamy ricotta cheese filling.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Afternoon Tea, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine French
Servings 6



  • ½ lb (225 g) store-bought all-butter puff pastry
  • egg wash 1 large egg mixed with 1 tbsp cold water


  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • ¼ cup icing sugar plus extra for dusting
  • ¼ cup (60 g) mascarpone cheese or softened cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp finely grated orange or lemon zest
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup (225 g) creamy ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups (330 g) sliced fresh strawberries


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface to an 8 × 12-inch (20 × 30 cm) rectangle. Trim away the rough edges so that you are left with a more precise 8 × 10-inch (20 × 25 cm) rectangle. Use a pastry wheel or knife to cut into six 3-inch (7.5 cm) squares. Place on the baking tray and dock the pastries with a fork. Brush the pastries with egg wash and bake for about 25 minutes, until puffed and a rich golden brown on top. Cool the pastries on the tray on a rack until ready to assemble. (You can bake the pastry a day ahead and store on the counter in an airtight container.)
  • Whip the cream by hand or with electric beaters until it holds a soft peak. Whip in the icing sugar and chill until ready to use. Place the mascarpone (or cream cheese), citrus zest and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Vigorously beat by hand until the mixture is as smooth as it can be. Fold in the whipped cream and chill until ready to assemble the napoleons.
  • Split open each puff pastry square horizontally to create a top and bottom half. Place each bottom half on a dessert plate and dollop the ricotta on top. Spoon the strawberries over the ricotta and place the top half of the puff pastry square on top. Dust with icing sugar and serve. The pastry squares can be baked up to a day ahead and stored in an airtight container on the counter.

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A book cover in a light frame

Excerpted from Anna Olson’s Baking Wisdom: The Complete Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Make You a Better Baker (with 150+ Recipes) by Anna Olson. Copyright © 2023 Olson Food Concepts Inc. Photography by Janis Nicolay. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.
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