Monday, October 13, 2008
A stylish French pastry whose name literally means 'thousand leaves'. Recipe makes 12 pastries.
3 sheets (10 x 10 inch/25 x 25 cm) frozen ready-rolled puff pastry, thawed
Filling and Icing:
1/4 pint (150 ml) fresh or thickened cream
3 cups icing sugar, sifted
1 drop almond essence
8 teaspoons liquid glucose or golden syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla flavoring essence
1 teaspoon hard white vegetable fat
2 1/2 ounces (75 g) dark cooking chocolate
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Line 3 baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Place the pastry sheets on the baking trays. Cut each pastry sheet in half lengthwise, trim off the outer edges and cut each half across into 6 equal rectangles. Separate the rectangles and prick the pastry well with a fine fork.
2. Bake the pastry for 15-20 minutes, until well risen and golden. Swap the trays halfway through to ensure even baking. Transfer to wire cooling trays to cool completely.
3. For the filling, whip the cream with 1 teaspoon icing sugar until soft peaks form. Stir in the almond essence and chill until required.
4. Stack 3 pastry rectangles, spreading some cream between each layer. Continue until you have 12 pastries, dividing the cream evenly.
5. For the icing, put the remaining icing sugar, glucose, vanilla, white vegetable fat and 6 teaspoons water in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Heat until smooth; remove from heat. Spread the icing over the top of each layered pastry.
6. Break the chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Place over a pan of simmering water until melted. Put the chocolate in a small piping bag fitted with a writing pipe/nozzle. Pipe lines of chocolate over the icing. Make a feather pattern by dragging a fine skewer through the icing, alternating from left to right.
Tip: The Mille-Feuilles may be made with 8 ounces (250 g) homemade puff pastry if preferred. Cut the pastry into three and roll each piece into a 10 x 10 inch/25 x 25 cm rectangle; cut each rectangle into 12 equal rectangles and bake and finish as directed. Glucose is available at health food stores.