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Saturday, Nov 01st

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Raspberry Mille Foglie

Mona Farrugia indulges in a spot of kitchen wizardry which looks stunning and is very easy to make. Well, almost very easy.

 
Raspberry Mille Foglie

Information

Main Ingredient Raspberry
Preparation Time 1 hour
Cooking Time 30 mins
Course Dessert
Recipe Serves 4
Recipe Type CakeDessert
Method

Puff and filo are two of those pastries which are – to put it mildly – difficult to make in a home kitchen but wonderfully available frozen. This means that they have a brilliant wow factor when used in desserts but, when bought ready, can turn out to be superbly easy to use.

In reality, making your own puff pastry is not that difficult, so I am posting a basic recipe here. The trick is in the air and butter: when the fat meets air and heat, the tussle with each other and create that brilliant puffiness, resulting in many layers: mille foglie – a thousand leaves.

During this time of year you can find a lovely selection of summer berries from supermarkets and, if you are lucky, freshly-picked mulberries (tut). If you want to up the luck factor you will be picking them from your own garden or bush. Any red or purple berry, including strawberry, will do for this: just choose one that doesn’t leach a lot of water as it will destroy your cream and consequently, the all-important crispness in the pastry. The traditional way is to use Diplomat Cream so I’m sticking to it.

Instead of cooking the berries as one would normally do, let’s sprinkle them with sugar half an hour before use. This will draw out the juices, effectively ‘cooking’  them without destroying their shape. And whatever you do, do not serve either the cream or the berries straight from the fridge: room temperature means that you can actually taste the beautiful marriage rather than be hit with ‘cold’.

 

Makes 4

 

To make the diplomat cream:

 

250g milk (I prefer to use goat’s milk, which you can find in supermarkets these days, but you can also use a regular full-fat fresh milk)

1 vanilla pod, split lengthways

3 egg yolks

60g caster, unbleached sugar

25g cornflour

25g butter, cut into small cubes

75g fresh or whipping (UHT) cream

 

For the mille foglie and assembly

 

250g puff pastry sheets, ready rolled, preferably to 2mm

2 punnets of raspberries, berries or mulberries. At a stretch, use chopped strawberries

A few pinches of caster sugar

A dusting of icing sugar

 

How:

Preheat the oven to 200C

 

Defrost the pastry in the fridge and open it up on to a baking tray. Leave it to rest in the fridge for 2-3 hours.

Prick the pastry all over with a fork (so that it rises but not too much – otherwise your mille foglie will be too high and everything will topple over)

 

Mark the pastry with a very sharp knife, into 4 X 3 rectangles, therefore 12 in total.

 

Pop the pastry into the oven for 5 minutes. Then turn the temperature down to 180C and bake for another 15-20 minutes until it has turned golden. Cool it.

 

While the pastry is baking and half to an hour before you assemble, place the raspberries in a large plate, sprinkle with the caster sugar and leave to rest until you see the juices come out.

 

Now make the cream: heat the milk with the opened up vanilla pod on a very low heat. Meanwhile beat the yolks, sugar and cornflour in a separate bowl until you have a smooth mixture.

 

When the milk boils (gently!), take the vanilla pod out and scrape out the seeds with a small knife or a teaspoon. Place the seeds in the milk and take out the pod (plonk it in some sugar to make vanilla sugar for another recipe). Take the milk off the heat and very slowly pour it into the egg yolk mixture. If you do this quickly you will end up with scrambled eggs, which we do not want.

 

Pour the smooth mixture back into the pan and on a very, very low heat cook for for around 3 or 4 minutes until you can see the cornflour working and the mix thickening. Take it off the heat and quickly mix in the butter cubes.

 

Pour into a bowl, cover quickly with cling film or a cartouche which you have painted with water (this is so that no skin forms). It should be cold after around 45 minutes. When it is, quickly fold in the cream.

 

Just before you serve this wondrous gorgeousity (not before: you do not want the cream to make your pastry soft), place a rectangle on a large plate, top with a little cream (literally, a thick smear, not too much). Then add some fruit. Top with another layer of pastry, another smear of cream (I hope you realise that you should do it before you place it on the fruit – otherwise you break the lot and make an almighty mess), more fruit, top with the final layer of pastry and give the whole thing a dusting of icing sugar through a sieve.

 

Lovely!

 

 

 

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