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.

Chocolate-glazed Slices

Earn the title of master pastry chef with these fancy, chocolate-topped delicacies. Recipe makes 12 slices.


3 sheets frozen ready-rolled butter puff pastry (10 x 10 inch/25 x 25 cm), thawed
2 cups milk
3 teaspoons powdered gelatin
5 teaspoons cornflour
1/4 cup caster sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring essence
1/4 pint (150 ml) fresh or thickened cream
6 ounces (185 g) dark cooking chocolate, broken into pieces
12 walnut halves
Fresh strawberries, to serve


1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Sprinkle 3 large baking trays with cold water.
2. Lay the pastry sheets on a lightly floured work surface. Cut each square sheet down the center; trim the outer long edges, then cut each rectangle across into six equal pieces to give a total of 36 pieces. Place on the baking trays and prick well with a fine fork.
3. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked. Cool on a wire rack.
4. For the filling, put 1/3 cup milk into a small heatproof bowl; sprinkle the gelatin over and leave to soak. Dissolve in a hot-water bath; leave until lukewarm.
5. Blend the cornflour and sugar smoothly with 1/4 cup milk in a mixing bowl, then stir in the remaining milk.
6. Put the cornflour mixture in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and beat in the eggs. Return to a low heat and stir constantly until thick. Pour into the mixing bowl; cool until lukewarm.
7. Quickly stir in the gelatin mixture and vanilla. Then cover and chill until almost at setting point.
8. Meanwhile, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Fold into the filling mixture until smooth. Chill until thick enough to fill the pastries.
9. Arrange the pastry in stacks of three. Sandwich the pastry layers together with the filling, dividing evenly.
10. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Spread over the top of each pastry slice and top with a walnut half. Serve accompanied with strawberries.