Say it with us: ‘mill-fwee’. Now that you know how to pronounce the name of this flaky puff pastry dessert, know that it means ‘a thousand layers’ in French. By using pre-rolled, frozen, paper-thin filo pastry (as opposed to making your own puff pastry from scratch) that is conveniently folded and cut to size, this cheat’s version of the classic confection is as elegant and delicious as its fussier, original version. Why use store-bought filo (often used in Greek cuisine) instead of the traditional puff pastry? Because it's less finicky than the latter, which you'd have to roll out thinly, then cut and weigh down with another baking tray and weights on top. In other words, filo pastry gives you wispy thin layers with much less work. Sounds good to us.
Mille-Feuille with Raspberries
100g fresh raspberries
3 tbsp good raspberry jam
For the pastry:
6 sheets filo pastry, thawed (try the brand Pampas)
30g melted unsalted butter
For the Chantilly cream:
¾ cup whipping cream, well chilled
½ a vanilla bean pod, seeds only
4 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
• Preheat oven to 175°C. Place a sheet of filo on a clean worktop or cutting board and brush with melted butter. Place the next sheet of filo on top of the buttered sheet and brush with melted butter again. Repeat with the rest of the filo sheets.
• Cut the filo stack into three (or as many as the stack will yield) 3.5cm by 6cm rectangles and place on a baking tray. Bake for 10 mins, or until golden-brown. Cool completely before using. You can do this a day in advance and store baked sheets in an airtight container.
• To make Chantilly cream, whisk all its ingredients together until soft peaks form. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a plain tip (or to a clean zipper bag, and snip off a small hole on one tip).
• To assemble, place a piece of filo on a plate. Spread a thin layer of raspberry jam on it, then pipe large dots of Chantilly cream over it. Top with a few fresh raspberries. Repeat and top with a final piece of filo.
• Dust with icing sugar and garnish with fresh raspberries.
Photo: Ealbert Ho