Raspberry Mille-Feuille

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Preparation info

  • Makes

    one

    9 inch 23 cm ) round pastry, 12 servings
    • Difficulty

      Easy

Appears in

The Modern Baker

The Modern Baker

By Nick Malgieri

Published 2008

  • About

This is one of the most spectacular desserts you can possible serve: layers of fragile, buttery puff pastry filled with pastry cream, raspberries, and whipped cream. Even though it has several components, it isn’t particularly difficult to make. Advance preparation is the key here: Prepare the dough several days ahead (or cheat and use prepared dough). The pastry cream may be prepared two days before, and the layers themselves may be rolled out and placed on the pans the day before—they’ll actually be more crisp and delicate for having had an overnight rest in the refrigerator. On the day you intend to serve the mille-feuille, simply bake the layers, whip some cream, and assemble it. If kept in a cool place, the assembled mille-feuille will remain in excellent condition for several hours.

Ingredients

    Pastry Cream

  • 1 cup milk
  • cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    Filling and Finishing

  • 2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kirsch or framboise (raspberry eau-de-vie)
  • Two ½-pint baskets (2 cups total) fresh raspberries Confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling

Method

  1. To make the pastry cream, combine ¾ cup milk and the sugar in a small saucepan and place over low heat. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining ¼ cup milk with the cornstarch. Whisk in the egg yolks.
  2. When the milk boils, whisk about ⅓ of it into the cornstarch mixture. Return the milk to a boil, and, beginning to whisk beforehand, pour the cornstarch mixture into the pan, whisking constantly. Continue whisking until the cream thickens and comes to a full boil, 10 to 15 seconds. Off the heat, whisk in the butter and vanilla. Scrape the cream into a glass or stainless-steel bowl and press plastic wrap against the surface. Refrigerate the pastry cream until it is completely cold or up to 24 hours before using.
  3. When you are ready to assemble the mille-feuille, trim the layers first. Slide one of the baked puff pastry layers onto a cutting board and use a 9- inch (23-cm) round cake cardboard to cut a 9- inch (23-cm) disk from one side of the layer, gently holding the cardboard against the dough so as not to shatter it, and cutting with the point of a small, sharp paring knife. Move the cardboard to the far end of the puff pastry and position it so that the end of the layer lines up with the diameter of the cardboard; cut a semicircle from that side of the layer. Repeat with the second puff pastry so that you have 2 round 9- inch (23-cm) layers and 2 semicircles that will make one more 9- inch (23-cm) layer (it’s used as the middle layer). Crush the scraps and save them.
  4. For the filling, whip the cream with the sugar and kirsch and fold about ¼ of it into the cooled pastry cream. Place a dab of the pastry cream on a 9- inch (23-cm) cake cardboard and press one of the round layers against it. Spread with half the pastry cream, using a medium offset metal spatula. Evenly scatter half of the berries over the cream. Top with half the whipped cream, spreading it smooth and evenly. Top the cream with the 2 semicircles of puff pastry, reassembled to form a whole circle, and repeat layering the pastry cream, berries, and whipped cream. Put the top layer in place and use a cardboard to gently press the layers together.
  5. Use the spatula to smooth the sides of the mille-feuille with oozing filling. Use the palm of your hand to press the crushed scraps all around the sides. Before serving, dust the top with confectioners’ sugar.

Storage

Keep the mille-feuille at a cool room temperature on the day it is assembled. Wrap and refrigerate leftovers and bring them to room temperature before serving.

Serving

Cut the mille-feuille into wedges. Use a sharp serrated knife and hold it perpendicular to the top. Saw back and forth to cut through the top layer only. Continue until you have cut the top into 12 wedges. Then, holding the knife at a 45-degree angle, cut through from one side to the other—this method helps prevent the filling from squishing out.

Variations

Strawberry Mille-Feuille: Replace the raspberries with 1 pint of strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and sliced

Plain Mille-Feuiille: Omit the berries. Reduce the heavy cream to ½ cup and fold all of it into the pastry cream, so there is only pastry cream between the layers.