How-to: Millefeuille Vanille

As promised, I am now sharing a recipe as well tips/tricks for how to make a millefeuille vanille at home.  Brace yourself, as this one takes a lot of time and love to complete.  I’d recommend starting early (I started at 9:30am) and clearing your schedule for the day.  Though if you love the flavor and are in a crunch for time, I suppose you could also buy the pastry and cut down your prep time considerably.

Regardless – this is an incredibly tasty treat, which your friends/family/guests will all be sure to love.  I made it this past Wednesday for a dinner with friends, then we shared the second cake with our neighbor (Alex).  I was concerned it might not be as good as the first time when I’d made it in the class, but Jim and Alex (who ate the one from class) both agreed it was just as good if not better!  So, you, too, can make this delicious treat at home, no problem!

Before we get started, there are a few basic tools you’ll need:  a kitchen scale (measures in grams), a rolling pin, parchment paper, a pastry bag with tip, an electric mixer (with paddle & whisk attachment), 2 heavy pastry pans (I like these from de BUYER), a serrated knife, cellophane, a double boiler (or capacity to make your own double boiler), a dough docker like this (or use a fork).

Millefeuille vanille – (2 pieces – 14 x 12 cm)

Ingredients

250g de farine T65 (AKA All Purpose Flour in the USA)

5g de sel (Salt)

15g de beurre froid (Cold Unsalted Butter)

65g d’eau (Water)

50g d’oeuf (about 1 egg)

165g de beurre (butter)

Créme vanille marscapone

2.5g de gélatin poudre or réhydratée (13g d’eau) (Gelatin powder rehydrated in water)

165g de crème 35% MG (about ¾ of a cup) (Cream)

1 gousse de vanille (1 vanilla bean = 2 t vanilla extract)

35g de jaunes (about 2 egg yolks)

60g de sucre (sugar)

165g de marscapone

Montage

Nappage miroir neuter (If you can’t find this, you’re probably OK without it)

Fondant blanc pâtissier (Fondant)

Chocolat fondu (Chocolate & Cream)

============================================================================

Making the pastry dough

Using the mixer with the paddle attachment, add the flour, salt and cold butter until you’ve obtained “sanding.”  (This will look a little like sand/small balls).  Once there, add water and egg.  As soon as a ball forms (this might take 5-10 minutes depending on your machine), stop the mixer, roll out pastry dough & begin forming a flat rectangle with your paste, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 20 min minimum.

Carry out the turning of the puff pastry

Take the butter (165g) and place it between 2 sheets of parchment paper.  Start by wrapping it on two sides, pound butter down, using your rolling pin.  Then rewrap the butter into a square shape, leaving room on the side and roll the butter into the corners using your rolling pin.  Set aside.

Take your dough out of the refrigerator, and roll into a large square, large enough for the butter to fit inside when placed like a diamond (on the diagonal).  Your butter and dough should have the same thickness.  Then, place the butter square (remove parchment paper) inside the dough and wrap the sides to cover the butter.

After you have wrapped the dough around the butter, you will begin the next step of incorporating the butter to the dough/rolling.

First round: Roll the dough (always in the same direction) to obtain a rectangle 3 times as long as it is wide. Give a first, single turn by bending the dough into 3. Turn a quarter turn so have the left or right closure (not top or bottom).   Make sure you keep the sides even when rolling, making sure there is no space left out of the folds (all sides/parts must touch when wrapped.  Pull/tug at the dough if you have to).  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 10 min.

Repeat.  Cover.  Refrigerate for 10 min.

First double round: Roll the dough (always lengthen in the same direction) so as to obtain a rectangle 4 times longer than wide. Give a first double turn by folding the dough into 4. Turn a quarter turn so that has the left or right closure. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 min.

Repeat.  Cover.  Refrigerate for 10 min.

Roll out about 30 x 40 cm (12×16 inches) in a rectangle about 4 mm thick. Poke the pastry thoroughly (start in the middle, move up, back to the middle, move down).  It’s important to start in the middle so as not to catch your pastry in a downward motion.  Cover in plastic and refrigerate 10 min.

Bake between 2 heavy baking sheets and 2 sheets of parchment paper baking at 180 C for 1 h by turning the baking sheet halfway through cooking. Remove from the oven to cool.

The heavy baking sheet is key, as is using two (one on top).  Without this, your puff pastry will puff up and you will not have the desired end result.

Once cooled after baking, cut the large sheet into 6 equal parts (3 on top, 3 on the bottom).  You might need to trim excess off to form a perfect rectangle.  You can use a serrated knife (works best, in my opinion) and a measuring tape OR the side of your pastry pan (works great).

Creating vanilla cream marscapone

Make the gelatine mass (add water to gelatin powder).  Set aside.

In a double boiler, make a creme anglais – heat the cream with the vanilla, the yolks, and the sugar.  Cook at 84 ° C, stirring constantly & vigorously with a spatula to ensure the eggs don’t scramble/curdle.  This part might take a while.  You’ll know when it’s ready when you can successfully run your finger through the cream on your spatula and it does not drip down.  Don’t worry about how long it takes, just make sure you get that test accurate.

Then off the heat, incorporate the gelatin and mix.  Cover with plastic and refrigerate.

With the mixer, add the cold cream with the marscapone until a thick whip has formed (this could take a while).  Add to your pastry bag.  Photos below show the best way to fill and hold your pastry bag (after it’s added, squeeze down, wrap it around your thumb, then turn the bag for tightness).

With your pastry bag, add raindrop-esq dollops of the cream around the perimeter of 4/6 layers of the pastry (the top 2 will get the fondant topping).  Then fill in the remainder (after all dollops have been added).

IMG_4178

Adding the Fondant to the top pieces

Making the fondant is pretty easy – as you’re just heating it over a double boiler until it’s pliable/spreadable.  Over the heat, it will become runny, you want it to cool some before spreading, but not too much.

Add cellophane to your countertop, place the puff pastry in the center and spread the fondant on top.  Then quickly run a drizzle of melted chocolate across the top in a left to right motion.  Run a knife through the chocolate in 1 direction, then reverse the knife and run it through the opposite direction.  Use knife to scrape away excess fondant.

Et voila!  Refrigerate until ready to eat!  From the above photos – they look pretty similar, though my chocolate was a little too thick.  Otherwise – exactly the same!

As you take bites of this incredibly tasty treat, you won’t feel too bad because you worked up such a sweat rolling out the pastry!  I’m going to have giant arms before we leave Toulouse (and maybe a giant belly, too!)

I’ll be curious to know if you try it at home and if you love it as much as we do.

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