Napoleons are one of those desserts that look so fancy and elegant but are as simple as they can possibly be. Perfect for any party or special occasion, you use puff pastry from the store to create these little masterpieces. You can cut them to the size you want; small for  bite size or larger for a full dessert portion at the end of a dinner party.

Make beautiful pastry shoppe quality Napoleons with store bought puff pastry from the freezer section!

Make beautiful pastry shoppe quality Napoleons with store bought puff pastry from the freezer section!



2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries

1 T. granulated sugar

2 T. Grand Marnier (optional)

1 cup whipping cream

1 cup marscapone cheese

1 T. vanilla

3 T + more Confectioners sugar (you will need some for garnish)

1 orange for a bit of juice and the zest (optional)

1 box of frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package directions



Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  

Clean, core and slice strawberries. Put in a bowl with the sugar and Grand Marnier. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine the whipping cream, vanilla and 2-3 tablespoons of the Confectioners sugar plus 2 tablespoons orange juice (or use Grand Marnier) and 1 teaspoon orange zest. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold in the Marscapone cheese. Spoon into a piping bag. Refrigerate.

Dust the work surface with flour. Open one package of the puff pastry. Cut along the fold lines to make 3 pieces and cut each of those into 4 pieces. Repeat with the second package. Put on the baking sheet and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack.

Split each of the puff pastry squares in half. Put the bottom halves on a serving plate. Pipe with whipping cream mixture.

Drain the strawberries. Add a layer on top of the whipped cream. Pipe some additional whipping cream and put on the top. Dust with powdered sugar.


Remember when your mom did something special with just you and made a big fuss over it? The day my mom and I went to a fancy “dress up” afternoon tea is a still a very fond memory for me even though she made my hair look like a big doughnut on top of my head. With Mother’s Day just around the corner, why not host a Mom and Me tea party to make some memories of your own? This is a great party idea for mothers and daughters of all ages. A tea party isn’t expensive and the results can be priceless—the memories truly do last a lifetime.

Take a look at these pictures from a tea party hosted by a women’s group. The annual event is designed to give busy mothers an opportunity to spend quality time with their young daughters. This family affair was a fashion affair, too. Guests arrived wearing color coordinated outfits complete with hats for the Saturday afternoon soiree. No matter if your party is for a big crowd or your own family, here’s all you need to know to host a tea party. This is also a great theme for a birthday party, a neighborhood party or a fund-raiser for your local school or church. Getting dressed up is half of the fun so invite guests to dress in their Sunday best and encourage them to go all out by competing for prizes in a best hat contest. 

Mother Daughter Tea Party Theme Martie Duncan 3
Invite guests to dress in their Sunday best. At this party, families coordinated their colors and styles. Prizes were given for best hat!

Invite guests to dress in their Sunday best. At this party, families coordinated their colors and styles. Prizes were given for best hat!

Mother Daughter Tea Party theme Martie Duncan 4


A proper afternoon tea includes both savory and sweet treats. Menu items include tiny tea sandwiches like egg salad, cucumber or watercress, savory cheese puffs and warm scones served with butter, jam, and Devonshire cream. You can find Devonshire cream at Whole Foods and upscale markets. Petit fours, cookies, and other delicate cakes are always the finale of high tea. While this isn’t a  day you want to worry about calories, do include a few healthy choices like fruit for those guests dedicated to eating healthy or with dietary concerns. Include an assortment of flavored teas for the kids; they like fruit flavored or spice tea varieties. If you don’t want to make or bake yourself, buy everything you need at the bakery and grocery. Use an electric tea kettle to bring water to a boil quickly; it makes pouring the scalding water into your teapots much easier, too.

Mother Daughter Tea Party theme by Martie Duncan

Try some of my easy recipes for your party: Classic Cheese Puffs, Ham Delights, Puff Pastry Palmiers, Strawberry Napoleons, Raspberry Lemonade and Zippy Two Cheese Pimento Cheese.


This is a marvelous reason to break out the good china! If you don’t have enough china, borrow from your friends and mix and match the patterns. A tea  party isn’t terribly expensive and if you don’t feel like cooking, you don’t have to. Use tiered trays stacked with colorful cakes, cookies, and pretty sandwiches as centerpieces. You really don’t need anything more since there will be quite a lot loaded onto your tables. If you want to add flowers and don’t have a lot of extra room, just place flowers directly on or under serving pieces.

Mother Daughter Tea Party theme Martie Duncan


Plan a few games for all ages including a best hat contest with winners in biggest, most creative and most unusual hat categories. Prizes can be chocolates, teapots and other tea accessories. Another game for all ages is “what’s in Mom’s purse?” This is a type of seated scavenger hunt. Unusual items are called out and the first person to dig the item out of their purse wins a prize. The typical movie stub and bank receipt were obviously easy finds, but I was shocked when moms actually pulled a map of Paris, a curling iron, an unused birthday card, and a pineapple “dum-dum” sucker out of their purses!

Great fun for a crowd of fifty or a group of four, this type of party can easily be used as a fund-raising event for a club, school, church or community or a fun Saturday activity for you and your favorite little girl.