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Millefeuille

Millefeuille is a traditional French pastry. I believe the English speaking world knows it as a Napoleon. Traditionally, a millefeuille consists of three layers of puff pastry and in between those layers, two layers of pastry cream. There are many variations of the traditional one with fruits, chocolate, caramel or anything really. I enjoy eating millefeuille, I like the crisp buttery layers of puff pastry in combination with the cream. yummm. The traditional way of making this pastry takes a lot of time, here is a quick and simple version for you!

I still have to try the 2000 feuilles of Pierre Hermé. It looks so yummy but every time I look at it thinking: “Do I really want to spend ~€7 ($10) on a millefeuille with a day-worth of calories? Nah, I shouldn’t eat it today. Maybe when I’m with someone I can share it with. It is too much. Ok not today.” One day..

Oh and the Dutch have a version of millefeuille too, it is called tompouce. It consists of only two layers of puff pastry and a really thick layer of cream in between those two layers. I’m not a big fan of the Dutch version, the cream is mostly whipped cream with sugar and I maybe a bit of pastry cream mixed in. The ratio of cream and puff pastry is off for me too, it seems like too much cream. But when you are visiting The Netherlands, don’t hesitate to try. It is most definitely not Pierre Hermé priced, but only €0,75!! That’s right, you can almost buy 10 Dutch millefeuille instead of one superb French one. gheheh

This is the Dutch millefeuille, called tompouce from HEMA (photo credits: hema.nl)

Ok back to the recipe. You can make your own puff pastry… But, you don’t have to. I didn’t this time. Of course you can bake your puff pastry the traditional way, in the oven… But, you can do it faster!!! Oh yeah, something you didn’t expect… Bake it in a panini grill! This takes roughly 3 minutes to bake and works incredibly good. Normally you would bake the puff pastry with another tray on top so it will not puff up too much. Baking it in the grill, automatically prevents the dough from puffing up which makes it very applicable for millefeuille.

So the puff pastry I used is all butter puff pastry I bought in the supermarket. If I’m not going to make it myself, I will make sure to buy the butter puff pastry. The puff pastry here comes in small squares, I know in other countries they sell rolls or circles. For the millefeuille rectangles are the better option.

The pastry cream I made was vanilla pastry cream. You can use the same recipe without the vanilla bean, add some vanilla extract or maybe another flavor if you’d like. You could add some raspberries in between the layers for some variation too.

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You will need:

  • Panini/contact grill
  • Puff pastry dough, homemade or store bought
  • icing sugar

For the vanilla pastry cream you will need:

  • 500 ml full fat milk
  • 50g whole egg
  • 30g yolk
  • 60g sugar
  • 25g all purpose flour
  • 25g custard powder, if you don’t have this substitute with 20g of cornstarch
  • 1 vanilla pod (or vanilla extract)

To make the vanilla pastry cream:

  1. Split the vanilla bean and remove the seeds. Place the empty bean, the seeds and the milk in a medium sized pot and bring to boil.
  2. Meanwhile in a bowl, whisk the egg, egg yolk and sugar with a whisk until slightly lighter in color. Add the flour and custard powder and whisk again.
  3. Pour the hot milk over the egg mixture while whisking. Once combined, return to the pot and over low-medium heat and keep whisking constantly! Bring it to a boil and boil it for 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Remove the vanilla pod. Pour the cream into a shallow dish and cover with plastic wrap. The plastic has to touch the cream to prevent a dry skin from forming.
  5. Let the cream cool completely in the fridge.

To bake the puff pastry:

This requires some experimenting with your contact grill. Some get hotter than others so cooking time will vary from grill to grill. You will need 3 layers of caramelized puff pastry for 6 millefeuilles of ~4cm x 12cm. So if it is possible, you could for instance bake 3 times a rectangle of 26cm x 15cm. If you are working with the same squared we have here from Koopmans, you will need 9 squares. Of course you can make a different sizes, I’m just suggesting the size so you know how much this recipe will make.

  1. Place a rectangle (or in my case, two small squares) of puff pastry in your preheated grill and bake until lightly golden. (This step takes 2:30 min in my Tefal grill)
  2. Sift a layer of icing sugar on both sides and let this caramelize by closing the grill again for another 10-20 seconds.
  3. Repeat step 2 again and remove the puff pastry from the grill and place on a cooling rack.
  4. Repeat all steps to make enough caramelized puff pastry for 6 millefeuilles.

To assemble:

  1. Cut the puff pastry with a serrated knife to the right size. You will need 6 x 3 = 24 rectangles of the same size.
  2. Remove the pastry cream from the dish and whisk it in a bowl to make it a smooth cream.
  3. Using a piping bag, pipe cream on the base puff pastry and stack another puff pastry on top. Pipe cream on the second layer too.
  4. To finish, decorate the top puff pastry with icing sugar and place it on top.
  5. Serve and BON APPÉTIT!!!

If you are not going to eat it right away, place it in the fridge. The caramel will work as a protective layer for moisture, but I woud still suggest you eat it as soon as possible to enjoy it to the max. :p

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