Monday, 11 May 2020

Thoroughly modern millefeuile,not tonight Josephine!!!

 Shame about my attempt at signature icing!!!
It’s the white and brown chevron stripes of the fondant glaze that this dessert is most recognized for, but if you’re a beginner, like me or not in the mood for extra work, you can simply dust your mille feuille with powdered sugar, cocoa, or grounded nuts.
A thousand leaves of creamy, crunchy, heavenly delight are what Millefeuille are / is. Caloric suicide others might call it.Whichever floats your boat. It is an irresistible dessert that dates back to the 1600s and is found in patisseries boulangeries and upmarket tearooms worldwide. The name of the dessert translates into “a thousand leaves”, and this light and airy treat has just the right amount of sweetness.The Portuguese are fond of their confections and confectionery shops are very popular.They are wonderfully decadent, usually “sit down” coffee shops with glassed counters containing all sorts of fancy pastries and delicate sweets, and of course mille feuille, also known in English-speaking countries  as a Vanilla Slice or a Napoleon (or as we call it in Portuguese, mil folhas) and you will find there are a number of variations.  But when you come to suggest making your own  at home people balk at the idea ("not tonight,Josephine") Now I know why.Well let me tell you something, you don't need to make your own dough the tutorial told me,when frozen puff pastry sheets work perfectly well.
 The key is keeping the dough flat when baking which is done by 'docking' it, or pricking all over with the tines of a fork. These crispy, buttery sheets are the first step in making your own "Napoleons." Well I thought so anyway.It all sounded good when I embarked on a Portuguese online patisserie class. Always one to share my failures with you, as well as my successes,this is definitely the latter.Without the guidance of Albert Adríã (the other one from el bulli) I will never be a masterchef pâtissier.Patisserie is an art, and to achieve the Paris perfection of "The Picasso of pastry",Pierre Hermé or to acquire the finesse of Cherish Finden takes years of training.

 Admittedly, I cannot claim my "cheats" mille feuille is as beautiful and delicate as one made by an experienced French pastry chef.  But I’ll tell you what, it is more than good enough to have surprised myself and certainly good enough to amuse my greedy little bouche.
Thoroughly modern millefeuille makers are beginning to experiment with variations on the classic recipe. Some pâtissiers nestle fresh berries between the layers of cream. Still others are incorporating chocolate shavings. Others work with hints of caramel. So what about millefeuille tiramisu I say?  and what happens if you opt for a crispy tiramisu as opposed to a soggy one? What if?
Done correctly, a classic tiramisù can be transcendent.But what if I take the core of the tiramisu ingredients and use them as a filling for my Mille feuille? There are as many different Tiramisu recipes as there are Italian grandmothers, each with their own little twist, some which aren’t even tiramisu at all, so I think my idea of an ethereal balancing act of airy whipped mascarpone,rum or cognac, mysterious espresso, bittersweet chocolate and puff pastry is more than a “pick me up”,which after all is what the literal translation of tiramisu is.
The components were delicious but as a composite pastry and on the level of finesse it had along way to go. It was a nice idea in theory and a great extramural for a rainy Sunday afternoon in lockdown.Budding pastry makers I pass the challenge over to you and see how you get on? I am sure those of you who are proficient bakers can do it. I guess if I strive for perfection I will try it again,someday.This was already my second attempt I might add.What a "lert" i am eh ?

FOR THE PUFF PASTRY
1 packet of puff pastry sheets (2 sheets)
granulated sugar for dusting

FOR THE "Tiramisu" FILLING
¾ cup heavy cream
1 cup/227 grams mascarpone (8 ounces)
1 ¾ cups good espresso or very strong coffee
2 tablespoons rum or cognac
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

FOR THE ICING
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons corn syrup
2 tablespoons, or as needed, milk
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

FOR THE "Tiramisu" FILLING
 Prepare a few hours or a day in advance.
Whisk together the cream and mascarpone till stiff peaks,slowly add the coffee,mixing as you go,followed by the rum and finally add the cocoa powder till all is thick and well amalgamated.Refrigerate for at least an hour.

FOR THE PUFF PASTRY
Preheat the oven to 400° F.
Unfold one defrosted puff pastry sheet and cut into three equal lengths. Place the cut lengths onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. If your baking sheet is large enough, you can bake both puff pastry sheets at one time, for a total of 6 cut sections. Otherwise, bake them three at a time.
Dock the pastry sections by piercing repeatedly with the tines of a fork. Make sure entire surface is docked.
Then sprinkle lightly with pinches of granulated sugar.
Place another length of parchment paper on top and weigh the pastry sections down by placing a second baking sheet upright over the parchment paper.
Bake for 15 minutes, the remove top baking sheet and parchment paper.
Return to oven and bake for 8 minutes, then remove and flip the pastry sections over. Bake for another 8 minutes until dark golden brown.
Place on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

FOR THE ICING
Once the puff pastry is at room temperature, mix the icing by whisking all the ingredients except the powdered unsweetened cocoa. Add the milk a bit at a time to achieve a nice, thick spreadable icing that is not too runny.
Take about ¼ of the prepared icing and the cocoa and whisk together in another bowl. This will be the colour and flavour accent for the design that goes on top of the mille feuille.

FOR THE ASSEMBLY
Spread ¼ of the filling over one section of puff pastry, top with another section, and spread another ¼ of the pastry cream on that one. Top that one with a third section.
Try not to let the pastry cream run down the sides but spread right to the edge of the puff pastry.
Then spread about ½ of the white icing over the top, covering the entire sheet.
Draw some lines at about 1-inch intervals by piping the chocolate icing out of a small cut in a plastic bag.
Pull a toothpick 3 times, about 1 inch apart, down the length of the pastry, dragging the lines of the chocolate into the white icing, creating an intricate pattern. Pull toothpick in one direction only or alternate the pulling of the toothpick in the opposite direction for a more intricate design pattern.
Serve, or chill for until ready to serve.
Cut individual portions with a sharp knife or pizza chopper using downward only movement. Do not saw back and forth or you will dislodge the layers of pastry on the soft pastry cream.

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