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e. michael reidt
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February 2003 MIAMI
Dulce de Leche Napoleon with Balsamic Caramel Ice Cream
Chef E. Michael Reidt of Wish at The Hotel, Miami Beach - Miami Beach, Florida
Adapted by StarChefs


Yield: 6 servings


  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ pound unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 Tablespoons cold water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Pastry Cream:
  • 5½ cups milk
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 15 egg yolks
  • 12 Tablespoons cornstarch
    Whipped Cream:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
    Balsamic Caramel Ice Cream:
  • 2 ½ quarts heavy cream
  • 28 egg yolks
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups balsamic vinegar
    Caramel Sauce:
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
    Dulce de Leche:
  • 4 cans condensed milk (clean all cans and remove labels)


For the cookies:
Blend the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor or in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the cold, cubed butter and blend into small crumbs, or until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the egg yolks one at a time, and then add the water and vanilla extract. When fully combined, the dough will start to form a ball. On a floured surface, roll out the dough evenly, making sure it's thin. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter cut out 18 circles. Bake cookies on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes or until golden in color. Cool.

For the pastry cream:
Heat the 4½ cups of milk and all the sugar in a large pot over medium heat. In a large bowl, beat the yolks, cornstarch and remaining milk. When milk begins to steam, remove it from the heat and temper it into the yolk mixture by adding it slowly while whisking the mixture constantly (this is to avoid cooking the egg yolk). Mix thoroughly. Cover the hot cream by placing plastic wrap directly on the entire surface of the cream to avoid forming a skin. Cool.

For the whipped cream:
In a large bowl or in the bowl of a standing mixer combine the heavy cream, sugar, and the seeds scraped out of the vanilla bean. Whip the cream to a stiff peak.

For the balsamic caramel ice cream:
In a large pot over medium heat, bring the all but ¾ cup of the cream, 2 ½ cups of the sugar and the scraped vanilla beans to a boil. In a large bowl mix the 28 egg yolks. Temper the boiling cream into the yolks by adding it slowly while whisking the mixture constantly (this is to avoid cooking the egg yolk). Strain the mixture immediately through a fine chinois (or other fine strainer) and cool in an ice bath.

In a small pot heat the balsamic vinegar, and reduce it by half. Set aside.

In a sauté pan, heat the remaining ½ cup sugar. Once the sugar is brown and melted, stir in ¾ cup cream and the reduced vinegar.

When both mixtures are cool, stir them together and spin them in an ice cream machine.

For the caramel sauce:
In a very clean pot, pour the sugar. Pour in water, just enough to make a wet sand, and add the light corn syrup (this will prevent the sugar from crystallizing when cooked). Wash down the insides of the pot, making certain there are no sugar crystals on them. Cook over high heat until it turns a medium caramel color. Remove from the heat, and carefully whisk in the heavy cream and vanilla (the caramel will splatter when a fat such as caramel is added). Cool slightly.

For the dulce de leche:
Puncture 3 holes on the top of each can to release the air pressure. Submerge cans in a large pot of water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover pot and simmer for 2 hours.

Layer the pastry cream and dulce de leche between four cookies, alternately, finishing with dulce de leche on top. Place it in the center of plate. In a small bowl, fold 2 tablespoons of dulce de leche into 2 tablespoons whipped cream. Mix them together to make the caramel whipped topping. Place the mixture on top of dessert. Place a scoop of the balsamic ice cream next to sandwich. Drizzle with caramel sauce and serve.