Rhubarb and Vanilla Mille Feuille

By Cassie

Do you remember the hard rhubarb and custard candies from back in the day?

For me, it was 1998 and mama used to allow me to spend some of my pocket money at the tuck shop around the corner from our house. Boy did I feel like a strong independent black woman doing my own shopping! Without fail, the rhubarb and custard candies always made it into my little 40 cent selection bag. So fast forward to 2016, and I have managed to channel my nostalgia into a dessert. 

A simple, yet sophisticated rhubarb and vanilla custard mille feuille. This dessert has crispy layers of buttery puff pastry, velvety vanilla creme patisserie; and tangy rhubarb. The flavors marry together in an impressive fashion, sure to wow those you choose to gift the mille feulle to. And yes, you can gift it to yourself and yourself only without shame!

The recipe makes enough for 4, so add it to your repertoire and thank me later!

For the pastry:

A pack of 13oz (375g) ready rolled puff pastry

Method:

Preheat oven to 355 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).

Cut the pastry into 12 rectangles measuring 2in x 4in (5cm x 10cm) and place on a lined baking tray. Atop the cut rectangles, place a sheet of grease-proof paper and top with another baking tray (this stops the pastry puffing too much)

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown.

For the vanilla crème patisserie:

1/2 Cup (500ml) whole milk

3.5oz (100g) caster sugar

6 egg yolks

1.4oz (40g) cornflour

1 vanilla pod

Method:

1.       Scrape vanilla pod into the milk and slowly bring to the boil over a medium heat.

2.       Meanwhile, whisk the sugar and cornflour in a bowl to get rid of lumps.

3.       Then add the egg yolks and whisk till well combined.

4.       When the milk has boiled, add to the bowl in a slow stream whilst whisking; then transfer back into the pan and lower heat.

5.       The mixture will thicken, but with constant whisking, it will loosen pretty quickly.

6.       Once cooked mixture will register 181 degrees Fahrenheit (83 degrees Celsius), remove from the pan and pour into a container. (if you do not have a kitchen thermometer, whisk for about 5 minutes until the crème releases a bubble or two)

7.       Cover with cling film – touching the surface – to prevent a skin forming. Then allow to chill in the fridge.

For the rhubarb:

8 sticks of rhubarb

3.5oz (100g) caster sugar 

Method:

Cut the rhubarb into 4in (10cm) pieces and toss in the sugar.

Place in a baking tray and bake with the pastry for 10-20 minutes, or until tender but not mushy. The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your rhubarb.

Assembly:

Layer your components starting with a rectangle of pastry on a serving plate; then lay 3-4 sticks of rhubarb on the pastry. Next, place another rectangle over the rhubarb and pipe crème patisserie on top of that. Finally, add the third and final rectangle. Dust with icing sugar and serve immediately.

Yum! Enjoy!