Daring Bakers: Mille-feuille

Pirate Dreams
Posted on 11/04/2012 by cakecrumbs

My thesis deadline in late October put me on a massive baking hiatus. Well. Massive for me, anyway. I really missed getting to bake, much more than I thought I would. It's become such a routine part of my life now that not doing it leaves this massive void. So when my thesis deadline was the day before the Daring Baker's deadline, I was super excited that I wouldn't have to miss out.

Our challenge for October was to make a mille-feuille. Specifically, the main part of the challenge was to make puff pastry. If you know me you know how I revere pastry, specifically flaky pastry. It is a God amongst food items in my world. 



But I've never baked it from scratch before. 


I, admittedly, am usually far too lazy to make it myself. I'm really odd when it comes to what I am prepared to invest my time in in the kitchen. Spend 5 days making a fondant bird? Sure. Spend two hours making pastry, for which most of that time you don't have to do anything? Oh the effort. Perish the thought.

I can now safely say having never consumed home-made puff pastry before last week is one of the biggest regrets in my life. It is ah-maiz-ing. 



The process is deceptively simple. What results is the most lovely, golden, flaky pastry you will ever consume. This version is so buttery and delicious. It almost tastes like shortbread. We sat there eating the offcuts, musing about how amazing it tasted, trying to wait until assembly before consuiming the rest.



I cut the pastry into rectangles, then assembed with strawberries and chocolate custard.



I dusted the tops with icing sugar and used this skewer technique to make a caramelised lattice. 



You can fill it however you want. I did a few with stawberries, and filled the rest with just chocolate custard. Let your favourite filling be your guide.

Mille-feuille

Ingredients

Chocolate Custard

1 tbsp custard powder
1 tbsp cornflour1 tbsp dutch processed cocoa powder
55g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
250ml milk
1 egg, beaten
20g butter
100g dark chocolate

Puff Pastry
1¾ cup (250g) plain/all-purpose flour
¼ cup (1¾ oz)(50g) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1 teaspoon  salt
150 ml cold water
200g (7 oz) butter (for the beurrage), chopped and at room temperature
30g plain flour (for the beurrage)

Method


Chocolate Custard
  1. Blend custard powder, cornflour, sugar cocoa and vanilla in a pan with a little of the milk to make a smooth paste; stir in remaining milk.
  2. Stir over the heat until the mixture boils and thickens
  3. Remove from heat; stir in egg, butter and chocolate until smooth and well combined. 
  4. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled. 
Puff Pastry
  1. Using your fingertips, rub the chilled butter into the largest quantity of flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs
  2. Make a well in the centre; add the cold water and use a fork or spoon to gradually work in the flour. As the dough begins to come together, use your hands to knead it together
  3. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for three minutes, or until smooth and elastic; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for half an hour. 
  4. Meanwhile, combine the room temperature butter and the smaller quantity of flour to create your beurrage. Place between two layers of plastic wrap; using a rolling pin, flatten and shape into a 12cm square. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes. 
  5. When the dough has chilled, roll it into a 15cm square. Place the beurrage in the middle so that each corner faces the length of the dough. 
  6. Fold each corner of the dough to create an envelope-shaped parcel.
  7. Turn over the parcel and tap it with the length of your rolling pin to flatten. On a floured surface, roll your dough into a large, thin rectangle. Fold the dough over into thirds, then repeat the previous step. 
  8. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. 
  9. Repeat steps 8 and 9, then repeat step 8 a final two times. You may use immediately, or refrigerate until required. 
  10. To bake the puff pastry, preheat your oven to 200°C. 
  11. Roll your pastry into a large, thin rectangle. Cut into portions that will fit onto your baking tray. Place pastry onto a greased or lined baking tray; prick pastry all over with a fork, then lay another sheet of baking paper on top of it. Use another baking tray or heavy dish to weigh down the pastry.
  12. Bake pastry for 15 minutes, remove the baking tray and baking paper, then bake for a further 10 minutes (or until golden brown). Allow to cool. 
To assemble
Cut your pastry into desired-sized pieces. You may use three large pieces and cut into individual portions later, or you may want to cut individual-sized portions from the beginning. Place your first layer of pastry on a serving dish, dollop with fresh fruit and custard, then top with another layer of pastry. Repeat. 


For step-by-step photos of making puff pastry, or just the printable version of this recipe, check out the original post at Cakecrumbs.




hylasims 4th-Nov-2012 12:57 pm (UTC)
oh my god AWESOME!!! :Q_____
rethzneworld 4th-Nov-2012 02:03 pm (UTC)
looking awesome *A*
editornia 4th-Nov-2012 02:25 pm (UTC)
OMG, I simply *must* try this!! Thank you! :D

I routinely make shortcrust pastry (often spiced) and cookie dough and cakes from scratch, but I have limited experience with puff pastry of any sort. I must change this. Thanks so much for the step-by-step guide on what to do! :D
sweeeetescape 4th-Nov-2012 04:01 pm (UTC)
so in order to make the lattice, you just dust the top of the pasty with powdered sugar and caramelize it with a hot ass metal skewer? i really like this technique. im majoring in pastry arts. im going to save this entry
cakecrumbs 5th-Nov-2012 02:34 am (UTC)
Hot ass metal skewer is literally the best description ever. That pretty much it.
magedragonfire 4th-Nov-2012 06:00 pm (UTC)
Puff pastry really isn't nearly as scary as it's made out to be! Although when you start introducing food processors into the mix like some baking 'experts' trumpet, it does get pretty messy. :P
cakecrumbs 5th-Nov-2012 02:35 am (UTC)
I am dying for a food processor haha. The last, like, 7 things I've baked required rubbing the butter into the flour. It is my most hated thing in baking ever. I'd love a short cut.
magedragonfire 5th-Nov-2012 03:50 am (UTC)
Don't even do the food processor! :D If you've got a good mixer, that works just as well. I tried puff pastry with my food processor all of once, and dismissed it as a total pain in the ass - but after we did it at pastry school in the mixers there, I tried it again at home, and my KitchenAid (with the dough hook for the dough part and the paddle for the butter/flour) handled it beautifully.
cakecrumbs 5th-Nov-2012 03:54 am (UTC)
I don't have a good mixer, either. Ack. That's good to know for future reference, though. One day I will finish studying and have a job and money and will buy a decent mixer. xDD
miss_sarac 4th-Nov-2012 06:28 pm (UTC)
lovely lovely lovely and oh so delicious looking!

A question though: what is custard powder?
cakecrumbs 5th-Nov-2012 02:57 am (UTC)
It's primarily made up of milk powder and thickeners (like corn flour) that you mix with milk to make custard. I've heard it's not overly common in the US (I think you have a brand called Birds?) but it's really common in Aus and UK recipes.
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