From Bake, a neat recipe book divided by various regions of the world. This is obviously from the (very substantial) French section. The name means “thousand leaves”, and consists of layers of puff pastry between vanilla cream. Prep time is 1 ¾ hours, with 45 minutes cooking time.
• 1kg / 2lb 4 oz puff-pastry
• Flour, for dusting
• Crème pâtissière:
– 2 tablespoons cornflour
– 125g / 4 ½ oz caster sugar
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– 500ml / 18 fl oz milk
– 2 egg yolks
– 2 egg whites
– 350g / 12oz icing sugar
– 100g / 3 ½ plain chocolate, broken into pieces
• Preheat the oven to 220°C / 425°F. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Divide the pastry into 3 pieces on a work surface lightly dusted with flour. Roll out a piece to 5mm / ¼ in thick square. Transfer to the prepared tray, prick all over with a fork, then place another try on top to prevent the pastry rising.
• Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove the top tray, then return to the oven and bake for a further 5 minutes until golden brown. Repeat with the remaining pastry. Leave to cool, then cut each pastry square in half to make 2 rectangles.
• To make the crème pâtissière, put the cornflour, caster sugar and vanilla extract into a saucepan over medium heat. Add the milk and egg yolks and cook, stirring, until the mixture comes to the boil and thickens. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely.
• Place a piece of pastry on a wire rack, spread with one fifth of the crème pâtissière, then place another piece of pastry on top. Spread with another fifth of the crème pâtissière and top with another piece of pastry; repeat until you have used all of the crème pâtissière, then top with the final piece of pastry.
• To make the icing, put the egg whites and icing sugar into a bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water and beat with an electric whisk for 5 minutes until thick. Pour over the top piece of pastry.
• Melt the chocolate and pour into a piping bag fitted with a fine nozzle, and use it to draw wavy lines on the icing.
• Using the tip of a knife, draw perpendicular lines through the chocolate, from top to bottom then alternating bottom to top. Use a sharp knife to trim the edges of the millefeuille.
• Cut the millefeuille into 12 rectangles, chill in the refrigerator and serve cold.