Bake-Along #73, theme is Mille-Feuille, also known as Napoleon. It is a French pastry, with custard cream, whipped cream and berries sandwiched between two or three pieces of crispy flaky puff pastry. There are other variations to Mille-Feuille which you can find when you google for more info.
This week's theme is selected by Lena, to bake together with Zoe and myself, and everyone is welcome to join us. Bake any Mille-Feuille and join our blog-hop, by linking your post to the linky.
To bake this delightful pastry, I've turned to one recipe from this gorgeous book from my cookbook collection, by master baker, Nick Malgieri. His book Pastry Perfection is simply fabulous!
I have used store-bought puff pastry instead of making my own, due to time factor (I've only made this Mille-Feuille yesterday, at the last moment!). I would really love to try his puff-pastry recipe which he has provided in the book. Well, one day, hopefully soon (fingers crossed!). I have however followed his recipe on how to bake the caramelised pastry, his orange vanilla custard and sweetened whipped cream. He has used a mixture of strawberries and raspberries, but I've used only strawberries.
Since the custard cream need to be refrigerated until chilled, I've made it the night before, and left it in the refrigerator overnight. Ingredients for the custard cream are egg yolks, whipping cream, milk, caster sugar, large pieces of rind from a small orange, plain flour and vanilla extract.
I did not roll out the puff pastry but used it as it is. The one I bought is about 8" square. I placed the
pastry on a lined baking sheet, prick holes all over, sprinkled with caster sugar, cover with a large parchment paper, and top with another baking sheet to prevent the pastry from puffing, bake as directed for about 15 minutes. Invert the dough by grasping both sides of the baking sheet together so that the pastry do not slide out. Remove the top baking sheet, the top parchment paper, then sprinkle the dough evenly with some icing sugar. Proceed to bake as directed in the recipe until the sugar melts and caramelised the pastry to a deep golden brown, watching it carefully so that it do not burn. Slice the pastry to desired serving size while it is still hot. Slide cut pastry, still on the baking parchment back to the baking sheet, cover with another baking parchment, and place another baking sheet on top, until you are ready to assemble, to prevent the crispy baked pastry from warping.
Whipping cream is whipped with a little caster sugar, to soft peaks.
To assemble the Mille-Feuille, place a slice of pastry with the caramelised side facing up on a serving plate. Top with a layer of custard, arrange some sliced strawberries, and top with the sweetened whipped cream. Finish off by placing another slice of pastry, caramelised side facing up, pressing it gently to adhere the layer to the cream. Serve immediately. Yummilicious!
Though it is rather messy to eat, we enjoyed eating this Strawberry Mille-Feuille. I like the custard cream, it has the aroma of orange and vanilla and is not too sweet. I've also reduced the sugar slightly for the whipping cream, and everything comes together rather deliciously with the crispy flaky pastry!
(adapted from "Pastry Perfection", Nick Malgieri)
1 batch Caramelised Puff Pastry Layers ** (refer below)
(cut into two 19cm square layers)
Vanilla Orange Pastry Cream :
180ml whole milk
60ml double cream
50gm caster sugar
zest of 1 small orange, removed in large strips with a vegetable peeler
3 medium egg yolks
2 tablespoons unbleached plain flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
240ml double cream
2 tablespoons caster sugar
350gm small strawberries, rinsed and hulled
- For the pastry cream, combine the milk, cream, half the sugar and the orange zest in a small saucepan and whisk to combine. Bring to the full boil over a low heat. Meanwhile, in a bowl. whisk the egg yolks and then whisk in the remaining sugar. Sift over and whisk in the flour.
- When the milk mixture boils, whisk it into the egg yolk mixture. Strain the mixture back into the pan (leaving the orange zest in the strainer) and place over a medium heat. Use a small, pointed-end whisk to stir constantly, being sure to reach into the corners of the pan,until the cream comes to the full boil and thickens. Cook, whisking constantly for another 30 seconds. Off the heat, whisk in the vanilla extract or paste. Scrape the cream into a glass bowl and press clingfilm directly against the surface. Chill until cold.
- A few hours before serving the mille-feuilles. use a sharp serrated knife to cut each of the layers into 8 rectangles, each about 4.5 x 9.5cm.
- Just before assembling, whip the cream with the sugar to a soft peak.
- Arrange 8 of the cut layers, caramelised side up, on dessert plates. Top each with a heaped tablespoon of pastry cream. Arrange some of the strawberries on the pastry cream, then top with a spoonful of whipped cream. Cover each with another puff pastry layer, caramelised side up, and gently press to adhere the layer to the whipped cream.
- Serve immediately; these can wait an hour at a cool room temperature but not much longer.
** Caramelised Puff Pastry Layers
300gm puff pastry (I've used store-bought puff pastry)
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons icing sugar
- Lightly flour the work surface and the dough and roll it to a 25 x 38cm rectangle. (It's helpful to roll the dough part of the way, then transfer one of the pieces of parchment paper for lining a tin to your work surface, flour it and finish rolling the dough directly on the paper).
- Slide the paper and dough into one of the tins and use a fork to pierce it all over at 1.25cm intervals. Cover the dough loosely with clingfilm and let it rest for several hours. (I used store-bought puff pastry; 2 pieces of 8" square, did not roll it out, use it as it is, and skip the resting time, proceed to step 3).
- When you're ready to bake the layer, set a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 200C/gas mark 6. Line two 25x38cm Swiss roll tins with parchment paper.
- Sprinkle the dough with the caster sugar and place the second piece of parchment paper on top; stack the second tin on top of the parchment. Place in the oven and reduce the temperature to 190C/gas mark 5. Bake for about 15 minutes until the layer is almost cooked through.
- Remove the stack of tins and dough from the oven and invert them, grasping both sides to avoid having the dough slide out. Increase the oven temperature to 230C/gas mark 8.
- The dough will now be resting on a piece of parchment on the back of a Swiss roll tin. Lift off the top tin, peel away the top paper, and slide the layer of dough, still on the second piece of paper, back into the original tin. Evenly sprinkle with the icing sugar and bake, watching carefully, for 7-10 minutes until the sugar melts and glazes. Don't wal away or it will definitely burn.
- Slide the baked layer, still on its paper, to a cutting board and slice it into the desired pieces while it is still warm. To prevent the pastry from warping once it has cooled, slide it or the pieces back between the papers and tins until you are ready to proceed.
For our next Bake-Along, we will be baking Hot Milk Cakes with Strawberries and Cream from Bon Appetit Dessert Cookbooks, pg 128 or here. Please do join us and link your post to our linky which will start on 22nd till 31st January. Everyone is welcome to join us! Only current post please.
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