Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Caramelized Chocolate Mille-Feuille with Strawberries

Do you feel that wind, do you smell it, do you taste it? That wind that autumn brings along her way.
The wind changes with seasons, with moods and thoughts. You could ride it sometimes, you know, or at least you think you could do so. But you could never tame it and it would never be yours.
I like it to be in my hair although sometimes I have this creepy feeling it could blow me away. Sometimes the wind teases me and tickles my ego, makes me think I could run with it or even better - I could outrun it. And then it changes its direction, all of a sudden. Bam. You stand still there in dismay and this is not your path any more, or was it ever? For a moment that looks so long you are lost in all the thoughts in your head. But then you are able to feel it again. This elusive but mesmerizing feeling that the wind calls you in attempt to seduce you once more. And you obey and start chasing after it one more time. And running along your way you feel safe again. With the wind on your side. With the wind in your hair.
It's only not to forget that it does not belong to you. It can't be tamed. But it could be a good friend of yours. No matter it would change its directions most unexpectedly. Bam. Just like that. To test you, maybe. Whether you can still feel it's breath. But it will be nearby, be aware. It will be there. Again in your hair.

Of course, the above has nothing to do with the recipe today. These were just some thoughts of mine from these rainy melancholic days which I needed to share. Or maybe, there is a linkage stronger than you thought as mille-feuilles are so fragile and brittle as if built by the wind.

Chocolate Mille-Feuille with Strawberries Recipe:
Makes 6

For the Caramelized Chocolate Pâte Feuilletée
Adapted from Pierre Hermé's Larousse du Chocolat

  • 140 gr all purpose flour;
  • 60 gr cold water;
  • 2 gr salt;
  • 23 gr butter (melted and cooled);
    • 140 gr butter;
    • 17 gr cocoa powder (we used Dutch processed);
      • granulated sugar for caramelizing – 1- 2 Tbsp.
      Combine flour and salt, then add water and melted and cooled butter. Mix with your hand or stand mixer equipped with dough hook until dough forms, then a further more couple of minutes in order to develop the gluten of the dough.
      Form the dough as a rectangle, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for an hour.
      Meanwhile, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter till smooth but still cold. Then add in the sifted cocoa powder and mix until it's totally absorbed. Wrap in plastic, trying to form a rectangle smaller than the one from the dough. Chill in the fridge.
      Lightly dust the counter top with flour. Roll the dough rectangle from the four sides forming a cushion mat in the middle. Lay the butter on that mat and fold the all four sides of the dough sealing the butter inside. Roll the dough out then fold it like you would fold a business letter. Rotate the “letter” short side down, roll and fold again. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for an hour to chill.
      Repeat the rolling-folding procedure 5-6 more times with at least half an hour interval after each procedure. When all the folding is done, the dough could be refrigerated overnight or used the same day.
      Preheat the oven to 230ºC.
      On a lightly floured counter top, roll the dough out to a rectangle with thickness of approximately 4mm. At this point we divided the dough in two – one for Ivan and the other one – for me to work with.
      Ivan did as the recipe said – placed his whole sheet of pate feuilletee on a lined with paper sheetpan. As for me – I've cut mine to equal rectangles first. But honestly, I find the whole sheet method gave better results.
      Sprinkle sugar over the pate feuilletee, place it in the oven and reduce the temperature to 190C. Bake for around 8-10 minutes (depends if you bake a whole sheet or small rectangles) after which place a cooling rack on top of the pate feuilletee to prevent it from rising too much. Thus way, bake for 8 to 10 more minutes.
      Remove from the oven. Augment the temperature to 230C again. Place a sheet of parchment paper over the pate feuilletee and flip it over helping yourself with another sheetpan. Remove the top parchment. Now the sugared side should be toward the bottom. Place in the oven again and bake for further 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
      Cut into equal rectangles. After all these baking procedures you see why it was easier to bake one whole pastry sheet instead of already cut rectangles. Besides, after cutting, the whole sheet made better, somehow flakier section.

      For the Pastry Cream:
      • 500 ml milk;
      • 1/2 vanilla pod;
      • 3 egg yolks;
      • 100 gr granulated sugar;
      • 40 gr corn starch;
      • 25gr butter.
      Dissolve starch into a little bit of water. Combine yolks, sugar and starch mixture and beat until pale.
      In a small saucepan bring milk and scraped vanilla pod to a simmer. Remove the pod and pour milk in a thin stream over the yolk mixture beating all the time. Return the mixture into the saucepan and cook to 85ºC (until it thickens). Cool in an ice water bath and when the temperature drops to 60C, stir in the butter Cover tightly with plastic foil in order not to form skin. Leave to cool completely before using it.

      For the Strawberries:
      Ivan wanted to use whole strawberries but since these were huge he had to cut them in quarters.
      I went on with strawberry jelly:
      • 260 gr pureed strawberries;
      • 30 gr sugar;
      • 3 gr agar agar in powder.
      Bring strawberry puree up to a simmer. Combine the sugar and the agar agar powder and add them to the puree. Stir while simmering for a couple more minutes till all the sugar and agar are dissolved. Pour into a 10cm ring laid over a silpat or parchment paper. Leave it to set. It will set even at room temperature since the agar starts to jellify at around 40C.
      When the jelly is firm, use a 1,5cm ring to cut rounds. Then cut each round in two.

      To assemble:
      Lay a caramelized chocolate pate feuilletee rectangle, pipe some pastry cream and arrange strawberries or strawberry jelly. Repeat and finish with a pastry rectangle. Dust some icing sugar on top.


      1. i like your pictures and would like to invite you to share them on

      2. I am totally in awe with your patience and skill here. Fabulous.

      3. Your recipe needs a lot of skill. I have not tried fragile assembly techniques, at least not yet. I am keeping a copy of your recipe though. I have always liked strawberries matched with anything chocolatey. Perfect! I'll keep this recipe and I swear I'll try this soon...Thanks!

      4. wow, these are so gorgeous! and strawberries and chocolate is a match made in heaven!

        Sweet Sarah french macarons and more

      5. The more time I spend on your blog the more I like it. Sooo many amzing recipes! I wish my browser could download this Mille-Feuille from the screen :-). So glad I found your site!

        I would like to invite you to share your recipes on RecipeNewZ - we are a new photo based recipe sharing community. Hundreds of bloggers have already joined and shared thousands of recipes. It would be a pleasure seeing your beautiful creations there. And hopefully we could help more lucky foodies discover your blog :-)

      6. fabulous, :D
        you did a great job making the sheet..
        but i always had problem with pastry, when i placed the butter inside the dough, and rolled it up, somehow the butter is out of the skin of the dough, i wonder whats wrong ? would you mind to give me some advice ? please ><

        1. Initially I had a couple of failures with the puff pastry too but then I found the perfect (at least for me) folding technique.
          See here

          for further details. Helene (Tartelette) shows the process explicitly. I hope this will help you.



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