Forget Grace Kelly, Jackie O. and Marilyn. No Hollywood diva can compete with the delicate and dainty appearance of the Millefeuille. Although I usually opt for the more robust cakes and pies with bold and rich flavours, today I felt like tackling the grandeur and grace of one of France’s greatest classics.
My version of the Millefeuille is –as always- a bit different from the original. Instead of thousand layers of puff pastry (which is what “millefeuille” literally means), I just had two. Admittedly, my version may not have the majestic luxury of the French classic, but I believe it still looks rather delicate and refined. (Just nod your head if you agree 😉 )
However, when it comes to flavour, my very own personalized rose and apricot Millefeuille far surpassed the rather boring flavour palette of the original. (no offence to all French pastry chefs) I went for a rose and honey flavoured custard topped with fresh apricot, dried cranberries and home-made meringues. It tasted so exquisite, it was almost impossible to believe I had made it myself! It would even make Michel Roux jealous!
Michel Who? Exactly. No one nails the essence of superior flavour better than I do. Me, pretentious? Just remember: if you want to be a good baker, you have to be a bit boastful! 😉
Rose and apricot Millefeuille
• One sheet of puff pastry
• 2,5 dl milk
• ½ tsp rose water
• 3 egg yolks, (you can save the egg whites for the meringues or use shop-bought meringues)
• 2 tbsp corn flour
• 2 tbsp caster sugar
• 3 tbsp runny honey
• Handful of dried cranberries
• 3 ripe apricots, peeled, stoned and halved
• Almond flakes
• Icing sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with baking parchment. Cut out 6 rectangular pieces of puff pastry, brush them with some of the remaining egg white and sprinkle over some almond flakes. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Let them cool completely before cutting them in half horizontally.
2. To make the custard, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and corn flour until pale and fluffy.
3. Heat the milk, honey and rose water in a pan over medium heat until it starts to boil. (I also added a couple of drops of red food colouring to give the custard a beautiful pink hue.)
4. Add some of the hot milk to the egg mixture and mix well. Then pour the egg mixture back into the pan of milk and beat constantly on a low heat until the mixture starts to thicken. Pour the rose custard in a bowl and cover with cling film. Let it cool completely.
5. Cut the puff pastry cases in half and spread a thick layer of rose custard on the bottom layer.
6. Top with small chunks of apricot, dried cranberries and some crushed meringues.
7. Finish with the top layer of puff pastry and dust with icing sugar.
When my mother walked into the kitchen this morning and asked what I was baking this time, it was very hard to find a suitable name. That’s what happens when you combine at least three different recipes and top it all off with your own personal input. I guess that you could best describe this dessert as an “exotic trifle” or maybe “Rum Baba Revisited”. Basically, it’s just the cake version of my two favorite cocktails: a caipirinha and a pina colada.
Needless to say that , after I had mentioned the word “cocktail”, my mom didn’t need to hear any further details. She knew it was going to be an amazing dessert. God bless my mom for always believing in my cooking skills!
Or maybe she just believed in the power of rum. Because, quite frankly, everything tastes better with rum. I know that. You know that. Jack Sparrow knows that. It is common sense. Just like one plus one equals two, sugar plus rum equals heaven. It is basic mathematics.
That marvelous sweetness from the coconut rochers, that fragrant zing from the lime custard and that splendid fruitiness from the pineapple, all coated in a wonderful blanket of spiced rum syrup.
Ingredients (makes 6 glasses)
For the lime custard:
• 1,5dl lime juice (4-5 limes)
• 0,5dl water
• 150gr caster sugar (for the lime syrup)
• 50gr caster sugar (for the egg mixture)
• 25gr corn flour
• 2 egg yolks
• 1,5dl double cream
For the rum syrup:
• 0,5dl white rum
• 1,25dl water
• 65gr caster sugar
• 6 cardamom pods
For the decoration:
• Good quality shop-bought soft coconut rochers
• Half a pineapple, finely diced
1. Crumble a layer of coconut rocher on the bottom of each glass.
2. To make the lime custard, pour the lime juice, water and 150 grams of sugar in a sauce pan and bring to the boil.
3. In a bowl, beat together the egg yolks and 50 grams of sugar until light and creamy. Add the corn flour and mix through.
4. Pour a little bit of the hot lime syrup into your egg mixture and whisk well. Then pour the egg mixture into your pan of lime syrup and, on a low heat, whisk constantly until it starts to thicken.
5. Remove from the heat and pour the custard into a baking tray and cover straight away with cling film and set aside to cool completely.
6. To finish the custard, pour the double cream in a bowl and beat the cream until it forms soft peaks. Gradually fold the whipped cream into your cooled custard.
7. To make the rum syrup, add the ingredients to a pan and bring to the boil. Let it reduce by half.
8. Spoon three to four teaspoons of rum syrup over each layer of coconut rocher and pour the remaining syrup on top of your chopped fresh pineapple.
9. Scatter some pineapple over the coconut layer and then spoon a good dollop of lime custard on top.
10. Generously finish with al layer of boozy pineapple. (and decorate with some desiccated coconut if you like)