When it comes to choosing between ready-made ingredients and spending 3 more hours in the kitchen making your own pre-cooked ingredient… I deny any logic and choose to cook myself. Pistachio paste, almond meal, fruit puree, small meringues and puff pastry. I know, it can be easily found in any supermarket. It is cheap and gives predictable result, but… let’s say I just prefer it freshly made. I honestly don’t know, what’s the point, but I really do love homemade puff pastry better.
And when the reason for puff pastry is mille-feuille, you just can’t walk on this classic piece of fine French cuisine in your dirty wellies and cook it with shop bought pastry. So let’s pretend ourselves chefs and make some perfect “dessert of thousand petals” from the beginning to the end.
(makes 5, cooking time 3 hours)
200 g plain flour
¼ tsp salt
175 cold butter cubed
1 tsp lemon juice
100 ml cold water
300 ml milk
1 vanilla pod
3 egg yolks
4 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp corn starch
2 tbsp plain flour
150 ml double cream
Plus 300 g fresh berries of choice
1) In a big bowl mix butter cubes, flour and salt without kneading. Make a well in the centre, pour water and lemon juice. Mix and knead to form the dough. It should be soft but not sticky.
2) Knead the pastry to form a small and tidy rectangle about 15×20 cm. Wrap in plastic film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3) Roll the pastry into a 15×45 cm rectangle. Fold the left third first, then the right one. Make sure all edges and angles are even. Wrap in film, refrigerate for 15 minutes.
4) Repeat step 3 four more times. The last repetition let the pastry chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
5) Preheat oven to 200°С. Roll the pastry to a 32 cm square and trim to straight edges and angles to about 30 cm square. Cut into 3 stripes (10×30 cm).
6) Carefully put the stripes on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover with another layer of paper and one more baking tray. Bake fpr 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
7) Cut each stripe into 5 small rectangles.
Method (pastry cream):
1) Start making cream at the end of step 4 of pastry method.
2) Heat the milk and vanilla pod (halved) on a medium heat. Remove immediately when starts to boil. Discard the vanilla pod.
3) In a bowl whisk together 3 egg yolks, sugar, flour and corn starch. Slowly pour in hot milk, continuing to whisk.
4) Return the mixture to the pan and whisk constantly over a low heat until it’s mayonnaise consistency. Remove from the heat, put into a bowl, cover with film and refrigerate for 1 hour.
5) Whip the cream to stiff peaks. Blend with yolks mixture until smooth.
Put the pastry cream into a piping bag and pipe about 15 small domes on each of 10 pastry pieces (leave 5 more blank). Put the berries – 1 berry on each of the cream domes. Stack two pastry pieces with cream together, cover with a blank one. Decorate with icing sugar and berries.
You did it! Now it’s time to enjoy!