I was quite happy with how all the dishes came out, but I have to say that the pièce de résistance was the Russian Napoleon cake. I’ve made this cake once before, for my birthday, and while it was delicious, it looked like a big mess. This time, I had the time and the patience to roll out and bake 12 9-inch discs of flaky pastry, and layer them with delicious vanilla pastry cream, which I then allowed to settle in the fridge overnight to reach it’s perfectly luxurious consistency. This cake was, and continues to be, ubiquitous at Russian restaurants in Brighton Beach. I’ve always liked it, but never imagined it could be made by human hands outside of a professional bakery. But last year, I purchased Mamushka by Olia Hercules, and in the middle of this beautiful book, I discovered her recipe for this very cake. I immediately knew I had to make it. I shall be eternally grateful for this recipe. Just look at all those decadent layers of flaky pastry and vanilla custard!
Here’s a slideshow of the photos Stephen took at the dinner. If you want to see more photos from this event and more, check out the #saltandpomegranates hashtag on Instagram!