Big Cakes: Caramelised Vanilla Millefeuille

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Preparation info

  • Serves

    8

    • Difficulty

      Easy

Appears in

Bake and Decorate

Bake and Decorate

By Fiona Cairns

Published 2011

  • About

This is a very simple, quick cake - using just a few storecupboard ingredients - and produces layers of caramelised flaky puff pastry leaves scattered with roasted nuts and sandwiched with a vanilla toffee cream. Dulce de leche is a wonderful caramel sauce from Argentina; find it in most good supermarkets.

Ingredients

  • 100 g pistachios, hazelnuts or pecan nuts, skinned
  • 375 g bought all-butter puff pastry
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar, plus more to dust
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 300 g dulce de leche
  • seeds from 1 vanilla pod, or 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large star nozzle (optional)
  • 1 nylon piping bag (optional)

    Method

    Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 190°C/400°F/gas mark 6.

    Scatter the nuts on to a baking sheet and roast for 4-5 minutes (it won’t take long as the oven is hot). Watch carefully so they don’t burn. Cool, then chop. Line 2 or 3 baking sheets with baking parchment.

    Roll out the pastry on a surface well dusted with icing sugar to a thickness of about 4mm. You need a large rectangle from which you will cut 3 equal-sized smaller rectangles. Prick each pastry about 6 times with a fork and rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

    Alternatively, if you want a circular cake, cut out 2 × 20cm circles, using cake tins or plates as guides. Take the pastry offcuts, roll them out again and cut a third circle. Place all 3 on the baking sheets, prick with a fork and rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

    When ready to bake, remove the pastry from the refrigerator, sprinkle over the icing sugar and bake until the sugar is melted and bubbling and the pastry is a lovely golden brown; this can take from 12 to 20 minutes. Watch carefully, as a few minutes too long and the pastry will burn. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the sheets for a minute or 2, then peel off the parchment and cool on wire racks. These may be cooked a few hours in advance, though be sure only to add the filling an hour or 2 before serving.

    Whip the cream to soft peaks and stir in 2 tbsp dulce de leche and the vanilla. Place a pastry on to a cake stand or serving plate. Sandwich all 3 layers together, spreading the bottom and the middle layers with dulce de leche, then a layer of toffee cream (piped on or spread with a knife) and a sprinkling of nuts. Finish by dusting the top layer with icing sugar and the last sprinkling of nuts. To serve, cut with a very sharp knife in a gentle sawing action.