Friday, 28 October 2011

Lemon Berry Millefeuille

Adapted from:
"Blueberry and lemon millefeuille" from Lorraine Pascale's Baking Made Easy. Also on BBC.

Original Ingredients: (Makes 6 triple-layer millefeuilles): 
  • 115g/4oz icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 250g/9oz shop-bought puff pastry
  • 200g/7oz (or 1 punnet) blueberries
  • 165ml/5½fl oz whipping cream
  • 25g/1oz icing sugar for sweetened cream
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds only (or alternatively 2 drops of vanilla extract)
  • 1 lemon, finely grated zest and a squeeze of the juice

Original Method:
  1. Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper. Dust the work surface with lots of icing sugar and roll out the pastry to a rectangle just larger than 27 x 30cm/10½ x 12in, trimming the edges straight. It should be super thin, as thin as you can get it, without stretching the pastry.
  2. Cut out 18 rectangles about 9cm/3½in long and 5cm/2in wide and place them on the prepared baking tray. Sprinkle with lots of icing sugar and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
  4. Remove the pastry from the fridge and bake in the oven for five minutes, then remove from the oven and sprinkle the pastry with more icing sugar. Return to the oven and bake for a further five minutes, or until the pastry turns golden-brown. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  5. For the sweetened cream, put the cream, icing sugar and vanilla in a large bowl and whip until medium-stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed from the bowl. Fold in the lemon zest and juice, to taste, then scoop the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm/½in straight nozzle.
  6. Place one of the pastry thins on a serving plate. Pipe blobs of cream over the pastry and put the blueberries between the cream, then put another pastry thin on top and repeat with one more layer. Sprinkle the top layer with more icing sugar and repeat until all the pastry and cream is used up.

My Ingredients: (Makes 6 double-layer millefeuilles):
  • about 40-60g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 250g shop-bought puff pastry
  • about 70g blueberries
  • about 50g raspberries
  • 110g double cream
  • 20g icing sugar for sweetened cream
  • 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 2/3 lemon, finely grated zest
  • 2 squeezes of the juice

My Modifications:
  • I only could roll out the pastry to a smaller rectangle of about 21cm x 28 cm. After trimming the edges, I cut out 12 rectangles each about 5cm x 9cm.
  • In addition to blueberries, I also added raspberries to some millefeuilles.
  • Extra lemon juice and zest were folded in the cream to reduce the sweetness. I also added zest on the top layers of each millefeuille after finishing with icing sugar.
  • I did not exactly measure how much icing sugar used but it's significantly less than 115g suggested.
  • As my pastry wasn't rolled thin nor even enough, some puff layers became quite thick after baking. Hence I only made 6 double-layer millefeuilles instead of 4 triple-layer millefeuilles.
  • Double cream instead of whipping cream was used, simply because I have a tub of double cream expiring in two days. I reduced the amount of sweetened cream as I had fewer layers to cream.
  • I used a sandwich bag (because I was too lazy and didn't want to use and wash my piping bags) for piping. I piped the whipped lemon cream as zig-zags over the pastry as the I could not pipe any nice blobs with a sandwich bag.
  • The total baking time was about 16 minutes:
  1. Bake for 5 minutes, remove from oven and sprinkle with icing sugar;
  2. Turn the tray around by 180 degrees, bake for another 5 minutes.
  3. Turn the tray around by 90 degrees, bake for another 3 minutes.
  4. Turn the tray around by 90 degrees, bake for another 3 minutes.

One-line Verdict:
Using store-bought pastry doesn't mean easy peasey. Rolling it thin and cutting it even was NOT easy.

    • This millefeuille recipe is easier than most other recipes. The pastry was cut before baking so the messy step of cutting baked puff neatly is skipped. Whipping cream is a lot easier to make (or it can be bought readily) than Crème Pâtissière used in many other recipes.
    • Pre-cutting the puff pastry, however, seems to result in less tidy edges compared with the traditional ones that are cut after baking. If I make millefeuilles again, I will not cut the puff beforehand.
    • I accidentally made an extra squeeze of the lemon so the cream was less sweet than I'd like, though my other two friends seem to be pretty satisfied with the reduced sweetness.
    • Rolling the pastry thin and even were really challenging. And I didn't do it quick enough so the butter in the pastry started melting in the middle. I stopped and didn't roll further. Maybe I should just chuck the half-rolled pastry into fridge for 30 minutes.
    • Substituting piping bag with sandwich bag is acceptable but it's very difficult to make any decent blobs of cream.
    • Raspberries go really well with blueberries and lemon! I think those with two berries taste better than those with blueberries alone!
    • Overall I am happy with this though there are many rooms for improvement. I will make this again, definitely!
    • Approximate cost of the main ingredients: £3

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