Raspberry Mille-Feuille with Chantilly Crème

Happy Easter, everyone!  Regardless of whether you actually celebrate Easter religiously or not (or if you’re just a heathen like me 😉 ), you just can’t avoid the images of Easter include Easter eggs, the Easter bunny, and spring flowers.  For me, Easter means a four-day break from school, and cheap chocolate the Tuesday after.  Most people have gone home to their families, so I’m stuck here in Saarbrücken with nothing to do but study. Riveting, right?

So I’m bored enough to actually bring out my oven (I’m finally back in Germany after a wonderful trip back home to Vancouver) and *gasp* bake something. I know. Janet doesn’t bake. And when she does, it usually turns into a disaster. But this is a simple recipe with bright colours and *almost* fool-proof baking – a perfect entertaining recipe to wow your friends/roommates with using your dessert-making, plating, and French skills (of course, you could also eat it by yourself…but I was a good girl and shared with Ronald today).

I’ve recently acquired an interest in berry-based desserts – spring is coming, berries photograph really well, and…yes. Mille-feuille literally translates into “thousand sheets” in French, a name that comes from the flaky puff pastry layers. However, the real star is the filling – who can resist berries and crème?

The amount of ingredients is approximate, and really depends on how big a mille-feuille you make, how you arrange the raspberries and crème, etc. I arranged them in rows, but you can also put a raspberries along the edge and fill the centre with crème, or pile the raspberries onto a layer of crème. Be creative! I would buy extra raspberries, just in case – you can always use the extras for garnish (or sneak a few for ‘quality control purposes’).

Raspberry Mille-Feuille with Chantilly Crème

Materials and Methods

  • 1 small package raspberries
  • 200g whipping cream
  • a few drops vanilla extract
  • 4 Tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1/2 package puff pastry/Blätterteig
  • 1 package whipped cream stiffner/Sahnesteif (optional)
  • You might also need: a hand mixer and a piping bag
  1. Cut enough puff pastry to make the mille-feuille. Place on waxed paper and stab thoroughly with a fork to prevent puffing of the top layers.
  2. In an oven set to approximately 200C, bake puff pastry sheet until golden. Remove and set aside to cool.
  3. Pour whipping cream, stiffner, vanilla extract, and sugar into a bowl and whip until stiff peaks form.
  4. Cut puff pastry into three equally-sized layers, and cut off the top layer if necessary (if it has bulged up during baking). When cutting puff pastry, make sure to use a serrated knife and NEVER PUSH DOWN. The weight of the knife itself will be enough to cut neatly through the layers. Otherwise, you will end up with unsightly cracked pastry…
  5. Put the first layer on a plate, pipe crème and add raspberries, put the next layer on, and repeat.
  6. Serve immediately or keep cool in refrigerator (the crème will hold better if you’ve added stiffner).

Discussion

I added too much extract, and now my apartment smells like butter-vanilla!  Other than that, I think this dessert actually turned out alright. While the creme does keep if you’ve added stiffener, it’s best to assemble it just before eating – the pastry layers will still be crisp, and it makes a nice foil to the soft creme and berries.

I tried to make a sugar garnish à-la-David (boil sugar and water until the sugar hardens when dropped into cold water), but also added a raspberry into the sugar mixture as it was boiling to make it red. I also stacked a few fresh raspberries on the side – something I’ve noticed when photographing food is that the pros often include a small amount of the raw ingredients in the picture. I think it makes it look more rustic.

You can use any berry (or really any ingredient – you could even try a savoury mille-feuille with cheese and leeks) for this dessert.  The brilliant thing is that it is so simple to modify, since there aren’t any real “baking” steps (heating up premade puff pastry isn’t difficult…though if you’re making the pastry from scratch, that’s pretty hardcore.  But this is a ‘college-lifestyle’ kind of blog, so there’s none of that here, at least not from me).  It’s easily adjustable for both flavour, content, and size – definitely my kind of recipe!

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