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!
The nail-biting wait to know what my first challenge would be was over, so Mille Feuille it would have to be! Mille Feuille is French for 'a thousand leaves' denoting the layers of puff pastry. Mille Feuille is a popular French patisserie treat, the traditional, classic version being layers of puff pastry filled with vanilla pastry cream. These are also known as Napoleons, custard slice or vanilla slice. Its often topped with royal icing and decorative chocolate squiggles, but Suz gave liberty with the fillings, sweet or even savory! Boy! Was I glad I had already made puff pastry earlier, albeit rough puff pastry!
I had made the puff pastry long back as I wanted to post it on time, excited like a kid waiting to show off his latest drawing! But I think the forces above wanted my first challenge to be memorable in some way at least. I did something to change the settings in my camera, could have cried seeing the pictures, Picasa refused to stop throwing errors at me, lost the internet for some time...Distress calls to Lubna and thanks to her, got the camera working better! Baked some more pastry, made some more orange curd, took pictures again!Sigh!
Finally, my post comes in late, the post date being on 27th of the month, but thankfully the Daring bakers have a grace period for posting! So here come my Mille Fuilles, flaky puff pastry layered with creamy whipped orange curd. Delicious!!
Funnily, though I have come across lemon curd recipes a good number of times, I have never attempted to make it, putt off by the name I guess! But it was creamy and nice, zesty of course, a versatile filling you could use for cookies, trifles, tarts and cakes among others! I have wicked plans to try all of these!
I have used Alice Medrich's Mock Puff pastry, recipe here . The orange curd is adapted from Dorie Greenspan's recipe. I have used orange juice and some zest in place of the lemon juice and reduced the quantity of sugar.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups ( I got a little more)
Sugar - 1 cup / 200 grams ( will use lesser next time, original recipe has 1 1/4 cups because of tart lemon juice)
Unsalted butter - 6 tablespoons/ 3 oz/ 85 grams, cut into 6 pieces
Egg - 1 large / 48 grams without shell
Egg yolks -6 large - 108 grams
Freshly squeezed juice of 4 oranges ( recipes uses lemons) / I used 180 ml
2 teaspoons orange zest, freshly grated( I added this)
Suspend a heat proof strainer over a medium sized bowl ( about 3 cup capacity). Put all the ingredients in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan (with high sides to prevent splashing) and stir with a heatproof spatula to moisten the sugar. (The mixture looked quite watery at this point, but it does thicken, so patience, don't hurry it) Put the pan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the butter melts and the mixture thickens like custard, 4 to 6 minutes.( I started with a spatula and switched to a whisk later) Keep your eyes on the pan because the curd can curdle quickly. It is cooked enough when you can run your finger along the spatula the curd doesn’t run into the track you’ve created. At this point the temperature on my instant read thermometer registered 175 F. Don’t worry if the curd looks thin at this point – it will thicken more as it cools. Remove the pan from the heat ( I strained it)and scrape the curd into a heatproof jar or bowl. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the curd to create an airtight seal and cool to room temperature. The curd thickens with refrigeration, mine was much thicker after refrigerating over night.
To make the Mille Fuilles with whipped orange curd. The amounts of each component depends on the quantity you need to make. I would say half recipe puff pastry, 1/2 cup of orange curd and 1 cup of whipped cream to make about 4-5 of these. Make more of each to be safer. Leftovers of any component are still delicious undoubtedly!
You will need :
Mock Puff pastry (or real puff pastry)
Orange Curd (recipe above)
A few streaks of golden yellow gel food coloring
For the puff pastry : I normally cut the 10'' square of mock puff pastry (the entire recipe) into quarters and then use. I have taken the pastry out of the refrigerator and kept it at room temperature for about 10 minutes to slightly soften it. (If you have frozen it, thaw overnight in the fridge then proceed.) I think putting more pressure to roll the cold pastry will compress the layers. Do not leave at room temperature for longer or the butter will ooze as you roll. Line your baking tray with parchment neatly, you will place the cut rectangles on this. I have rolled the quarter about 3mm thick and 9'' square. Then cut into 2-2.5'' wide , about --rectangles . Dock all over the pastry with a fork or the pastry will puff up more. Refrigerate, covered (on the tray) again for about 1/2 an hour to firm up the butter again, the cold butter creates the layers. In the meantime pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C / 350 degree F. Bake for 25-30 minutes or till crisp and golden. Cool to room temperature.
For the Whipped orange curd: I have folded in 1/4 cup orange curd and color into a cup of whipped cream. If you use more orange curd, the mixture may be runny and you may not be able to pipe. Fill the cream into a disposable piping bag fitted with a tip. Snip the tip to expose the nozzle. Place one rectangle each of the baked pastry on your serving platter. Pipe the cream. Place another rectangle of pastry, pipe the cream, top with another rectangle of pastry.
Garnish as desired and serve. We ate this immediately and loved it! Crispy, flaky pastry and smooth zesty cream, what's not to like?
Thanks Suz for this wonderful first DB challenge, I enjoyed doing it!