Rhubarb & Custard Mille Feuille

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By Darren Purchese

Rhubarb and custard is a classic combo and one that pairs brilliantly in this fancy looking, but simple dessert. The flavours are enhanced by vanilla in the custard and lemon verbena sugar which we used in the rhubarb instead of straight sugar. The lemon verbena sugar was something we made at the end of summer, dried verbena leaves were stored in a jar with caster sugar and the fragrant flavour slowly imparts over time as we head into Autumn and Winter.

Such a beautiful and ethereal dessert that is made all the better with homemade puff pastry. Rhubarb is absolutely delicious when cooked just right, that is not too mushy and certainly not crunchy. This will take a bit of practice and I always cook a decent amount of rhubarb, not just enough for this dessert but extra for all sort of yummy things. When I over cook rhubarb, it can still be used but I pop it in a jar and store it in the fridge for use on top of my porridge for breaky.

Cream diplomat is a combination of smooth, thick and rich pastry cream and unsweetened whipped cream to make a light and just pipe-able custard perfect for these sorts of desserts.

 

You can of course use store bought puff pastry but if you have the time then give it a go one day, you can really taste the difference and the workout will alleviate any guilt tucking into this.

 

Time

1

hour

30

minutes

Degree of Difficulty

Medium

Save

0

Portions

4
servings

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Ingredients

Servings

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VANILLA PASTRY CREAM

300g milk
80g egg yolks (approx. 4 large yolks)
5g vanilla paste
60g caster sugar
20g corn flour
20g flour
50g unsalted butter

CRèME DIPLOMAT

250g vanilla pastry cream
175g cream thickend

POACHED RHUBARB

4 large rhubarb sticks
200g caster sugar * lemon verbena sugar
350g water
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways and seed scraped
 q.s. red food colour, water soluble

MILLE FEUILLE

6 discs of rolled puff pastry, 75 mm diameter and 3 – 4 mm thick

FINISH

125g icing sugar
 sprigs mint or baby lemon verbena
1

Put the milk and vanilla in a saucepan… and heat to a simmer. Set aside.

 

2

Mix the sugar, cornflour and yolks together… well with a whisk until the mixture pales and thickens.

 

3

Mix all together… pour one third of the hot milk onto the yolk mixture and mix well with a whisk. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk and mix well with a whisk.

 

4

Cook out gently… place the pan back onto a low to medium heat and whisk constantly while cooking the custard until it starts to boil and bubble. Cook at this temperature for a full minute stirring vigorously the entire time.

 

5

Transfer the pastry cream… into a bowl of an electric stand mixer. Beat in the butter by hand using a spatula or using the paddle in an electric stand mixing machine and then transfer to a container and chill in the fridge.

 

6

For the crème diplomat… beat the pastry cream smooth with a spatula by hand or in an electric stand mixer bowl fitted with the paddle. Whip the thickened cream to thick ribbons and fold the two creams well together. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle. Store in the fridge until ready to assemble.

 

7

To prepare the rhubarb… wash the sticks and cut them into 10 cm long pieces. Set aside.

 

8

To poach the rhubarb… pour the 350 ml of water and the sugar into a saucepan. Add the vanilla seeds and scraped pod and bring all to the boil over a high heat. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 3 – 4 minutes until it forms a light syrup.

 

9

Pour the syrup into a baking dish… and add the rhubarb pieces. Cover with foil and poach gently for about 15 – 30 minutes (depending on how firm the rhubarb is, the size of your baking dish and oven) until just soft. Remove from the oven and lift the foil, at this stage you can add a few drops of red food colour of you wish to dye the rhubarb and syrup. Give it a mix and put the foil back on, leave to cool on the bench before refrigerating for an hour.

 

10

Make a thickened syrup… pour 100 ml of the rhubarb poaching syrup into a small saucepan and place on a high heat. Bring to a rapid boil and cook to reduce the syrup to a thicker consistency. This syrup will need to be reduced by around 50% for the correct consistency, watch the pan the whole time as it will reduce very quickly. Set the syrup aside to cool.

 

11

For the pastry discs… preheat the oven to 200C and prepare a flat baking tray with baking paper or a silicone mat. Place the six discs of pastry well-spaced apart onto the tray and put them into the oven. Cook for 12 minutes before opening the oven and turning the tray around. Reduce the temperature to 180C and cook for a further 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely before assembly.

 

12

To assemble… cut each cooled disc of pastry through the middle with a serrated knife to create a top and a bottom. Set aside the twelve pieces of pastry. We will use three pieces of pastry per dessert so twelve pieces will make 4 desserts.

 

13

Pipe diplomat cream… onto the centre of a serving plate, place a disc of pastry (flat side down) onto the cream.

 

14

Cut rhubarb… to size, approx. 3 cm - 4 cm in length and place a few pieces onto the pastry disc. Pipe bulbs of diplomat cram on top and place a second disc of pastry on top. Again, add rhubarb and more cream before drizzling with thickened rhubarb syrup. Add a couple of baby verbena leaves to the cream and to the dessert with a third pastry disc (flat side up).

 

15

Dust icing sugar… on top of the last disc and add more cream, rhubarb and verbena leaves to finish. Repeat with the other three portions and serve/eat immediately.

 

 

 

 

 

16

 

1
0 hours 0 minutes

Put the milk and vanilla in a saucepan… and heat to a simmer. Set aside.

2
0 hours 0 minutes

Mix the sugar, cornflour and yolks together… well with a whisk until the mixture pales and thickens.

3
0 hours 0 minutes

Mix all together… pour one third of the hot milk onto the yolk mixture and mix well with a whisk. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk and mix well with a whisk.

4
0 hours 0 minutes

Cook out gently… place the pan back onto a low to medium heat and whisk constantly while cooking the custard until it starts to boil and bubble. Cook at this temperature for a full minute stirring vigorously the entire time.

5
0 hours 0 minutes

Transfer the pastry cream… into a bowl of an electric stand mixer. Beat in the butter by hand using a spatula or using the paddle in an electric stand mixing machine and then transfer to a container and chill in the fridge.

6
0 hours 0 minutes

For the crème diplomat… beat the pastry cream smooth with a spatula by hand or in an electric stand mixer bowl fitted with the paddle. Whip the thickened cream to thick ribbons and fold the two creams well together. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle. Store in the fridge until ready to assemble.

7
0 hours 0 minutes

To prepare the rhubarb… wash the sticks and cut them into 10 cm long pieces. Set aside.

8
0 hours 0 minutes

To poach the rhubarb… pour the 350 ml of water and the sugar into a saucepan. Add the vanilla seeds and scraped pod and bring all to the boil over a high heat. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 3 – 4 minutes until it forms a light syrup.

9
0 hours 0 minutes

Pour the syrup into a baking dish… and add the rhubarb pieces. Cover with foil and poach gently for about 15 – 30 minutes (depending on how firm the rhubarb is, the size of your baking dish and oven) until just soft. Remove from the oven and lift the foil, at this stage you can add a few drops of red food colour of you wish to dye the rhubarb and syrup. Give it a mix and put the foil back on, leave to cool on the bench before refrigerating for an hour.

10
0 hours 0 minutes

Make a thickened syrup… pour 100 ml of the rhubarb poaching syrup into a small saucepan and place on a high heat. Bring to a rapid boil and cook to reduce the syrup to a thicker consistency. This syrup will need to be reduced by around 50% for the correct consistency, watch the pan the whole time as it will reduce very quickly. Set the syrup aside to cool.

11
0 hours 0 minutes

For the pastry discs… preheat the oven to 200C and prepare a flat baking tray with baking paper or a silicone mat. Place the six discs of pastry well-spaced apart onto the tray and put them into the oven. Cook for 12 minutes before opening the oven and turning the tray around. Reduce the temperature to 180C and cook for a further 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely before assembly.

12
0 hours 0 minutes

To assemble… cut each cooled disc of pastry through the middle with a serrated knife to create a top and a bottom. Set aside the twelve pieces of pastry. We will use three pieces of pastry per dessert so twelve pieces will make 4 desserts.

13
0 hours 0 minutes

Pipe diplomat cream… onto the centre of a serving plate, place a disc of pastry (flat side down) onto the cream.

14
0 hours 0 minutes

Cut rhubarb… to size, approx. 3 cm - 4 cm in length and place a few pieces onto the pastry disc. Pipe bulbs of diplomat cram on top and place a second disc of pastry on top. Again, add rhubarb and more cream before drizzling with thickened rhubarb syrup. Add a couple of baby verbena leaves to the cream and to the dessert with a third pastry disc (flat side up).

15
0 hours 0 minutes

Dust icing sugar… on top of the last disc and add more cream, rhubarb and verbena leaves to finish. Repeat with the other three portions and serve/eat immediately.

 

 

 

 

16
0 hours 0 minutes