Saturday, October 27, 2012

Daring to do it: Mille Feuille

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!
I happen to love Suz.  She is a fun person, or at least she has seemed so in all of my Daring Kitchen experiences.  So I knew that her challenge this month was going to be a fun one.  But it was also somewhat daunting.  Puff pastry?  Wow... Not only have I never made puff pastry from scratch before, I am not sure I have actually worked with it at all...!  But it is something I have wanted to try, and this was a great opportunity.  It was still nerve-wracking, though.  Suz provided us with a great recipe which other Daring Bakers were having good luck with.  But one of the key components of puff pastry dough is the beurrage - butter.  And I don't bake with butter.  I use margarine.  Which other Bakers were expressing concern about.  So I hesitated.  Finally, with only a couple of days left before the posting date, I decided to just go for it.
The dough came together beautifully, and was silky to work with.  The "margarrage" was then put into place:
and wrapped up tight:
Then comes the rolling and turning to make a laminated dough.  Fold, fold, roll, turn, repeat:
Once the dough was resting comfortably in the refrigerator it was time to decide on the filling.  Part of me wanted to try something really different.  But most of me knew that I wasn't going to come up with anything too interesting based on what was available in the kitchen, so I went with the traditional vanilla pastry cream:
But I still wanted to do something different.  So I added in some raspberries and black berries.  Yum:
Time to bake the pastry.  Scary.  The easy part is to roll out the dough:
Then the dough is cut into three hopefully equal pieces and baked on greaseproof (wax) paper.  But before it goes into the oven it is covered with more wax paper and weighted down:
Partway through baking the top sheet and weight comes off of the pastry.  Some of the pastry came off with the paper for me, though. Oops:
Thankfully, that was the worst of it.  I was rewarded with a beautifully puffed and layered pastry when all was done:
Assembly time.  Pastry on the bottom.  A layer of cream.  Another sheet of pastry.  More cream.  Another sheet of pastry on top:
Ok.  Now to decorate.  First, a layer of royal icing.  Ok, no problem there.  Then the given recipe called for using piped melted chocolate to make lines.  I decided to make a coulis of the same black- and raspberries from the inside.  It is the piping that failed me.  True, I was using a sandwich baggie as a piping bag, but it was still kind of sad:
And messy.  Don't forget messy!  Finally a toothpick is dragged through the lines to make a pretty pattern:
Maybe not the most attractive thing in its whole state...  but cut up into pieces:
Hooray!  I was very proud.  My husband was impressed with the look, and was so happy with the taste he requested that I make it again.  The next day...  Sorry, Hubby, you'll have to deal with the (few) leftovers until I have the chance to make this again...!
Suz, this was great.  You got me to tackle something I had been dragging my feet on, and you showed me how easy and worthwhile it is! I can't wait to make more puff pastry and use it in lots of different ways!  (But, of course, to make more mille feuille for the hubby!)
Please take a look here to see the amazing, and much more attractively presented!, creations made by my fellow Daring Bakers!


  1. Once again, Ruth, you were brave and completed the challenge successfully, always an added challenge for your food restrictions. The end result was amazing, and the berry coulis was an amazing idea, added color and yumminess to your mille feuille. A fantastic job on the challenge! Thanks for your lovely comment on mine :)

  2. I agree - this one was intimidating, but in the end I felt like I had managed to pull of something special.
    I was too nervous to change this one up at all - I like your berry components and margaragge....

  3. The addition of berries made your millefeuille extra special. Great job!

  4. The red pattern on top looks stunning Ruth. Congrats on tackling your fear of puff pastry - it turned out great!

  5. Puff pastry and berries, yummy. Great job on the challenge!

  6. Hi Ruth - that was a good idea to use the couli on the top - it looked great finished - the finished results are all so mouthwatering and that pastry recipe is a keeper - glad it worked so well with margarine. Here in New Zealand the general rule is that you can usually substitute margarine for butter in most recipes without major disaster :)

  7. Thank you so much, Ruth! What a lovely thing to say. :') I'm so glad you were able to adapt the pastry recipe successfully. As someone who rarely needs to adapt recipes myself, I'm so impressed by people who do. I imagine it takes both skill and a leap of faith, and it certainly paid off - your mille feuille is beautiful! I love that deep red coulis decoration so much, and the jammy berries peeking out the side make the whole thing just so appetising! I'm so happy you enjoyed the challenge. :)

    p.s. Hee, "margarrage" ! I love that.

  8. I love the red coulis topping with the berries filling, sounds great to me!

  9. Mmmm, raspberries and cream sound delectable! I love the closeup of your baked pastry, too--flaky layers! I can just imagine how wonderful that tastes!

  10. I can't believe this came out so nice using margarine- who knew?? Your raspberry mille-feuille looks mouthwatering!