This dessert involves making “millefeuille” which is a French pastry invention meaning “a thousand leaves”. The ingredients are much of nothing, so the devil is in entirely the details. Follow the recipe exactly. It is not at all hard, just strictly enforced. And once you have mastered here, you will think of all manner of ways to use it in creating delights of different shapes and using other accompaniments. (Including our Crunchy Pastry Twists !)
For the Flaky Pastry
225g spelt flour
Pinch of salt
Cold water to mix
Pre heat oven to Gas mark 7, 425F, 220C
The butter needs to be very hard, so wrap it in tinfoil and pop it in the freezer for 45-60 minutes.
Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Remove the butter from the freezer & unwrap. Use some of the foil to hold the butter while you grate it coarsely in to the flour. Dip the block of butter into the flour from time to time to stop it getting too sticky. Using a blunt knife, stir the butter into the flour, so that its all coated in flour & evenly distributed. Slowly add cold water and use the knife to bring the dough together. Once the dough leaves the side of the bowl, use your hands briefly to form a ball. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough on a floured surface until its as thin as possible. Cut out squares or any shape you like allowing 2 layers per millfeuille. For a fancy dessert, try 3-it looks amazing.
Use any scraps of pastry for crispy pastry twists.
Place on a parchment lined tin and then cover with another baking sheet. This will prevent the pastry from rising too much. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden brown.
Allow to cool.
For the Rum roasted pineapple
Pre heat the oven to 375F, 180C
Cut a fresh pineapple into small pieces and place in a mixing bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of dark rum, 2 tablespoons light brown sugar and the seeds from a vanilla pod.
Mix well and tip onto a baking sheet. Dot the top of the pineapple with little flecks of butter, about 10g in total.
Roast until the liquid has disappeared and the pineapple is caramelised.
For the finished dessert
Assemble two puff pastry shapes with a generous quantity of fruit and creme fraiche and eat like a sandwich!
Our Tudor Inspiration:
We know that pineapples reached the French and English court during the Tudor era. Most would almost certainly have been bruised and rotten after weeks of travelling from fear way shores so the rare few that made the journey would have been treated like gold. Later, in the mid 17th century, pineapples were grown in hot houses in England but because demand was high & supply low, only the aristocracy could afford them. Thus they immediately became a symbol of luxury and opulence and at banquets. Pineapples were used as decoration & only eaten once they started to rot. There was even a pineapple rental market, where the less well off could ‘borrow’ a fruit to take to a party. Not as a gift for the host but to carry around and show off their ability to afford such an expensive fruit.