Tag Archives: Puff Pastry

Apple Mille Feuille with Buttermilk Waffle Ice Cream

Apple Mille Feuille-Buttermilk Waffle

The fourth and final course of our Valentine’s Day dinner is one I am very proud of. It worked so well and was a delight to make, look at and eat that I could not have been happier with how it turned out. Well, like everything, it can be improved upon and perfected some more, but really it was a lovely ending to a delicious meal. It’s a take on the traditional French dessert known as Mille Feuille meaning a thousand sheets, a reference to the many layers of flaky puff pastry. Another name for this type of dessert is a Napoleon.

The inspiration of this recipe is from both Daniel Boulud and Heston Blumenthal. Heston has recipes for a dessert with candied apple and puff pastry in at least two of his books and they look spectacular with layers of caramelized apples, cream, apple confits, ice cream and such. Auldo prepared the version from The Fat Duck Cookbook, simply called Cox’s Apple, on his blog a while ago. More recently I saw a simpler but also very refined version in Daniel Boulud’s  latest book Daniel: My French Cuisine. Boulud’s version is a layer of candied apple confit sandwiched between puff pastry and a layer of whipped calvados cream topped with caramelized puff pastry (aka an arlette).

Apple Mille Feuille-Buttermilk Waffle4

The apple confit layer is simple to make following Boulud’s instructions. Thinly sliced apples are layered with raw sugar to almost fill a small loaf pan. This is then covered in foil and baked until the apples are deep mahogany caramel color. The confit is then cooled and frozen to make slicing it easier. This process works very well, but next time around I’d rather put a layer of parchment in the bottom of the pan or at least butter the pan. This would’ve made removing the block of apple confit much easier.

Apple Confit2

Apple Confit3

I was hoping to make my own puff pastry but really got tight on time with the other dishes I needed to prepare. So, I opted to buy some good quality all-butter puff pastry. The key here is to buy the puff pastry made with only butter, not the Pepperidge Farm crap. I cut the pastry into large portions and baked some on a baking sheet weighed down with another baking sheet to control how much the pastry rises. These were then cut into even rectangles and formed the first two layers of the plated dessert. The third (top) layer was the arlette, the caramelized thin puff pastry. I used Blumenthal’s instructions to help with this one. The pastry is rolled thin while constantly being dusted with confectioner’s sugar. Then it is baked with additional weights on top to keep it on the thin side as it cooks and caramelizes.

Apple Mille Feuille-Buttermilk Waffle9

The ice cream that went with the mille feuille is my own recipe. I wanted something with a tart flavor and almost a bit savory. I knew it would include homemade buttermilk and was thinking of maybe using some yeasted cream as well similar to what I used with this waffle dessert. That’s what brought waffles to mind, specifically yeast waffles, not the quick baking powder ones. I love a recipe for yeast risen waffles from Shirley Corriher’s classic book CookWise that she aptly labels “Crisp-crusted, feather-light raised waffle”. So I made some of that and as usual I used oat flour for about a quarter of the flour in there and used buttermilk instead of milk. I then allowed the waffles to completely dry and crisp in a warm oven eventually ending up with about 100 gr of waffles, crumbled. I soaked these in a mixture of cream and whole milk overnight and then strained them out. Then I proceeded to make the ice cream using my go to method per Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream book. When the ice cream base was cool I stirred in a 100 gr of buttermilk, allowed the mixture to cool in the fridge and then churned it into the most amazing buttermilk waffle ice cream.

Buttermilk Waffle Ice Cream

The cream under the top caramelized puff pastry layer is simple sweetened whipped cream flavored with Laird’s apple brandy. That goes on the plate in a few dots first to anchor the first layer of pastry, then goes a rectangle of apple confit, then more pastry, the Laird’s cream and the caramelized pastry. The green-ish sauce around the dessert is just Granny Smith apple juice thickened lightly with Xanthan gum and it gives the dish a nice fresh apple flavor.

Apple Mille Feuille-Buttermilk Waffle2

Apple Mille Feuille-Buttermilk Waffle10

The Glorious Croissant 2.0

Croissants were the very first food I posted about in my little blog here. It only seems fitting to update that post with a more picture-rich post. I’ve been using that recipe from Nick Malgieri since then and until now. For Mother’s Day this year, I made Diana some Croissants for breakfast and decided to try a new recipe. This one comes from Peter Reinhart’s “Artisan Breads Everyday“. The general idea behind making the pastry is the same, but where this recipe just triumphs is in the level of detail Reinhart goes to while explaining the process. The result was the most perfect, gorgeous croissants I’ve ever made…to date. Glorious

The dough is made with flour, water, yeast, salt and a little butter. Then the recipe tells you exactly, with pictures, how to properly form the butter “filling” block that gets wrapped in the dough. The butter filled dough gets rolled and folded several times, making for alternate layers of dough and butter. This makes what is called a laminated dough. When the croissants bake the butter melts and the water in it turns to steam, the pastry puffs and crisps making for those lovely layers (same concept as puff pastry, but that has no yeast).

Another important detail in the instructions that for some reason I never caught on when making other recipes is how important it is to have even squared sides. Reinhart instructs several times to trim the dough to get even sides that lay perfectly on top of each other when the dough is folded.

After the last roll of the dough, the dough gets cut into triangles with a short base. A notch is cut into the center of the base of the triangles and the croissants are formed and allowed to proof and rise. When they are ready to bake, I brushed them with an egg wash and baked them. We enjoyed them as usual with Oeuf Cocotte (eggs baked in a ramekins with cream, bacon and herbs), a selection of jams and -a croissant’s best friend- Nutella.