As I mentioned yesterday, my plans for today's SHF organised by A la cuisine have gone out of the window a little bit... I won't lie, I've always been scared of making my own puff pastry, it seems such a time-consuming effort and I am not convinced it makes that much difference. Whether my fellow foodbloggers will prove me wrong today, I am curious to see!
So I went to the supermarket instead. Bought a plain, fresh, but bog-standard pack of puff pastry. Even ready rolled! Because the one thing that's missing in my kitchen is a proper rolling pin. Mine is 15 years old and from IKEA - now, I can positively warn you that you should never, ever buy anything there which is not flat packed. A cobbler should stick to his last! And sticking is exactly what the dough does when I roll it with this stupid pin!
For the longest time I have been wanting to re-create a delicious cake that I had the last time I went to Vienna. Sitting in the beautiful surroundings of the Palmenhaus in the Burggarten, I sampled two delicious and quite unusual cakes. This provided the idea for today's recipe, although I am not even approximating what I had back then. I used puff pastry (today's theme) instead of shortcrust pastry and sponge, and the white chocolate mousse is also not original. I think they just use some cream strengthened with gelatine, whereas I followed a tip from my Mum, melting chocolate in cream, cooling and then whipping it up the following day. The topping turned out very nicely - thin almond slivers, roasted and then "glued" together in a mixture of butter, juice and honey... although I was very happy with the outcome of my baking adventure, I will still try and get closer to what I enjoyed so much in the Palmenhaus - with the sponge and shortcrust, you could even make a big birthday cake out of it, rather than individual desserts... I like puff pastry, don't get me wrong, but in this setup, it can be a messy business and not something you want to serve at a formal dinner party...
If you want more yummy recipes involving puff pastry, savoury and sweet, try:
Aubergine, pine nut & goats cheese puffs
Salmon & caviar scrambled egg tartlets
Roast red onion & fennel tartlets
Caramelised mushroom tart
Quick “pizza” with artichokes, tomatoes & parmesan
Plum tarte tatin with caramelised walnuts
Baked apple & white chocolate mousse millefeuille
(makes 4 generous individual millefeuilles)
1.5 (375 g each) packs ready-rolled puff pastry (or 500 g home-made)
For the white chocolate mousse:
284 ml whipping cream
200 g white chocolate
For the baked apple filling:
5 apples (cored, not peeled)
For the almond topping:
50 g flaked almonds
40 g butter
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp orange juice (use apple, if you have)
Prepare the mousse a day ahead. You can actually prepare all the four components except the almond topping beforehand and only assemble at the last minute. Melt the white chocolate in the cream using a bain marie or in a mixing bowl over boiling water. Stir well, cover and cool in the fridge overnight.
Arrange the cored apples in an heat-proof dish and pop into the oven for 45 minutes, at 150 C. When they have completely softened, leave to cool until safe to handle, remove the skin and scrape out the baked apple. Mash up with a fork. (At this point you can add some sugar of your apples are quite tart.)
Using a pastry cutter or a cereal bowl, cut 12 rounds out of the puff pastry, arrange on a non-stick baking tray, cover with parchment paper, put another (the heavier the better) baking tray above to sit tightly on the pastry rounds and weigh down with some more dishes or a brick. You want the pastry to bake and brown, but not rise too much. Bake for 10 minutes at 200 C, uncover the pastry rounds, bake for another 5 minutes of so until evenly browned, then remove and leave to cool on a wire rack.
Dry-roast the flaked almonds in a non-stick pan until starting to brown.
When ready to serve, whip the white chocolate cream until stiff. Melt the butter in a pan, add the honey and juice and leave to foam for about 2 minutes. Add the almonds and leave to cool slightly.
Assemble the millefeuilles using a layer of pastry, a quarter of the apple mash, a layer of pastry, the white chocolate mousse and a final layer of pastry. Top with a tablespoon full of the almond mixture and serve immediately.