Chocolate millefeuille with burnt white chocolate cream

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 12 people

  • For dusting: pure icing sugar, sieved
  •  
  • Chocolate puff pastry
  • 500 gm (3⅓ cups) plain flour
  • 10 gm fine sea salt
  • 400 gm butter, coarsely chopped
  • 600 ml milk
  • 150 gm Dutch-process cocoa, sieved
  •  
  • Slow-cooked quince
  • 500 gm caster sugar
  • 4 quince, quartered, cored, peel and cores reserved
  •  
  • Burnt white chocolate cream
  • 500 gm white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1.3 litres pouring cream
01   For chocolate puff pastry, process flour and salt in a food processor to combine. Add 50gm butter, process to combine, then add milk and process until a dough forms. Form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight to rest. Beat cocoa and remaining butter in an electric mixer to combine, then form into a 15cm square (this is called a paton) and refrigerate until firm (3-4 hours). Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a 30cm square, stretching corners out slightly. Place butter squarely in centre of pastry and turn 45 degrees. Fold corners of dough in over butter to enclose, pinch to seal, then roll out to a 25cm x 50cm rectangle. Fold one short side in to centre, fold opposite side in to meet it, then fold in half to form a book. Roll out to a 25cm x 50cm rectangle, repeat folding, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest (4 hours). Repeat folding and rolling twice more, rest for another 4 hours, then repeat. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze until required (defrost in refrigerator overnight before using).
02   Preheat oven to 180C. Roll out chocolate puff pastry on a lightly floured surface to an 8mm-thick rectangle, then trim edges to form a 25cm x 35cm rectangle and place on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to rest, prick all over with a fork, then bake until well puffed (1 hour). Reduce oven to 120C and bake until crisp and dry (2½-3 hours). Cool slightly on tray, then cool completely on a wire rack. Pastry will keep in an airtight container for 2 days.
03   Meanwhile, for slow-cooked quince, stir sugar and 1 litre of water in a saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, add quince, reserved peels and cores, bring to the simmer, reduce heat to low and simmer very gently until deep red and tender (2-3 hours). Cool to room temperature, discard skin and cores, then refrigerate until required.
04   For burnt white chocolate cream, preheat oven to 120C. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl and place in oven, stirring occasionally until dark caramel in colour (1½-2 hours; chocolate will seize and then change colour as it caramelises). Bring 300ml cream to the boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, remove from heat, add burnt chocolate, process with a hand-held blender until emulsified, then cool to room temperature. Whisk remaining cream in a separate bowl until soft peaks form (1-2 minutes) and fold in chocolate mixture.
05   To serve, split pastry in three horizontally with a bread knife. Place base on serving platter, spread lavishly with burnt white chocolate cream, top with another piece of pastry, then repeat, finishing with a layer of pastry. Dust with icing sugar if desired and serve with slow-cooked quince.
This recipe is from the June 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.
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