The mille feuille is often the pastry that draws the most attention in the shop window, with it’s even layers and beautiful decorations of fruit and some kind of pastry cream. It really is a worthy recipient of all the admiring glances. To me there is something so fine and delicate about this pastry, which is definitely translated into the tastes and textures when you eat it.
The mille feuille, roughly translated as a thousand leaves due to the fine layers of flaky puff pastry, is maybe one of the ultimate elegant patisseries, but can be surprisingly easy to make.
I’ve seen plenty of recipes where puff pastry is cooked and then sliced in half horizontally to make the layers, but you get far more delicate and fine results by following this method of cooking the pastry sandwiched between two baking sheets. This way you get the layers but no rise, giving perfect thin flakey pastry sheets, with no need to slice in half.
For this recipe I have added a layer of caramel to the pastry to give extra flavour and crunch, as well as keeping the crispness to the pastry. There is no need to add this layer, but if you’d like to this is how you make the caramel powder:-
Melt 100g caster sugar until your desired golden colour (this is easiest if you do it in two stages, melting one half to a golden colour, then adding the second half and repeating), stir in 10g dairy-free butter and 1 tsp vanilla paste. Pour onto some baking paper and leave until cool and set. Once fully cold, break into shards and then whizz in a food processor to make a fine powder. This powder keeps for ages in a airtight container and adds a lovely colour and flavour to many a baked item.
Since it’s almost the start of July and we’re in prime berry and Wimbledon season, strawberries had to feature. Besides, I think strawberries are such a beautiful summer fruit, they really compliment the beauty of a mille feuille.
The cream is a ‘cheesecake’ cream and really isn’t terribly sweet – the caramel layer on the pastry does that job, but if you feel like omitting the caramel layer then I’d recommend making the cheesecake cream a bit sweeter.
When i say this recipe is easy, i do really mean it – the pastry requires cutting to size and then baking for 15 minutes with a baking sheet on top, then another 10 with the sheet removed. These are then cooled. Then it’s simply whipping up the cream, piping on blobs (or spreading a layer) of the cream and adding some sliced strawberries. Who would have guessed fine patisserie could be so simple! I do hope you give these a try and let me know what you think?
To make these pastries gluten-free, simply use gluten-free puff pastry and a cream cheese that fit’s your requirements 🙂
If you’d rather, make one large tart, just cook the pastry as a whole sheet and then simply spread the cheese cake cream over the top and place on some pretty rows of sliced strawberries. Ideally slice with a pizza roller to make nice even neat portions. By making one large tart you can serve more people and it’ll still be a wow-worthy dessert!
Strawberry Mille Feuille
- 1 sheet ready rolled puff pastry
- 2 tbsp caramel powder see notes
- 150 g dairy-free cream cheese I use Oatly Creamy spread
- 2-4 tbsp icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla paste
- 12-16 medium sized strawberries
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade
- Unroll the puff pastry and cut into 12 rectangles approx 12cm x 4cm
- Place these spread apart on a lined baking sheet and place another baking sheet on top. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the top sheet and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes until golden and crisp.
- If using the caramel powder, immediately sprinkle this evenly over the cooked pastry and return to the oven for another 3-5 minutes, until a light caramel layer has formed.
- Cool on a wire rack
- Meanwhile, make the cheesecake cream by whisking together the cream cheese and the icing sugar and vanilla. taste and add more sugar if desired. Either place in a piping bag or if spreading, keep in a bowl.
- Slice the strawberries, except for two which will be halved for decoration on the top of the pastries
- Pipe (or spread) some cream onto one layer of pastry, top with strawberry slices, place another layer of pastry on top and repeat. You will end up with a pastry that has three layers of pastry.
- Dust the top with icing sugar, add an extra blob of cream and place a half strawberry on top.
- Keep these pastries in the fridge until ready to eat, and they’re best eaten on the day they’re made, or at a push the next day!