What is a Mille Feuille? Celebrity Great British Bake Off’s technical challenge explained

Here's how you make the fancy, French pastry...

Appetizing french millefeuilles raspberry dessert ready to eat

The Great British Bake Off returned tonight with a celebrity special for Stand Up To Cancer, as comedienne Jenny Éclair, Love Island star Ovie Soko, TV presenter Russell Howard and Documentary maker Louis Theroux stepped into the tent.

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For the technical challenge, judge Paul Hollywood asked the celebs to try their hand at making Mille-Feuille – a French puff pastry filled with creme patisserie  and fresh raspberries and topped with fondant icing.

While some couldn’t quite master the fancy, fresh pastry, Jenny rose to the occasion and managed to win the challenge.

So, how do you make it?

Here’s a little guide if you fancy making the delicious treat, and so you don’t get it wrong (like Ovie and Russell)…

What is Mille-Feuille?

Originating from France, a Mille-Feuille is a cream-filled pastry that makes the perfect dessert for impressing dinner guests.

Traditionally, a Mille-Feuille is made up of three layers of puff pastry (pâte feuilletée), alternating with two layers of pastry cream (crème pâtissière). The top pastry layer is dusted with confectioner’s sugar, and sometimes cocoa, pastry crumbs, or pulverized seeds (e.g. roasted almonds).

Alternatively, the top is glazed with icing or fondant in alternating white (icing) and brown (chocolate) stripes, and combed.

On The Great Celebrity Bake Off, the contestants were asked to make four identical Mille-Feuille with a fresh raspberry and cream filling.

How do you make it?

This recipe from bbcgoodfood.com will serve 6 people.

Preparation time: 1hr 20 mins

Cooking time: 30 mins

Ingredients:

For the pastry

  • 200g for plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 175g cold butter cut into 1½ cm cubes
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

For the cream filling

  • crème pâtissière (recipe below)
  • 300g raspberries

Directions:

1. To make the pastry, mix the flour, salt and butter together in a bowl. The butter should remain in cubes for this. Then, make a well in the centre and pour in the lemon juice and 100ml cold water. Mix well, then bring together with your hands.

2. 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.

3. On a floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll the pastry into a rectangle, so that it is three times as long as it is wide (about 15 x 45cm.) Try to keep the edges as straight as possible.

4. Lift the bottom third of the pastry and fold it up and over the middle third. Dust off any excess flour.

5.  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.

6. 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.

7.  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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. Transfer 1 piece of pastry to a serving plate, pipe over blobs of Crème patisserie then top with some raspberries and another layer of pastry.

12. 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 Mille-Feuilles.

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The Great Celebrity Bake Off is on Tuesdays at 8pm, only on Channel 4