Raspberry Mille Feuille {ModBak}

This week’s recipe for the Modern Baker Challenge is raspberry mille feuille, a light, creamy, custardy dessert. 

Mille feuille (pronounced “meel fwee”) is French for “thousand leaves”, a reference to the many-layered puff pastry that forms the base of this dessert. Like the Napoleons that I made recently, the mille feuille is made with a baked pastry layer. In this case, the filling is a vanilla custard layered with raspberries and whipped cream.

In previous posts, I’ve mentioned my love for King Arthur’s pastry cream mix and noted that I generally use it whenever a recipe calls for pastry cream. This time, however, I decided to follow Nick’s recipe and make my own pastry cream. The recipe called for milk, sugar, cornstarch, egg yolks, butter, and vanilla. It came together quickly and made a delicious pastry cream.

I covered the pastry cream and refrigerated it overnight. The next day, I baked and cooled a pastry layer, whipped some cream, and set about assembling the dessert.

For the baked layers, I cut the puffed pastry into three circles. The recipe called for 9-inch disks, but I made mine smaller, as I was scaling the recipe down.

With my pastry circles, homemade whipped cream, raspberries, and pastry cream at the ready, assembling the mille feuille was a breeze.

I began by putting a dollop of pastry cream on a plate.

I covered the cream with a pastry disk.

Since I would be serving the mille feuille on the same plate, I slid pieces of waxed paper under the disk to keep the plate clean. I covered the pastry layer with pastry cream,…

…added raspberries,…

…then spread whipped cream over the berries.

I repeated the layering and finished with the third baked pastry disk.

Then I compressed the mille feuille, smoothed the filling around the edges, and pressed crushed pieces of pastry dough around the outside.

When I was ready to serve the mille feuille, I topped it with a bit of whipped cream and some raspberries.

The scaled down version, for which I used half recipes each of the pastry cream and whipped cream, yielded six generous servings.

We really enjoyed this dessert. My father-in-law, who happened to drop by while I was putting it together, raved about it. It was easy to assemble, and the results were both visually stunning and delicious. 

This was another over-the-top dessert from The Modern Baker that can make any home cook look like a professional pastry chef. If you don’t have this book on your cookbook shelf, you’re really missing out.

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12 Comments

  1. Melanie said,

    August 23, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Your mille feuille looks awesome! I’m glad you put the pronunciation in there. I always puzzle how to pronounce some of these names for breads, desserts, etc. The step by step assembly pics are great! Do these baked puff pastry layers crumble quite a bit when eating? They look delicious but kind of messy to eat. Just curious.

    • gaaarp said,

      August 23, 2011 at 9:33 pm

      The issue when cutting into them is that the pastry shell is crunchy, while the filling is squishy, so, yes, eating them is a bit of a mess. But, oh, so worth it!

  2. Paul said,

    August 23, 2011 at 12:39 am

    These look delish, Phyl! Dangerously so… Well done. I’m looking forward to hitting these sorts of baked goods soon.

    Question for you: couldn’t you cut the circles out before baking? Or would that damage the dough?

    As an ex-french person, I want to make a slight point on “mille-feuille” – you got the “meel” right, but the “feuille” is more like f-uh-ee-uh. Check it out here: http://www.forvo.com/word/mille-feuille/#fr

    Damn you, now I’m craving a puffy, custard filled treat and there are none to be had.

    • gaaarp said,

      August 23, 2011 at 9:30 pm

      Thanks for the correction on mille feuille, but to tell the truth, it took me so long to get my pronunciation in my head, I don’t know that I can change it now.

      As for cutting out the circles before baking, I think you might have two potential problems: the first would be curling at the edges, as it’s a bit tricky to keep the puff pastry flat when it bakes. The other issue would be size. By cutting them out after the fact, you are guaranteed uniformity. If you cut before baking, they might puff up unevenly.

  3. Abby said,

    August 22, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    This looks perfect! Glad your pastry cream turned out so well…wish I knew what I’d done wrong. Oh well, gives me an excuse to try again! 😉

    • gaaarp said,

      August 22, 2011 at 6:19 pm

      I must have beginner’s (or is it dumb?) luck, since my first several attempts at making homemade pastry cream have worked out fine. I keep reading that the problem a lot of people have is undercooking it.

  4. Margaret said,

    August 22, 2011 at 9:27 am

    These were good weren’t they. I liked the mini versions. just enough for the two of us. Glad the FIL liked. Always a good thing.

    • gaaarp said,

      August 22, 2011 at 6:18 pm

      I’m enjoying the recipes in this section way too much. I think I’m going to have to start taking them to work. It’s just too dangerous to have all these goodies around here.

  5. Kayte said,

    August 22, 2011 at 8:44 am

    I’m not sure I should know how to make these…they look way too tempting. Very nice…thanks for process photos, really nice to have those. How did the homemade pastry cream compare with the KA one?

    • gaaarp said,

      August 22, 2011 at 6:17 pm

      As you might expect, the homemade pastry cream was much better than the premade version; although I’ve never had any complaints about the KAF mix, either.

  6. sallybr said,

    August 22, 2011 at 8:11 am

    wow, this seems like a very involved recipe, but you made it seem very easy and “doable”

    great job, I bet the flavor was out of this world!

    • gaaarp said,

      August 22, 2011 at 6:14 pm

      I’m finding the recipes in the puff pastry section to be involved (i.e., many steps and several sub-recipes), but not particularly difficult. And the results are worth the effort!


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