Paris is simultaneously exhilarating and intimidating. I am searching for words to describe what it felt like to be there for a few days this summer and am a little at a loss. Minus those times when the 6 yo and 3 yo both wanted to sit in the stroller, that experience I have words for, but I do like to keep it PG here. Let's revert to the positive shall we?
Although I thought I knew what to expect I really did not. Not with the city, or the monuments (hello Eiffel Tower, you are ginormous) or the patisseries. They're everywhere. As a home baker that sheer amount of talent astounds me. How is it possible I wonder for so many gifted people to reside in one city and produce this endless array of perfection. I am still not entirely sure.
There are self taught bakers who are artists, those who are perfectionists, those who are scientists. I fall in none of those categories so for me the Parisian desserts I saw are out of reach. Could I possibly make some? Perhaps. But the reality is I don't want to. I admire it immensely but it is not who I am. This is all to say that if I can make a french pastry with a fancy name like Mille Feuille (pronounced meel-foy) so can you. Traditionally it is made with layers of from scratch puff pastry, a vanilla patisserie cream, whipped cream and often a glaze.
Clearly I am not a traditional girl.
This Chocolate & Cream Mille Feuille is made with store bought puff pastry, an easy chocolate pastry cream and whipped cream gussied up with hazelnut extract. I layered up this beauty, sifted over some powdered sugar and scattered some raspberries over top because adding fruit makes it healthy.
Start to finish this Chocolate & Cream Mille Feuille took less than 40 minutes to put together, and it looked and tasted beautiful. Now that folks, is my kind of dessert. The Chocolate pastry cream is a simple one, made using cocoa powder and boosted with semi sweet chocolate. While I added a few drops of Hazelnut emulsion to flavor the cream, I have made it in the past with vanilla extract to very good effect. Depending on your preference you can make two larger Chocolate & Cream Mille Feuilles or 10 small ones with a little of the fillings left over for "tasting".
Chocolate & Cream Mille Feuille
Puff Pastry Layers
- 450 g All Butter Puff Pastry Sheets (2 10*10 sheets)
- 1 tbsp Milk (any fat content)
- 1 tsp Sugar
Chocolate Pastry Cream
- 3 egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 ½ tbsp cornstarch
- ⅛ tsp salt
- ¾ cup whole milk
- 2 tbsp semi sweet chocolate chips
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 4-5 drops hazelnut emulsion OR ½ tsp vanilla extract
Powdered Sugar & Raspberries
- Thaw puff pastry per package directions. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, unfurl each puff pastry sheet and place on a lined baking sheet
- Brush with milk, scatter the sugar over and bake for 15-17 minutes until golden and slightly caramelized.
- Trim the ends off the baked puff pastry and cut each sheet into a third with a sharp serrated knife. I like measuring, centimetres seems easier for precision's sake!
- If you want to make individual portions then here is what I did:Cut each vertical third into 5 pieces of the same width, can adjust this according to your serving size. I had roughly 1.5 inch by 3 inch pieces. I found that my cut pieces were not identically sized so I made stacks of three that were more or less the same. This will give you 10 Mille Feuille stacks.
Chocolate Pastry Cream (Make while the Pastry is baking)
- Heat the milk in a small saucepan
- While the milk is heating whisk the cocoa, sugar, egg yolks, cornstarch, and salt together till well combined.
- When the milk comes to a simmer then add a little milk into the egg mixture, whisk briskly then pour all of the thinned egg mixture back into the pot and cook for a few minutes, remembering to keep whisking, till you have a thick pastry cream
- Add the 2 tbsp of semisweet chocolate chips and vanilla, mix until the chocolate is melted and then set aside in a bowl to cool. If the pastry cream is lumpy press it through a fine mesh sieve.
- In a clean bowl whip your cream till soft peaks form when you lift the beaters from the cream
- Gradually add the sugar, mixing until stiff peaks for. Mix in your extract of choice and keep cold.
- Fit two piping bags with your large tip of choice, fill one with the pastry cream and one with the whipped cream. I used a simple round (Wilton #12) for pastry cream and a star (Wilton #21) for the whipped cream but use what's convenient. A ziploc bag with an even hole cut in the corners works too!
- Pipe large even dots of chocolate pastry cream onto the bottom layer of puff, place the second layer on top, pipe even dots of the cream, follow with another layer of puff pastry. Sift some powdered sugar over and consider yourself fancy.