- icing sugar, for dusting
For the pastry
- 200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- ¼ tsp salt
- 175g cold butter, cut into 1½ cm cubes
Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…
- 1 tsp lemon juice
For the filling
- crème pâtissière (see tip, below left, for recipe)
- 300g raspberries (or other seasonal berries)
For the pastry, mix the flour, salt and butter together in a bowl - the butter should remain in cubes. Make a well in the centre and pour in the lemon juice and 100ml cold water. Mix well, then bring together with your hands.
Tip the pastry onto a lightly floured surface and briefly knead until smooth. Shape into a rectangle, then wrap in cling film and chill for 30 mins.
On a floured surface, use a rolling pin to ridge and roll (see tip, below left) the pastry into a rectangle, so that it is three times as long as it is wide, about 15 x 45cm. Keep the edges of the pastry as straight as you can.
Lift the bottom third of the pastry and fold it up and over the middle third. Dust off any excess flour.
Fold the top third of the pastry down and over the bottom third, so that you have three layers of pastry in a neat rectangle. Dust off any excess flour. Wrap and chill for 15 mins.
Give the pastry a 90-degree right turn so it faces you like a book. Repeat steps 3-5 four more times, always starting with the pastry facing you as it was after the last fold and giving it a turn. Chill for 30 mins.
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry out to a rough 32cm square. Using a sharp knife, trim the edges to make a neat 30cm square.
Cut the pastry into 3 long strips measuring 30 x 10cm. Transfer to 2 baking sheets lined with baking parchment and chill for 30 mins or until firm.
Top each tray with a sheet of baking parchment, then stack on top of each other. Pop another baking tray on top and weigh down with an ovenproof dish. Bake for 25-30 mins or until golden brown and crisp.
Leave the pastry to cool a little, trim the edges if needed, then cut each sheet into 6 smaller rectangles. You should end up with 18 pieces of pastry measuring about 10 x 5cm.
Transfer 1 piece of pastry to a serving plate, pipe over blobs of Crème patisserie (see recipe tip, below left), then top with some raspberries and another layer of pastry.
Add another layer of Crème patisserie and raspberries. Dust a third piece of pastry with icing sugar, then decorate with more raspberries and pop this on top. Repeat with the remaining pastry to make 6 millefeuilles.
Crème pâtissièreTo make the crème pâtissière, put 300ml whole milk and 1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways, in a pan and heat to just below boiling point. In a bowl, whisk together 3 egg yolks, 4 tbsp caster sugar, 2 tbsp plain flour and 2 tbsp cornflour. Pour the hot milk over the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Return the mixture to the pan and set over a medium heat, whisking all the time, until it has a thick custard consistency. Transfer to a bowl, cover the surface directly with cling film, leave to cool, then chill for at least 1 hr (can be made 2 days ahead). Whip 150ml double cream, then beat a little into the cold custard. Fold through the remaining cream and transfer to a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle. Chill until ready to serve.
Working with puff pastryThe best way to roll the pastry evenly is to use a ridging and rolling technique. Gently tap the pastry with the rolling pin to produce slight ridges and lenthen it, then roll it away from you. Try to roll the pastry as evenly as possible. If the pastry becomes thicker at the ends, tap the edges with the end of the rolling pin to create an even thickness.
Creating the puffThe process of rolling and folding the pastry creates lots of layers. During the cooking process, the water in the pastry turns to steam. The air trapped between the layers expands, causing them to separate, rise up and create the 'puff'. By flattening the pastry during cooking, you'll still achieve the delicate layers, but without as much air trapped in between.
Pastry tipsKeep the sides of the pastry as straight as possible when rolling out.Keep the pastry moving so that it doesn't stick to the work surface. If it gets stuck, use a palette knife to loosen it.If it becomes hard to work with, just pop it in the fridge to chill for 15 mins, then continue where you left off.Always use a sharp knife when cutting layered pastry, and make sure that you don't drag the knife through it, as this will destroy all the layers you have created.When the pastry is cooking, do not open the door during the first 15 mins, or it may not rise properly.