I used to live outside a tiny little country town that had only one decent grocery store, and calling it decent is even a bit of a push. Many a times I would set off with a very elaborate dinner party menu plan, only to be terribly disappointed by the lack of ingredients in the shop. As frustrating as it was, it did teach me A LOT about substitution and creativity in the kitchen!
So it was the afternoon before a planned dinner party yet again that they had none of the ingredients that I needed for my dessert. I ended up buying strawberries, cream, white chocolate and puff pastry (you can’t go wrong right, all of them very yummy!). So once home I googled recipes with these ingredients and came across Gordon Ramseys’s Strawberry Millefeuille. What I loved about it is that it’s super easy and looks super fancy. It is also not a sickly sweet dessert and the basil just really makes it (yup, I was also a bit apprehensive about that at first).
- plain flour for dusting
- 3 tbsp caster sugar , plus extra for serving
- 350g puff pastry
- 300ml cream
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 600g strawberries
- small bunch of basil, leaves picked, with a few of the smaller leaves left whole for the salad
- zest ½ lemon
- 50g good-quality white chocolate
- Heat oven to 180C fan. On a lightly floured surface scattered with a little sugar, roll out the pastry to a rectangle slightly larger than 28 x 30cm. Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment and scatter with more sugar. Use the rolling pin to lift the pastry onto the baking parchment.
- Scatter more caster sugar over the pastry and cover with another sheet of baking parchment. Lay another heavy baking sheet (or a baking sheet weighed down with an empty ceramic oven dish if yours aren’t heavy) on top and bake for 25-30 mins until the pastry is golden and crisp, then set aside to cool.
- To make the filling, tip the cream into a bowl with 3 tbsp of sugar, and the vanilla. Lightly whisk until the cream just hold its shape and set aside. Hull and cut the strawberries into 3 or 4 chunks. Finely shred the basil, then fold through the cream with the chopped strawberries and lemon zest, then chill until needed.
- When the pastry has cooled completely trim the edges to form a neat 28 x 30cm rectangle. Cut into 3 equal rectangles – to get them precisely the same size, cut one then lay it on the rest of the pastry and use it as a guide to the next rectangle, then repeat.
- To assemble the millefeuille, lay down one rectangle of pastry, add half of the cream and strawberry mix and flatten with the back of a spoon. Place the second pastry layer on top and gently press down. Finely grate over half the white chocolate and top with the remaining cream mix. Place the final layer of pastry on and press down gently so that the filling just starts to bulge over the edges.
- Use a palette knife to smooth the filling along the sides so that it is level with the edges of pastry and fills any gaps. Add a smear of filling across cut pastry edges to help the grated chocolate to stick. Grate chocolate on top. The easiest way to get grated chocolate to stick to the sides is to help it on with a palette knife.
- To serve, carefully slice the millefeuille into 6 equal pieces. As you slice, hold the millefeuille together by placing a finger at either side of the blade.
Recipe adapted from www.bbcgoodfood.com.