Millefeuille aux noisettes

Serves 4-6
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Indy Lifestyle Online

I also tasted this at Gérard Depardieu's restaurant, and it fulfilled all the requirements of a good dessert. Millefeuilles (which means a thousand leaves) is a common pâtisserie dish and comes in many guises with many fillings. This one was pretty simple in that the filling contained praline, which is a roasted hazelnut paste. It's not easy to make, or buy for that matter, but you could try it with Nutella, the chocolate-praline paste instead.

200g butter puff pastry, rolled to about 1/4 cm thick
Icing sugar for dusting
80g hazelnuts
110g praline or Nutella, at room temperature

For the pastry cream

150ml milk mixed with 200ml double cream
60g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
20g flour
15g cornflour
250ml good quality double cream like Jersey, semi-whipped

Pre-heat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6.

Lay the puff pastry on to a baking tray and prick all over with a fork. Bake for 6-7 minutes then carefully turn it over with the help of a fish slice and/or spatula and continue baking for another 6-7 minutes or until the pastry is golden and crisp. Transfer to a cooling rack; leave to cool. Meanwhile, roughly chop the hazelnuts with a knife and then scatter them on to a baking tray lined with foil and lightly dust with icing sugar. Bake in the oven for 5-6 minutes, stirring every so often until lightly coloured.

Now prepare the pastry cream. Bring the milk and cream to the boil. Mix the sugar and egg yolks together with a whisk then mix in the flour and corn flour. Pour the boiling milk and cream on to the egg mixture; whisk together. Return the mixture to the pan over a low heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly until it thickens. Pour it quickly into a liquidiser with the praline and blend until it is smooth. Transfer the mixture into a bowl and cover with a sheet of clingfilm actually on the pastry cream to prevent it forming a skin. When it is cold, fold in the semi-whipped cream and hazelnuts.

To assemble, cut the pastry through the centre with a sharp serrated knife, then cut into four 7cm x 12cm pieces. Spread a third of the mixture on a piece of pastry, top with another piece and spread with another third of the mixture. Spread the final portion on the third piece of pastry and top with the last piece. Don't stack it up, as the weight will push out the cream mixture. Leave to rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes, then assemble the last layer, smoothing any of the cream mixture on the sides with a spatula or palette knife, then return to the fridge for an hour or so to set.

To serve, trim the ends with a sharp serrated knife and dust the top with icing sugar. Carefully cut the millefeuille into 2cm thick slices and lay on serving plates.

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