Saturday, November 3, 2012

 Our October 2012 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Suz of Serenely Full. Suz challenged us to not only tackle buttery and flaky puff pastry, but then take it step further and create a sinfully delicious Mille Feuille dessert with it!
                        
Well, not quite puffed but sure delicious in this vanilla, chocolate and pear version. 
 
                        (four 6x12 servings)
                        Puff pastry
                        --- Butter block
                        300gr                                               margarine
                        6gr                                                  lemon juice
                        75gr                                                bread flour
                        --- Dough
                        13gr                                                  salt
                        272gr                                                water, cold
                        57gr                                                  butter, cold
                        4gr                                                    lemon juice
                        145gr                                                cake flour
                        375gr                                                bread flour

                        White chocolate pastry cream
                        450gr                                                  milk
                        90gr                                                    sugar
                        54gr                                                    flour
                        90gr                                                    eggs
                        1/3                                                     vanilla pod
                        90gr                                                    white chocolate

                        Chocolate layer
                        2                                                         eggs, room temperature
                       38gr                                                     sugar
                       57gr                                                     chocolate

                       Poached pears
                       4                                                          small pears
                      175ml                                                    water
                      130ml                                                    white wine
                      15ml                                                      passion fruit juice or orange juice
                      160gr                                                     sugar
                      1tsp                                                       lemon zest
                      1/2Tbsp                                                 orange zest
                      4                                                           mint leaves
                      1/5                                                        vanilla pod
 

Prepare the puff pastry a day earlier  starting with the dough. Shift both flours together on a kneading surface, add the butter in chunks and cut it into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and pour in most of the water with the salt dissolved in it. Combine the dry with the liquid ingredient and adjust the consistency with the addition of the remaining water. The dough should be fairly sticky while holding together, rough looking and should be kneaded as little as possible. Then let it rest in the fridge for at least 30min. For the butter block work by hand the margarine with flour and lemon juice until pliable but not melted and shape a 15x15cm square. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm. At a point were the dough and butter block have the same consistency, roll the dough into a 23x23cm square and place the butter block in the center so that its corners are aligned with the midpoint of each dough side. Pull up the corners of the dough and join their peaks on top and in the center of the butter block. Pinch the edges together to seal completely the butter. First press and then roll the dough with a rolling pin into a 30x40cm rectangle working it as little as possible. Then conceivably divide the the long dimension in thirds and fold the dough by bringing the outer thirds towards the center and one on top of the other while brushing the excess flour between the layers. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for 30min. Next, by rolling the folded dough the first  turn is completed. Repeat the same process three more times and fold the final dough one last time leting it folded to rest in the fridge  overnight.

 
For the poached pears first peal them, cut them in half and place them in a saucepan with the rest of the ingredients. Boil for approximately 30min until just tender checking occasionally with a fork. To make the pastry cream warm milk with vanilla in a saucepan and whisk the eggs with flour and sugar in a separate bowl. Just before boiling, pour one third of the milk into to eggs whisking constantly and combine the mixture with the rest of the milk over heat. Keep whisking until thick and boiling and then remove from heat. When not too hot but still warm enough add the white chocolate and stir to dissolve. When cool, cover with plastic and keep in fridge. For the chocolate layer melt the chocolate over a bain marie and beat with a hand whisker the yolks with 10gr sugar until thin ribbon stage. While beating the yolks whisk the egg whites with the rest of the sugar in meringue. When beaten, the yolks should be quite warm. So if they are still cold from the fridge, give them a few whisks over the bain marie. Finally add in the melted chocolate and combine. Whisk in part of the meringue to soften the mixture and then fold carefully the rest with a spatula. Spread the batter on a parchment paper sheet covering -as much as you can since the batter is quite runny- just a 12x24cm rectangle and bake at a preheated oven to 190C for 8-10min.  When ready and cool cut to four 6x12cm pieces. For the puff pastry roll the dough just to combine the folded layers and keep a portion needed for a 38x26 rectangle 3mm thick. Roll it to that dimensions, dock with a fork and let rest 20min at room temperature. Then bake at a preheated oven to 190C for 12-14min, an additional 15-20min covered with parchment paper and a cooling rack on top and finally 30 more minutes at 180C without the paper. Let cool and cut 12 6x12cm rectangles, 3 layers for each serving. Spread a little pastry cream on the bottom one to place the chocolate layer on top and repeat it on its surface. Place the second puff pastry layer and pipe some pastry cream near the its sides. Fill the center with the half of each pear cut to slices and cover with more cream. Finish with the last puff pastry piece and ether spread some cream for the leftover crumbs to stick, ether dust with powered sugar and caramelize with a torch. Decorate with the remaining pear half and optionally garnish with puff pastry lattice.             

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