I'm all about the fruit right now. Can't get enough of it. I keep buying peaches by the bucket-load (I've probably had about 3 peaches in my entire life before now) and bright berries wherever I see them. I know time is not on my side and these days of the most beautifully ripe fruit are on their way out, paving the way for more autumnal wares. I also can't get enough of drinking bellinis in the sunshine (see, yet more peaches!)
Today I'm loving raspberries. Paired with pistachio cream and puff pastry in these delightful little millefeuilles. Traditionally they have three layers and are filled with pastry cream -- mine have two layers (I find three a little cumbersome to eat in polite company!!) and are filled with double cream whipped together with a little icing sugar and homemade pistachio paste. I cheated with the puff pastry (store bought) but made the pistachio paste from scratch.
The pistachio paste is super easy and you'll have plenty left over for other creations -- a definite win in my book! The shelled pistachios are ground in a food processor and then mixed with water and vegetable oil to create the paste. It's that easy!
The puff pastry is cooked in a giant sheet and then cut into smaller rectangles. I sprinkle it with icing sugar before it goes into the oven so that the sugar melts and leaves a lovely sweet surface over the pastry. The pastry puffs up in the oven revealing its amazing mille-feuille (1000 leaves, literally).
I wanted something a little lighter than traditional pastry cream so I whipped double cream and icing sugar with the pistachio paste. I first piped a layer onto half of the rectangles, then dotted three raspberries on top and filled in the gaps with more piped cream. This is then topped with another layer of pastry and dusted with icing sugar.
They feel very rich and indulgent but at the same time quite light and summery with the fresh raspberries. They would be lovely for lunch of afternoon tea but should be assembled close to when they're being eaten. You can, of course, make all the components in advance and build them just before serving, which has the benefit of making you look like a seasoned pro as you whip them up in a few minutes :)
Raspberry & Pistachio Mille-feuille
- 200G SHELLED PISTACHIOS
- 5 TSP WATER
- 2 TSP VEGETABLE OIL
- 500G PUFF PASTRY (store-bought)
- 5 TBSP ICING SUGAR plus extra for dusting
- 400ML DOUBLE CREAM
- 18 RASPBERRIES
- Place the shelled pistachios into a food processor and add 2 tsp water
- Start the food processor on slow until the nuts start to break up and then gradually increase the speed
- Gradually add the further 4 tsps of water until you start to get a paste
- Then add the 2 tsp vegetable oil
- Keep going with the food processor until you have the consistency of a paste — it will take around 15-20 mins and won’t be completely smooth
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees (fan)
- Roll your puff pastry into a rectangle, around 12 x 9 inches and place it onto a lined baking tray
- Sieve 1 tbsp icing sugar across the surface of the pastry until the whole sheet is covered
- Bake for 8 minutes
- Reduce the temperature to 180 degrees and bake for around 15 minutes until it looks golden and glazed
- Keep an eye on your pastry as you don’t want it to burn, but you want to see the layers of puff pastry rise nicely — this may mean cooking it for less time or longer but don’t worry about this as long as your pastry doesn’t burn
- Remove from the oven and trim your pastry into a 12 x 9 inch rectangle
- Then cut down this rectangle into 2 x 3 inch rectangles
- A tip I’ve found is that if you remove them from the oven and cut them, then find the layers aren’t quite as risen as you’d like (you don’t want any uncooked dough in-between the layers), you can pop them back in the oven and bake them a little longer — it’s preferable not to do this, but it's a rescue if you need it!
- Place the rectangles onto a cooling tray
- Once cool, prepare your cream
- Whip the double cream until you have medium stiff peaks, then add 4 tbsp icing sugar and 4 tbsp pistachio paste (feel free to add a little more of less according to taste)
- Chill the cream in a pastry bag until you're ready to use it
- To assemble, take one puff pastry triangle and spread a thin layer of the pistachio cream across the base (I used an Ateco 128 nozzle if you have one but you could use a palette knife or similar)
- Repeat with 5 more of the rectangles
- Place the remaining cream in a piping bag with a nozzle attached (a round or star one would work but if you don't have these, just snip of the bottom of your pastry bag the size of a 10p piece)
- Pipe 3 dots of cream onto the rectangle and then add 3 raspberries
- Top with another layer of pastry and then add a dusting of icing sugar across the surface
- These should be assembled just before eating otherwise they need to be stored in the fridge which tends to harden the pastry and cream
- Enjoy a beautiful patisserie dessert that will have your friends and family thinking you'd slaved all afternoon in the kitchen ;-)