1. Food

Millefoglie Recipe - Mille-Feuille

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Millefoglie, which the French call Mille-Feuille, is one of the most delightful cakes around: Flaky puff pastry interlayered with rich crema chantilly (or chocolate, or both). Libidenous! Wonderful! The perfect birthday cake!

Prep Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Frozen puff pastry dough, thawed according to the instructions on the package
  • For the fillings and decorations:
  • 1 1/3 cups very fresh cream, chilled
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup peeled almonds
  • 3 yolks
  • Some powdered sugar
  • 5 tablespoons dry Marsala wine
  • 4 Savoiardi cookies (you can use 8 ladyfingers if need be)
  • A lightly buttered pan

Preparation:

Begin by preheating your oven to about 460 F (230 C). Cut the puff pastry into three equally sized pieces, and roll them out to somewhat less than a third of an inch -- the sheets can be round or square as you prefer. Since the sheets will shrink (widthwise) as they cook, roll them out somewhat larger than you want the finished cake to be. They'll shrink less if you let them rest a half hour before baking them. Once the first is ready, bake it for 20 minutes in the oven, and in the meantime prepare the next, then bake it and do the third. Let them cool, and dust the one that looks nicest with powdered sugar (it will go on top).

While the dough is baking you should begin preparing the filling: Mince the almonds and lightly toast them. Pour the three yolks into a small pot, preferably of untinned copper, stir in the sugar, and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the mixture is almost white. Next, stir in the Marsala, a few drops at a time. Set the pot over a very low flame or on top of a double boiler and stir gently until the cream has thickened, then pour it into a clean bowl and let it cool, stirring occasionally.

Crush the savoiardi and combine them with the minced almonds. The next step is the assembly of the millefoglie; you should undertake it shortly before serving time lest the pastry absorb moisture and soften. Pour the cream into a bowl and whip it to firm snowy peaks, then gently fold it into the cream. Place the first sheet of puff pastry on the serving dish spread 1/3 third of the filling over it, lay the second sheet of pastry over it, and spread half the remaining filling over it. Cover with the third, sugary disk. Use a spatula to spread the remaining filling over the sides of the cake, then dust the sides with the almond-savoiardi mixture so as to cover the cream. Remove any stray crumbs from the serving plate and set the cake in a cool place until serving time.

Note: The cream suggested can be substituted by whatever custard you refer, or even simple whipped cream, which gains considerable grace with the addition of wild strawberries. You can also slice the millefoglie into 1 by 2.5-inch slices with a very sharp knife, and serving them individually -- these are the classic millefoglie portions we often buy from the pastry shop around the corner when we're invited out to dinner and bring pastries.

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