Today, I consider myself a grown-up. I am so proud that finally, after all those years, I made my very 1st homemade all butter puff pastry. Let me tell you, it’s totally worth it! Give it some love, store in the fridge or freezer and use it later on for savoury or sweet tarts. My addition this time will be a Homemade Mille-feuille Strawberry Cake.
Imagine the crunchiness of a sweetened puff pastry, yumminess of a humble Chantilly cream and some fresh fruits in between. Are you in heaven? This one was for a big birthday of my mom, and unfortunately I didn’t get to taste the real thing, but I’ve got my references. Thank you all for believing in me and tasting my creations. I make it all mainly for you. This very recipe has been inspired by my favourite Slovak show, where I’ve got to learn and great technique of the puff pastry, too. Splendid!
My Homemade Mille-feuille Strawberry Cake is suitable for kids from the age of 2. As there is plenty of the delicious pastry left, so called “French pancake”, I have a tip how to prepare a great dessert from it for kids. Bake with me and get inspired!
Total Time: 1 hour + an overnight chill of the pastry + an overnight chill of the cake before serving
All butter puff pastry:
300g of semi-coarse flour, sifted
200g of plain flour, sifted
2 teaspoons of sea salt
450g of good quality butter (at least 82% fat)
140ml of cold water
100ml of honey
The Cream Filling:
2 sheets of clear gelatin
300ml of milk
100g of caster sugar
1 vanilla bean
3 egg yolks
20g of vanilla pudding powder mix
360ml of double cream
200g of fresh strawberries
Sugar pearls to decorate with
All butter puff pastry
A day ahead
First, sieve both flour with salt into a large mixing bowl. Then, take 200g of the mixture and mix it on high speed with 400g of butter. Wrap the butter pastry into square shape in a sheet of cling foil and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Second, mix the rest of the flour with remaining 50g of butter until crumbly texture. Slowly pour in the water and continue mixing until it comes together, not necessarily smooth. The flour pastry wrap into square shape in a cling foil and refrigerate at least for 1 hour.
Afterwards, take the butter pastry out of the fridge, sieve your working surface and roll out the edges of the pastry thinly and place the flour pastry in the middle of it. Cover with the edges of the butter pastry and roll it out into rectangular shape, approximately in the length of your roller. Then, fold it like a book: starting from the edges into the middle part and once again to the left or right side. Roll it out once more time into rectangular shape, fold like a book and wrap into a cling foil. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and repeat the whole process around 2 more times. It means that in total you fold the pastry 6 times. Rolling out of the dough and resting in the fridge is the crucial part of a successful puff pastry. Not tricky at all, just give it a rest and it will work out.
At this stage, you can either continue with my lovely recipe or freeze the pastry until further processing.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
Divide the pastry into 2 parts. Roll each of them into rectangular shape, the size of your large baking tray. Then, transfer into baking trays lined with some baking paper and poke with a fork. Each of the tray cover with another heavy tray, so it doesn’t get too puffed. Bake around 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix honey with a bit of water. After 10 minutes, take the pastry out and brush with honey generously. Continue baking 5-10 more minutes until baked through. The honey gives a beautiful sweetness and colour of the pastry. Repeat the same procedure with the 2nd pastry. Take them both out and let them cool down entirely. Store in between sheet of baking paper, covered in a plastic bag.
The Cream Filling
First, sink the gelatin sheets in a bowl filled with a bit of cold water. Let it work for about few minutes.
In a small deep pan heat up the milk with ½ of the caster sugar on medium heat. Cut the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the milk. Add the bean and cook slowly until the boiling point.
Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl place egg yolks with the 2nd half of the caster sugar and vanilla pudding powder mix. Mix with a balloon whisk until smooth.
Take the milk off the heat and start adding the egg mixture. Gradually mix until incorporated well. Transfer it back onto fire and cook for 3 more minutes on medium heat until thickened.
Next, take the bean out. Stir in the squeezed gelatin and mix well until smooth. Let it cool down entirely, then, cover with a cling foil and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Once The Cream Filling has been cooled down, whisk it on high speed until smooth. In another bowl whisk the double cream into peaks and start adding into The Cream. Do not whisk, just lightly stir with a spatula, similarly how you incorporate the egg whites. Mold it into a decorating bag. Depending on how you want to decorate the cake, you can either refrigerate The Cream for 1 more hour to have it really thick. For easier decorating techniques, you can pipe The Cream onto cake straight away.
Take a round plate, so you can cut out 2 rounds from each Pastry (4 in total). Cut them slowly with a sharp knife, so they won’t break.
My Culinary Tip: the rest of the pastry you can either use for a decoration of the cake. You can also use it for a simple baby dessert. Crumble the rest of the pastry and use it as the base of your dessert. Then, layer with some Cream Filling, fresh strawberries and cover with the pastry again. Refrigerate until serving and enjoy.
Pipe a bit of Cream onto a serving plate and place the 1st layer of The Puff Pastry on top. Then, spiral a good amount of The Cream and place strawberries on top. Continue until the very last layer. After the 4th layer, create large roses on top and cover with small flowers in between. No limits to imagination. I also sprinkled it with some crumbs and sugar pearls. Refrigerate until the next day.
Makes 10 serves.