These traditional French pastry is also known as Napoleons or custard slices, depending on where in the world you order it. It’s a simple dessert made from crisp layers of puff pastry and creamy filling. It can be topped with a layer of icing, usually poured fondant swirled with melted chocolate. You can alternate fillings inside the layers using multiple textures (like pairing jam with the cream) and you can incorporate garnishes, like fresh fruit inside or on top.
- one (17.3 oz) package puff pastry, thawed
- 1 1/3 cup whole milk
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 tbsp corn starch
- 1 tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 1/2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp gelatin
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2–3 pints of strawberries (optional)
- strawberries, powdered sugar and pistachio for decorating (optional)
Put 1 1/3 cup of milk in a pot and slowly bring to a simmer. In a separate bowl, combine egg yolks, corn starch, flour, and sugar. Mix well. Slowly pour the hot milk into the egg and starch mixture while whisking until the milk is fully incorporated. Pour the milk and egg mixture back to the pot and using a whisk, continue to mix until it starts to thicken. Remove the pot off the stove and continue to whisk till all the lumps are gone.
Meanwhile, take out the chilled pastry cream from the refrigerator and mix in the heavy cream. Slowly add in the liquid gelatin while whisking. Whisk to a soft whipped cream consistency. Keep it in the refrigerator to firm up the cream.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Take a half of thawed puff pastry. Roll out the dough to 9 x 12 inch rectangle and 1/4 inch thick. Place the puff pastry on a sheet tray and poke holes using a fork. Fill the entire pastry puff with holes. This prevents the pastry puff from puffing up too much. Bake it for 5 – 10 minutes until golden brown. Let it cool before cutting it into 12 rectangles, each sized to approximately 2.5″x 3″. Make one more puff pastry to get 24 pieces of puff pastries cut into rectangles.
Take the chilled pastry cream and put it in a pastry bag with a round tip. Take a puff pastry and place pipe. Start assembling the mille-feuille. Take a puff pastry and place pipe 8 dollops of the pastry cream. Place strawberries and dab a small amount at the bottom of the fruit to ensure it will sit securely on the first layer of the puff pastry. Place a second puff pastry on top of the fruit and sprinkle the top with powdered sugar. Decorate with some sliced strawberries and chopped pistachio.
Refrigerate for 1 hour to let it set before slicing and serving. To store, keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.