Saturday, 27 October 2012

Mille - Feuille

Remember that funny drunk, Dionysus? The one who later moved to Rome with that new girl, Sabina, and changed his name to Bacchus in order to avoid paying his godly taxes? The one who had all those crazy groupies following him around and who later became ardent feminists and founded the first AA circles? Well this story is not about that. It's also not about the frog and the ox. Neither is it about the raven and the fox. Nor about the ant and the grasshopper. Rather, it is similar to the story about the bear and the gardener, except in every single detail.
One day, Divine Cherry and Celestial Dragon were having a walk through late Middle-Ages Paris. They had booked their ticket (literally) quite some time in advance in the early 20th century through a time travel agency, and were enjoying a romantic getaway weekend. As they were walking over a rickety construction that would come to be known as Pont Puant (it was mercifully destroyed forever in a purging fire), they stopped in front of a window--windows were namely still rare at the time. The shop had a number of leaves on display. It was one of those quirky and nostalgic ancient shops that sell everything you will never need but have always wanted. This one particularly was specialised in leaves. It sold all kinds of leaves, from maple tree leaves to chestnut tree leaves passing by acorn tree leaves. They also came in different colours. Needless to say, the shop made the most money in autumn. As it so happened, Celestial Dragon was eating a cream. Ice was not portable yet, so he had to do with just the cream. Unfortunately, cream is inherently runny, and before Celestial Dragon's avid tongue, it ran quite quickly indeed. Fortunately, cream is also inherently clumsy: it didn't run very far. Instead, it fell onto the leaves (they had entered the shop in pursuit of the cream). And that gave Celestial Dragon a Silly Idea: "how about we stash a thousand leaves one on top of the other and separate them with delicious cream?" "Don't be daft," said Divine Cherry, "leaves taste bitter. Instead, I will use caramel-like pastry sheets that look just like leaves."
And so it was that the Mille Feuille was born. That old quirky shop later moved away from the Pont Puant into the Chaussée des Saveurs and became one of the most renowned pâtisseries in Paris. After the original owner had mysteriously vanished under what the newspapers termed as a "stampede of cream", a proper pâtissier took over the quaint shop and made lots of money. The royalties, however, to this day still go to Celestial Dragon and Divine Cherry.

Blog-checking lines: Our October 2012 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Suz of Serenely Full. Suz challenged us to not only tackle buttery and flaky puff pastry, but then take it step further and create a sinfully delicious Mille Feuille dessert with it!

Mille Feuille:
Puff Pastry - from a recipe by C. Felder
-550g flour
-26,5 cl water
-85g molten butter
-10g salt
-335g single-piece butter
Italian Style Crème Chantilly
-400g crème pâtissière, recipe here
-800g fresh cream
-small zest of candied orange

Quickly mix, in a bowl, the flour, the water, the 85g of molten butter and the salt. Cover the dough with clig film and place it to rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
With a rolling pin squash the butter until about 1cm thin. Give it a regular square shape. Put it back in the fridge.
Roll out the dough in a 1cm thin square shape and place the butter in its centre like so:

Fold the four corners of the dough over the butter. Then, with a rolling pin, roll out the dough in one direction only so as to get a 8-9mm thin rectangle. Then, fold that rectangle in three by overlapping the dough (as shown in picture).

1.Roll out the dough in a 8-9mm thin rectnagle
2.Fold the rectangle in three
3. The dough is folded as a "book".

 Roll the dough out vertically and holding it as shown in picture 3. Fold in three again and put it to rest in the fridge for 30mins. Repeat this sequence (fold-rest) another three times. Then leave the dough to rest in the fridge for 2 hours. Afterwards, it'll be ready for use.

Roll out the dough in a rectangle 25 x 75cm in size, then cut it in three 25 x 25cm squares. Cover a baking tray with baking paper. On it, put one of the dough squares. Sprinkle it with caster sugar and lightly pierce some holes in it using a fork. Place another layer of baking paper on the dough, then place a grill on top of it so as to prevent the dough form rising too much during baking.

Bake in a preheated oven at 220°C for 12 mins (one dough square at the time). Let them cool, then apply the crème chantilly.

Italian style Crème Chantilly
Prepare the crème pâtissière the day before. Make it dense and put it to rest in the fridge overnight. Make sure it is as smooth as possible, dense, and without any residue clumps in it (should you have some, try to get rid of them with an electric whip). The day after, whip up the cream rather densely (but not too much) and incorporate it into the crème pâtissière.

Using a piping bag, cover the first of your dough squares with little mounds of crème chantilly. Cover the entire surface of the square. Place small pieces of candied orange between the mounds. Place the second dough square on the first and repeat the action. Place the last square on top and sprinkle it with icing sugar. Voilà.

Pasta sfoglia  - da una ricetta di C. Felder
- 500 g farina
- 26,5 cl acqua
- 85 g burro fuso
- 10 g sale
- 335g burro in un unico pezzo
Crema Chantilly all'italiana
- 400 g di crema pasticcera, la ricetta la trovate qui
- 800 g panna fresca
- scorzetta di arancia candita

Mescolate velocemente in una ciotola la farina insieme all'acqua, gli 85 g di burro fuso e il sale.  Mettete l'impasto a riposare in frigo, coperto da pellicola per 2 ore almeno.
Con un mattarello schiacciate il burro a un centimetro di spessore, dando una forma quadrata regolare. Riponetelo in frigo.  Stendete l'impasto in un quadrato di un centimetro di spessore e appoggiate il burro in centro, così:

Piegate i quattro angoli di impasto sopra il burro e poi con il mattarello, stendete l'impasto in una direzione sola in modo da ottenere un lungo rettangolo, spesso 8-9mm. Poi piegate il rettangolo in tre, ripiegando la pasta su se stessa come in foto:
1.Stendere l'impasto in un rettangolo spesso 8-9mm.
2. Piegare in tre la pasta
3. La pasta è piegata a "libro"

Stendete di nuovo la pasta in senso verticale tenendo la pasta come in foto 3.  Piegate in tre di nuovo e mettete la pasta in frigo per 30 minuti. Ripetete la sequenza pieghe-riposo in frigorifero altre 3 volte. Lasciate riposare in frigo per 2 ore e poi l'impasto è pronto per essere usato.

Stendete l'impasto in un rettangolo di 25 x75 cm e poi tagliatelo in 3 quadrati di 25x25cm.  Poggiate un quadrato di impasto su una teglia coperta da carta forno, cospargete il quadrato di zucchero semolato e bucherellatelo con i rebbi di una forchetta. Poggiate un altro foglio di carta forno sulla superficie dell'impasto e appoggiate una griglia sopra, in modo che non gonfi troppo durante la cottura.

Cuocete in forno caldo a 220°C per 12 minuti circa un quadrato alla volta. Fate raffreddare i tre quadrati e farciteli con la crema Chantilly.

Crema Chantilly all'italiana:
Preparate la crema pasticcera alla vigilia, fatela piuttosto densa e mettetela a riposare in frigo la notte. La crema dev'essere molto liscia, densa e senza grumi (eventualmente rompeteli con una frusta elettrica). L'indomani, montate la panna piuttosto densa e incorporatela alla crema.

Prendete il primo quadrato e formate ciuffetti di crema aiutandovi con la sac a poche in modo da ricoprire l'intera superficie.  Ponete tra i ciuffetti dei pezzetti di arancia confit. Poggiate sulla crema il secondo quadrato e ripetete l'operazione. Concludete poggiando l'ultimo quadrato e spolverizzando con zucchero a velo.


  1. Gorgeous! The Italian creme chantilly with candied orange sounds fantastic.

    1. Thank you Korena...I'll soon post the recipes for candied ornage zest, which i personally made...

  2. Wow, I'm impressed with all the detailed step by step and your gorgeous presentation. Congrats!

    1. Thank you Renata! i forgot to take pictures of the first steps...but I hope the drawing helps! ;)

    2. The same happened to me when we made croissants for the DBs and I also had to make drawings :)) It sure helps a ton!
      Thanks for visiting mine!

  3. Your mille feuille looks and sounds yummy! :)

  4. Your mille feuille is so beautiful & I definitely plan to try the caramelised pastry one day - that looks fantastic! Candied orange is such a delicious addition too. I must pop back and see how you made it. :)

    Love the story!

    1. Thank you Suz! It was a long time I wanted to make a mille feuille and your challenge gave me the chance!! :)

  5. So beautiful and amaizing job!! I love your italian creme chantilly with candied orange !
    thanks El Pasticcio for your visit and your nice comment!

  6. I will definitely give this recipe a try. It looks delicious! Thanks for the instructions.