Here’s a new idea for your red, white and blue Fourth of July dessert – a mille-feuille. Similar to a Napoleon, these French pastries are made by layering puff pastry with cream (or pastry cream) and any number of ingredients, from fruit to nuts. Its name, originally gâteau de mille-feuilles, translates to “cake of a thousand leaves”, referring to the layers of pastry. Made with puff pastry, it could have anywhere from several hundred to thousands of flaky layers. But really, it’s a snap to make using store-bought frozen puff pastry.
A mille-feuille is an easy yet fancy alternative to your usual strawberry shortcake – try it with other fruits in season, too. Building them on individual plates makes it easy – you won’t have to cut into the fragile pastry – and each plate looks stunning.
Red, White and Blue Fourth of July Mille Feuille
adapted from BBC Food
1 lb pkg puff pastry, thawed
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 pint blueberries, washed
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 400F.
To make the mille feuille, roll the pastry out 1/4 inch thick. Cut into nine rectangles approximately twice as long as they are wide and place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Dust with the powdered sugar and place in the oven for 15 minutes, or until glazed, golden and puffed. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, beat the cream with the sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.
To serve, layer the puff pastry with cream, strawberries and blueberries, if you like carefully splitting each piece of pastry in half through the middle to make two thin pieces. Layer them as high as you like, and dust them with powdered sugar to finish. Serves 6.
Photo credit: istockphoto/AGfoto