Gateau Mille-feuille

Layers of light puff pastry, Crime Chantilly and strawberry jam combine to make Gateau Mille-feuille (ga-toh meel-fey-yeh) a most attractive and tempting dessert.

4

12-lb. flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 lb. unsalted butter

8 fl. oz. iced water

8 oz. strawberry jam

10 fl. oz. m cups Creme Chantilly

4 oz. icing sugar

1 tablespoon hot water

½ teaspoon vanilla essence

2 oz. slivered, blanched almonds

Sift the flour and salt into a medium-sized mixing bowl. With a table knife, cut 4 ounces of the butter into the flour.

With your fingertips rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the water and mix to a firm dough. Knead the dough to make it pliable and form it into a ball. Cover with greaseproof or waxed paper and place the dough in the refrigerator to chill for 15 minutes.

Put the remaining butter between two pieces of greaseproof or waxed paper and beat it with the back of a wooden spoon or a wooden mallet into a flat oblong slab about f-inch thick.

On a floured board, roll out the dough into a rectangular shape -inch thick. Place the slab of butter in the centre of the dough and fold the dough over it to make a parcel. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Place the dough, with the folds down-wards, on the board and roll out away from you into a rectangle. Fold the rectangle in three. Turn so that the open end is facing you and roll out again. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Repeat this twice more.

Preheat the oven to hot 425°F (Gas Mark 7, 220°C).

Cut the dough into four pieces with a sharp knife.

On a floured board roll out each piece of dough into a rectangle 4-inches wide and 12-inches long.

Wet a baking sheet with cold water. Lift one piece of dough on the rolling pin and lay it on the baking sheet. Prick it all over with a fork. Wrap the remaining three pieces of pastry in greaseproof or waxed paper and return them to the refrigerator.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake the pastry for 10 to 12 minutes or until it is golden brown. Remove the pastry strip from the oven and transfer it carefully to a wire rack. Bake the remaining three pieces of pastry in the same way.

When the pastry is cool, place a layer of pastry on a wooden board. Using a table knife, spread it with one-third of the strawberry jam. Spread a layer of Creme Chantilly on top of the jam. Repeat this with two of the remaining three layers of pastry. Put the last layer of pastry on top with the smooth side of the pastry upper-most. Gently press the four layers together. Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the icing sugar, vanilla and hot water. Stir the mixture to a smooth consistency with a wooden spoon. Pour the icing on to the top of the pastry and spread it quickly with a table knife dipped frequently in hot water so that a smooth surface is obtained. Sprinkle the slivered almonds over the top of the icing.

Serve the gateau cut into slices.

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