Friday, January 14, 2011

Mille-Feuilles, Vanilla Slices, Napoleans, Or Whatever The hell They Call Them Where YOU Live

Yes, I made them for Danny, as promised. Puff paste really isn't that difficult, but it is time consuming. Honestly, it took a few years of making it regularly to feel comfortable rolling it out without worry of the butter breaking through, doing the turns wrong, etc. That said, even slightly imperfect puff paste is still pretty terrific, provided you like butter (I'm assuming you do, if you're at this blog).

I had extra trimmings which I made into palmiers. That was a mistake-because they look so innocent, you keep nibbling away at them through the day-or I do anyway. They're scraps for heavens can't become obese eating scraps...usually. Anyway, be warned that those scraps add up particularly when doused in sugar.

The recipe for puff paste I used HERE is my favourite, though sometimes I exchange 1 cup of high gluten bread flour for AP depending on what I'm doing. I did that today.

To Bake:

Roll puff paste to 1/8 inch thickness and cut into rectangles. Place on buttered baking sheets and bake at 450 degrees F. for about 12 minutes. Remove from oven, and with a thin knife, carefully split them. If they are still undone in the centre, return them to the oven for a few minutes. Cool on rack.

The filling is also pretty straightforward. I had some tinned apricots in syrup left from a few evenings ago, so I boiled them down to a jam, sieved them through fine mesh and used it for one layer of the dessert. The pastry cream recipe is as follows:

2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons flour (I used Wondra for this because it mixes easier)
2/3 cup scalded whole milk
1/2 teaspoon gelatin softened in 4 teaspoons water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (yeah, that's a lot-adjust to your taste)
1/3 cup heavy cream, whipped

In a bowl, beat the sugar and egg yolks until light. Beat in the flour. Meanwhile, have milk heating. Slowly beat the milk into the eggs in stream and return everything to the pan you used for heating the milk and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking. Cook 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat, whisk in the softened gelatin, and vanilla. Cover with waxed paper and chill. When cold, fold in the beaten whipped cream.

To assemble:

Make one layer jam, and one layer pastry cream. For the top, either dust with icing sugar, or make a glaze. I can't decorate for my life, but these look OK haphazard decorating aside. At the last, I used the remaining glaze with some cocoa powder beaten in for the contrast. I probably should have been neater, but I'm not that sort of blogger.

I wonder what the kid will dare me to bake next?

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