Creme Brulee Napoleons with Fresh Strawberries

2 quarts heavy cream
1 pint milk
2 pounds egg yolks
14 oz. granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
8 oz. dark brown sugar

Napoleon Pastry:
10 oz. granulated sugar
6 oz. ground toasted almonds
24 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
8 oz. unsalted butter, melted

Strawberry Sauce:
12 oz. California strawberries, stemmed
2 to 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 lbs. California strawberries, stemmed and sliced
24 California strawberries, cut into fans
24 mint sprigs DIRECTIONS:To make creme brulee: Heat oven to 300°F. In sauc'pan, bring cream and milk just to a boil. Remove from heat. In bowl, whisk together yolks, granulated sugar and vanilla until blended. Slowly whisk in cream mixture. Strain. Pour ½ of the mixture (7 cups) into each of 2 full-size hotel pans. Place in hot water bath. Bake 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool. Cover; chill 2 hours or until firm. Cut each pan into 24 (3-inch) squares. Sift 3/4 cup brown sugar over each pan of creme brulee. Brown each pan under salamander, watching carefully to prevent sugar from burning. Cover; chill 1 hour.

To make napoleon pastry: Heat oven to 350°F. In bowl, combine sugar and almonds; set aside. Lightly brush 1 sheet phyllo with butter. Sprinkle evenly with 1 ½ Tbsp. sugar mixture; repeat layering 2 more times to make 4 layers. Cut into 12 (3 ½-inch squares). Repeat process 5 more times with remaining sheets of phyllo to make a total of 72 squares. Arrange squares on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake 12-14 minutes or until light brown. Cool on wire rack. Set aside.

To make strawberry sauce: In blender container, puree strawberries until smooth. Sweeten to taste with sugar. Cover and chill. Yield: 1 ½ cups. For each serving, to order: Drizzle 1 Tbsp. strawberry sauce on serving plate. Plate 1 napoleon pastry in center. Top with 1 square of creme brulee and 2 Tbsp. sliced strawberries. Repeat layers; top with third napoleon pastry. Garnish with strawberry fan and mint. SERVINGS:24 servings From:Chef Sonny Dervishi and Chef Debra Miller, Millenium, San Francisco PHOTO CREDIT:Photo Credit: CALIFORNIA STRAWBERRY COMMISSION