This is probably not a comparison that any pastry chef would ever wish upon their wares, but I am no pastry chef, so I have no problem with it. This tasted like an apple toaster strudel! The best apple toaster strudel you have ever had. Ever in your life. Ever.
When you search images of millefeuille, French for “a thousand leaves”, what I have here is not exactly what you will see. You probably know them as Napoleons, layers of puff pastry filled with all kinds of sweetness. Most of these fancy pastries are beautiful and well trimmed with lovely, even layers. I’m the gal who’s ok with making something taste like a toaster strudel, so my millefeuille is not well trimmed, and the layers are not even. But it is so delicious, and really that is all that matters.
One of the things about this cookbook that I don’t love is that sometimes there aren’t crystal clear instructions or it calls for an ingredient that requires you to make something extra for which there is no recipe and are no instructions. In this recipe a cup of pastry cream or vanilla pudding is on the ingredient list. I’ve made pastry cream before, but never in a small batch. Thankfully I found this recipe for pastry cream that made just the perfect amount. I did have a little scare when the fat separated out from the milk and I thought I was going to have to start over. The internet saved me again with this quick fix for a broken pastry cream!
It also calls for whipping cream, but do not tell you to whip it. If I hadn’t done much baking I would not have thought to whip it. Maybe the authors of this book are just testing the baking knowledge of its readers, which I find to be tricky. Tricky Swedes.
The recipe says to use 2/3 cup of apple sauce. I used 3-4 tablespoons, just enough to cover the bottom layer of pastry. Anymore and I was afraid it was going to just spill over the edges.
Red currant jam is called for…I used apple jelly.
Other than all that, this is a fairly straightforward recipe 😉 Thankfully it uses store-bought puff pastry and is easy to assemble.
The pastry cream can be made a day or two in advance, but don’t assemble this much more than a couple hours before you plan to serve it. It is best enjoyed fresh.
Apple and Cream Millefeuille
1 sleeve of frozen puff pastry
1 cup pastry cream (recipe below)
1/2 cup whipping cream whipped to soft peaks
3-4 tablespoons apple sauce
3-4 teaspoons apple jelly
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2-1 tablespoon milk or water
a few drops almond or vanilla extract
¾ cup heavy cream
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
pinch of salt
2 large egg yolks
½ teaspoon vanilla
In a small saucepan warm the cream over medium-low heat until tiny bubbles appear around the edge of the pan, but do not boil.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Add in the egg yolks, and whisk together.
Slowly pour the warm cream into the egg yolk mixture, a tablespoon or so at a time. Continue to whisk as you pour.
Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat. Whisk constantly while it comes to a simmer. Once simmering, it will begin to thicken. Once large bubbles pop on the surface, continue to cook for a few more seconds while whisking, then remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla.
Scrape the pastry cream into a bowl, press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface, then chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.
Thaw the puff pastry according to the package directions and pre-heat the oven to 425°F. Unfold the sheet and use a paring knife or pizza cutter to slice into 3 equal pieces (most sheets are already folded into thirds, so this should be easy. Place the pastry on a parchment lined baking sheet and prick all over the a fork. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden. Let cool, then trim to neaten the edges…or not 🙂
Fold the whipped cream into the pastry cream.
Place one layer of pastry on a serving platter. Spread applesauce evenly into this layer.
Place another layer of pastry on top and spread evenly with the pastry cream. You could also put the cream into a pastry bag and pipe it nicely.
Place the last layer is pastry on top upside down so that you have a nice flat top layer.
Heat the apple jelly in the microwave until easily spreadable, then spread on the top of the pastry.
Whisk together the powdered sugar, milk/water and extract until smooth. Spread over the jelly and let set. Slice and serve or refrigerate for an hour or two.
This is one of those classic desserts that I can’t believe I haven’t made before! Thanks again, Daring Bakers, for getting me to try something new and delicious. And so beautiful!
For the March Daring bakers’ challenge, Korena from Korena in the Kitchen taught us that some treats are best enjoyed upside down. She challenged us to make a tarte tatin from scratch.
Since I of course didn’t make this until 2 days before the posting date and I am off to visit family for the weekend I am going to keep this post pretty short. The recipe worked wonderfully well and I had no issues whatsoever. I would do it all the same the next time around.
Except for the apples. Mine were HUGE and I used the recommend 6 called for and had a bunch left over. You want more apples than the pan can hold since they do cook down, but I had probably 2 apples worth of slices left. That being said, I’d rather have too much than not enough.
The recipe for the pastry is easy and bakes up so flaky I know I’ll be making it again. I can’t believe I almost cheated and used a frozen puff pastry!
The caramel is a time consuming but fun project! Forgive these photos, but I thought it would be helpful to see the process. If I didn’t know the stages the sugar would go through I would’ve thought something was going terribly wrong. So, no need to worry when the sugar gets all nasty and clumpy and looks like nothing good can come from it. Something very good is coming. Just keep stirring and be patient.
The apples get wonderfully soft in the rich caramel. A scoop of plain vanilla bean ice cream is the perfect accompaniment to this rich dessert.
After arranging the apples and letting them cool a bit, place the crust on top and bake. I wasn’t supposed to let the tarte cool all the way before unmolding, so I was worried that it wouldn’t come out cleanly. I warmed the pan on the stove very breifly and it came out perfectly.
This is a beautiful dessert, perfect for impressing your guests! Or perfect to make for yourself and your baked good-loving toddler when your husband has gone out of town…
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup ( 5 ounces) unsalted butter, cold
¼ tsp fine salt
¼ cup ice cold water
Pulse flour, butter and salt in a food processor until butter is in pea sized pieces.
Stream in the water until the dough just comes together.
Turn out on a floured surface and press together into a square.
Roll into a 10 inch rectangle. Fold the top third of the dough down and the bottom third up so that you have 3 layers. Rotate 1/4 turn and repeat this process 4 more times.
Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least one hour, but up to a day.
4 large or 5-6 medium-sized apples (I used Granny Smith)
Juice of half a lemon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1-1/3 cups granulated sugar, divided
Peel the apples and cut them into 4-6 pieces depending on the size of the apples. Remove the cores in such a way that each apple quarter has a flat inner side: when placed rounded-side-up, it should sit on a flat base. Place the apples in a large bowl and toss with the lemon juice and 1/3 cup sugar. This will help draw out some of the moisture from the apples and prevent an overly runny caramel. Set aside for 15 minutes.
Melt the butter in a very heavy, 9” or 10″ oven-proof saucepan over medium heat, then sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup sugar. Stir with a whisk until the sugar melts and becomes a pale, smooth caramel. The sugar will seem dry and chunky at first, then will start to melt and smooth out. If the butter appears to separate out from the caramel, just keep whisking until it is a cohesive sauce. This can be a long process, but it eventually works! Remove from the heat.
Preheat oven to 375F. Discard the liquid that has come out of the apples, then add the apple quarters to the caramel, round side down. They won’t all fit in a single layer at first, but as they cook they will shrink a bit. Cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, pressing down gently on the apples with a spoon to cover them in the caramel liquid. Move the apples around the pan gently so that they all cook evenly, trying to keep them round side down. When the apples have shrunk enough to mostly fit in a single layer and are starting to soften but still keep their shape, remove the pan from the heat.
With a wooden spoon, arrange the apples, round side down, in a single layer of concentric circles covering the bottom of the pan. Set aside until the filling stops steaming before covering with pastry.
Remove the pastry from the fridge, roll it out on a lightly floured surface, and trim it into a circle about 1″ in diameter larger than your saucepan. Lay it over the filling, tucking in the edges between the apples and the sides of the pan, and cut a few steam vents in the pastry. Place the saucepan on a rimmed baking sheet (just in case the filling decides to bubble over the sides) and place in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes, then increase the heat to 400°F for 5 minutes. Keep and eye on it so it doesn’t get too dark.
Remove from the oven and let sit just until the caramel stops bubbling. Immediately place a serving platter (slightly larger in diameter than the saucepan) over the pastry. Wearing oven mitts, grab hold of the saucepan and platter and quickly invert everything to unmold the Tatin onto the platter. If any of the apples stick to the pan or come out of place, rearrange them with a spatula.
The tarte can be served warm from the oven or at room temperature. Suggested accompaniments include vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or crème fraîche.
These sweet little pastry packages are lovely. Pre-made puff pastry makes this a dessert that requires very little hard labor in the kitchen. Assembling these pastries is not exactly a breeze, but they are worth it.
I found this recipe hidden in Fine Cooking from August of 2010. It is the “Letter from the Editor” section that I wouldn’t have seen if I hadn’t seen the recipe in the index. The other fruit pies in this edition are so beautiful, but more time consuming since you make your own dough.
For me, this was a perfect dessert for our Sunday night dinner guests. I made them earlier in the day and stored them in the fridge until time to bake. I stuck them in the oven when we sat down to dinner, and they were done at the perfect time to enjoy them.
The recipe below is changed slightly from the original. The original recipe calls for creme de cassis, which I do not have on hand these days, and so I substituted almond extract with good results. I used low fat cream cheese, and cut smaller circles to make smaller pies. Unintentionally, I did not cut vents in my pastries. This probably caused more of the gooey insides to leak out, but they were still delicious. I served these with vanilla ice cream. The crunchy sugary tops are wonderful, and the combination of blueberry and cream cheese in the center reminds me of a grown up Toaster Strudel.
Blueberry Cream Cheese Pastries
2 17.3 ounce packages frozen puff pastry, thawed
4 ounces cream cheese (low-fat is fine) softened
7 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs yolks
1 cup blueberries
2 teaspoons cornstartch
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
Preheat oven to 375°F
In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, 4 tablespoons sugar, vanilla extract, and 1 egg yolk and mix until well combined.
Combine the blueberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch, almond extract and salt and mix gently.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out individual puff pastry sheets into a 10 by 10 inch square.
Using a round cutter (3 1/2 inches to 4 inches) cut out 4-6 rounds from the pastry depending on the size of your cutter. Arrange the circles on a parchment lined baking sheet. (You will need 2 or 3 sheets)
In a small bowl, beat 1 egg yolk with 1 teaspoon water. Brush the outer edges of each dough round with egg wash.
Dollop about 1/2 tablespoons cream cheese mixture in the center of the round, then top with about 1 tablespoon of blueberries.
Fold in half to form a half moon and pinch edges to seal. You may use the tines of a fork to seal as well.
Lightly brush each pastry with egg wash and sprinkle with remaining sugar. Cut a small steam vent in the top of each pastry.
Bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes.
Cool slightly, then remove from the baking sheet.
Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Have you found yourself with some leftover puff pastry and asked yourself, “What am I to do with left over puff pastry?” The answer is…make palmiers! I love getting the huge ones at bakeries that I always knew as elephant ears. My sister thinks they are a waste of calories, but my mom and I love them. Crunchy, sweet, rich, and buttery. Perfection.
I made a sweet and a savory palmier. These are so easy. Roll out your puff pastry to 1/8 inch thickness. Sprinkle your goodies on the dough and roll both ends evenly to marry in the middle. Chill the rolled dough for 30 minutes. Err on the side of longer chilling time to make the slicing easier. After the dough is chilled, slice 1/4 inch pieces and place flat on a baking sheet covered in parchment or a silpat. Bake for 10-15 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Cool for 5 minutes or so…then enjoy.
I think that maybe I didn’t use enough pastry, or maybe I did not roll it out thin enough. I was hoping for more layers, and that just didn’t happen. They still tasted divine, but not as filled with goodness as I was hoping. I will definitely try them again, especially the savory ones. I loved the flavor of the parmesan with the pastry and tomatoes. They are such an impressive appetizer, and with store bought puff pastry, would be incredibly easy. Check out this how-to if you need more detailed instructions. I actually wish I’d watched this before I made mine! It seems easier than rolling the dough and produces a nice crunchy cookie. Mine were sweet and lovely, but more flaky than crunchy and caramelized like these. Oh well. There’s always next time!
Parmesan and Sun-dried Tomato Palmiers
grated parmesan cheese
finely chopped sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained
Cinnamon Sugar Palmiers
Follow the instructions above for forming and baking.