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.



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)


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.

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