Vanilla mille-feuille

Add a touch of class to your afternoon tea tray with this Parisian classic, a recipe perfected by Claridge's
Vanilla mille-feuille
  • Rating:
  • Serves: makes about 20
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes plus chilling
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

For the pastry cream

  • 250 ml full fat milk
  • 1/4 vanilla pods, seeds removed
  • 60 g egg yolks
  • 62 g caster sugar
  • 10 g custard powder
  • 15 g cornflour
  • 25 g butter

For the vanilla cream

  • 450 g pastry cream, (see above)
  • 50 g whipping cream, whipped

For the pastry

  • sheet butter puff pastry
  • icing sugar, for dusting
  • handful crepe dentelle biscuits, crushed

Tips and Suggestions

The cooking and caramelisation of the puff paste is important as this is what gives the cake its depth of flavour.

The use of whipping cream instead of double cream in the vanilla filling cream gives a much lighter finish to something that is very rich.

Be aware that a lot of smoke is produced from the caramel sugar and could set off domestic smoke alarms.

If you dont have crepe dentelle biscuits, use flaked almonds instead.

Method

1. For the pastry cream: in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, boil the milk, vanilla pod and vanilla seeds together.

2. In a separate bowl, mix the yolks, sugar, custard powder and corn flour together. Add 1/3 of the boiling milk mix into the yolk bowl and whisk together.

3. Remove the vanilla pod from the milk pan. Re-boil the remaining milk and pour the yolk mix into it. Whisk quickly and constantly until it re-boils. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter.

4. Place the pastry cream into a container and cover with cling film. Make sure the film touches the surface to prevent a skin forming.

5. For the vanilla cream: using a whisk, beat the pastry cream until smooth then gently fold in the whipped cream.

6. For the caramelised puff pastry: roll the pastry to 1.5 mm thick and poke all over with a fork. Place the pastry on a baking tray lined with silicone paper, then gently place another piece of silicone paper on top and cover with a flat tray.

7. With the paper and tray still on top, bake the pastry in the oven at 190C/170C fan/gas 5 according to the packet instructions. When cooked, remove from the oven then turn the heat up to 240C/220C fan/ gas 9.

8. Remove the extra tray and silicone paper, identify the smoothest side of the pastry and dust that side liberally with icing sugar. Place back in the very hot oven and allow the icing sugar to caramelise for a few minutes until golden.

9. Once removed from the oven, allow the cooked pastry to cool a little before cutting it into three equal-sized strips. When completely cold, pipe half of the cream on top of one pastry layer. Place the second layer of puff pastry on top, then pipe over the remaining cream and top with the final layer of pastry. Press down firmly.

10. Using a palette knife, spread the sides of the mille-feuille with the cream that has oozed out during the previous steps. Cover the sides with crushed crepe dentelle biscuits and press in to create a flat finish.

11. Freeze the mille-feuille until partially frozen, then transfer to the fridge until needed. Dust lightly with icing sugar to serve.

Recipe provided by Claridge's

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