This dessert, Strawberry Napoleons, is a version of a favorite pastry, just the thing to satisfy a springtime longing for the first taste of fresh fruit.

Strawberries and cream are a component part of it. The berry taste is complemented by the crisp flakiness of the pastry, and the filling elaborates the basic cream by adding vanilla pudding.

STRAWBERRY NAPOLEONS

1/2 package (17 1/4-ounce size) frozen puff pastry (1 sheet)

1 package (about 31/2 ounces) vanilla instant pudding mix

1 cup milk

1 cup heavy cream, whipped, or 2 cups thawed frozen nondairy or dairy whipped topping

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

2 teaspoons milk

1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries

Thaw pastry sheet at room temperature 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 F.

Unfold pastry on lightly floured surface. Cut into 3 strips along fold marks. Place on baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes or until golden. Remove from baking sheet and cool on wire rack.

Prepare pudding mix according to package directions with 1 cup milk. Fold in whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate.

To prepare icing, in small bowl mix confectioners' sugar and 2 teaspoons milk and set aside.

Split pastries into 2 layers, making 6 layers in all.

To make the top layers, spread icing on 2 layers.

Spread another pastry layer with 3/4 cup pudding mixture. Top with about 1/3 cup strawberries. Repeat layers. Top with an iced pastry layer.

Repeat to make second dessert.

- Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate up to 4 hours.

Makes 12 servings.

- From Pepperidge Farm