It goes without saying that this puff pastry should be shop bought, but I’m not sure if that was stipulated in the original recipe. Because everyone else calls them Mille Feuille (pronounced Meal-Foy), that’s what we’ve got to call them too. Though they end up quite stunning and extremely Frenchlooking, they don’t involve nearly as much faff as you might think.
Let’s break it down: Puff pastry. Set custard (it sounds so much easier than ‘Crème Patissiere’, the other name for it). Raspberries. Icing sugar. All the rest is assembly, and just wait until you try replicating my crisscross pattern on top - you won’t believe how easy it is. I’m afraid you’ll need a gas hob or a blowtorch, though.
First, preheat your oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4. Seek out two flat baking trays, and you’ll need some baking paper too.
Unfurl your puff pastry (or roll it out using plenty of flour if you got a block). Tear off a square of baking paper and use it to line one of your trays. Place the pastry on top, then another layer of baking paper. Finally, put your other tray on top.
Bake the pastry for 25-30 minutes, or until a dark golden brown. Meanwhile, make the custard - start by separating the eggs. Place the yolks in a bowl with the corn flour, caster sugar and vanilla, and mix these together until smooth.
Place your milk in a pan over a medium heat and bring to the simmer. Once bubbling, add half to your yolky mixture and mix this together quickly. Then, add this back into your pan and return it to the heat. Stirring all the time, keep heating until it thickens. Remove from the heat, add the butter, mix and set aside..
Once your pastry is cooked, slice it into identical rectangles - the size will depend on how many you want. You need three rectangles for each mille feuille.
Assemble. Gently dollop (or pipe, using a piping bag or freezer bag) crème pat down the length of two rectangles, and then line the sides with raspberries. Put one on top of the other, and top with a final rectangle of pastry. Repeat, dusting your finished slices with icing sugar.
For a final flourish, you can get a crisscross pattern by heating a metal kebab skewer (or other straight, thin piece of metal) over a gas hob or with a blowtorch, then just touching it gently on your icing sugar tops. Repeat and reheat as necessary - practice makes perfect!
Because these are baked in one big sheet, the baking time is the same no matter what size of mille feuille you are after. I like nice big ones, like you’d want for a dessert, but these would also work as wee sweet canapés.