Cheat’s mille-feuille with rhubarb
( SERVES 6 )
This would work as a dessert, and also for afternoon tea — definitely an under-rated meal. Putting the kettle on and having a little something sweet and a little something savoury to tide you over until dinner is great. This easier version of mille-feuille uses a basic creme diplomat, which is whipped cream mixed through custard. It makes a simple but impressive afternoon tea or dessert. You can make the pastries as small or as large as you like depending on how you cut them.
|1 bunch||Rhubarb, 5 stalks, leaves removed, chopped into 4-5cm pieces|
|½||Orange, zest and juice|
|1 Tbsp||Brown sugar|
|½ cup||Water, you may need up to 3/4 of a cup|
|2 sheets||Flaky puff pastry, pre-rolled|
|1||Vanilla bean, seeded|
|1 Tbsp||Icing sugar, heaped|
|1 cup||Custard, store-bought, made according to the packet instructions|
|1 sprinkle||Icing sugar, to dust|
- To stew the rhubarb, place the first 3 ingredients in a saucepan, and add water to almost cover the rhubarb.
- Simmer for about 20-25 minutes until the liquid has reduced and the rhubarb is soft. Set aside until cool (this can be done a day or two ahead).
- To prepare the pastry, set oven to 200C. Line a baking tray with baking paper, and lie pastry sheets on it. Cover with another sheet of baking paper, and place another baking tray on top as a weight. This will stop the pastry puffing up too much while cooking.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, until sheets are golden. Set aside to cool.
- To prepare the cream filling, place cream in a mixer with the vanilla seeds and icing sugar and begin to whip. Slowly add the custard and continue whipping until you have a soft yet spreadable filling. Be careful not to overbeat.
- To assemble, cut the pastry into even rectangles, using your first one as a guide. To make 6, you need 18 rectangles each measuring about 4cm x 8cm.
- Spread the cream mixture on one of the pieces of pastry. Carefully spoon the stewed rhubarb on top of the cream. Repeat with another piece of pastry and then gently sandwich this layer on top of the first. Add another piece of pastry as a lid.
- Repeat until all your mille-feuille are done, then dust with icing sugar.