Mille-feuille (thousand leaf) is a custard filled French dessert that is not only popular in France but also in Maghrebi countries such as Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria. This pastry is sold in every Moroccan bakery, young kids usually stop to grab a slice on the way home from school. When I showed my pictures to family in Morocco they were really impressed, little do they know I used store bought puff pastry instead of making it my self. Like they do! The American version of this dessert is called "Napoleon" and can be filled with anything from custard to jam. The pastry creme recipe was addapted from "The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking" its by far the best crème pâtissière recipe I have came across. When baking the pastry you can bake the entire sheet at once or cut in 3 pieces like I've done in my recipe.
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups of milk, divided
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise down the middle
1/3 cup sugar
6 large egg yolks
A few cups of cold water
A few cups of ice
6 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup of butter, at room temperature (1/2 a stick)
For the pastry
1 pack puff pastry such as Pepperidge Farm
Directions for your cream
Combine heavy cream with 1 cup of milk in a medium saucepan (reserve the remaining 1/2 cup of milk). Using a butter knife, scrape the tiny seeds out of the vanilla bean and add them to the cream mixture, tossing the scraped pod in as well.
Bring the cream to just a simmer, then remove from heat and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Fish out spent vanilla pod and discard.
Combine sugar and egg yolks in a medium-sized heatproof bowl and whisk vigorously for 30 seconds to ensure the sugar is dissolved.
Halfway fill a large bowl with cold water and add a few handfuls of ice to make sure the water is very cold. Keep more ice handy in case what you’ve added to the bowl melts.
In a cup, combine cornstarch with the remaining 1/2 cup of milk, stirring with a fork until cornstarch is completely dispersed. Make sure there are no lumps along the bottom of the cup, hiding anywhere in the corners, lest you end up with lumps in your pastry cream. In case you were wondering, this is called making a slurry.
Place the saucepan containing the cream mixture over a medium heat. Again bring the cream just to a simmer, making sure not to bring it to a full boil. Once you see bubbles begin to form around the edges of the saucepan and a fair amount of steam beginning to rise from the cream’s surface, remove it from the heat.
Slowly pour the hot cream into the sugar and egg yolks, whisking constantly. The goal here is to add the hot cream slowly enough that the eggs don’t scramble, so pour in a little bit at a time and whisk well before you add some more. If you’ve got another person handy, have them pour the hot cream in a slow, thin stream while you whisk.
Pour the cream and eggs back into the saucepan and stir in the cornstarch slurry, then resume constant stirring over medium heat until the mixture is very thick. Set the base of the saucepan in your bowl of ice cold water (add more ice to the water if you have to) and stir quickly until the cream has cooled somewhat but still retains some heat, about one minute.
Add the butter and stir until the butter is completely mixed in and you’ve got a smooth cream. Scoop into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, making sure to press the wrap against the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Seal and store in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
While the pastry creme is cooling, bake your puff pastry in 3 equal rectangular shapes.
*Roll out the puff pastry and pierce it using a fork or a docker.
Place it between 2 greased baking sheets so that it will remain flat and regular during cooking.
*Repeat this step with your other two rolled out pastry and bake at 350* for 25 minutes. When finished, leave them to cool on a cooling rack.
*Cut the edges of your baked pastries so that all 3 rectangles are equal in size using a serrated knife.
*You are now ready to assemble your mille feuille, Spread the custard on the top of your baked pastry using a metal spatula. Place the second layer of baked pastry on top and push to make sure the creme sticks to both sides of the baked pastry. Spread your second half of creme over the pastry and cover ith the last layer of baked pastry, again pushing down to make sure the creme stick to both sides. Cover the top layer with icing or dust with powder sugar. To serve cut with a serrated knife using a sawing motion.
Basic icing recipe
2 cups confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
4 tablespoons milk or cream
Combine the confectioners sugar and milk and mix until smooth.