Fabulously flaky pastry layered up with Pimms-soaked strawberries and cream – what could be a more delightful treat for afternoon tea or for dessert?
Hands-on time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Baking time: 50 minutes
Skill level: Needs skill
For the rough puff:
250g type ‘00’ plain flour
250g unsalted butter, frozen
½ tsp salt
125ml ice-cold water
For the strawberry filling:
600g small strawberries, plus extra for decoration
4 tbsp Pimms No.1
For the crème Chantilly:
450ml double cream
50g caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
12 mint sprigs
12 edible flowers
You will also need:
Triangle cookie cutter, about 9 x 11cm (optional)
2 baking sheets
1 large piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle
Step 1 – Make the rough puff. Place the flour into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Coarsely grate the frozen butter into the centre, stir in the salt, then mix together with your fingertips until evenly combined.
Step 2 – Slowly add the water and bring the dough together into a ball, being careful to not overwork. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a 3cm thick rectangle. Wrap it in cling film and chill for 20 minutes.
Step 3 – Lightly dust the worktop with flour and roll out the dough to a rectangle about 40 x 20cm. With one short end closest to you, fold up the bottom third of the dough, then the top third down, as if folding an A4 letter.
Step 4 – Rotate the dough a quarter turn and roll out again to 40 x 20cm, then fold in thirds as before. Wrap in the dough in cling film and chill for a further 30 minutes.
Step 5 – Repeat the roll and fold with the dough twice more, then wrap again in cling film and chill for a final 30 minutes.
Step 6 – Meanwhile, start the filling. Cut off the tops of the strawberries to make the berries the same height, then halve them lengthways and place in a shallow bowl. Pour over the Pimms and place in the fridge to chill.
Step 7 – Roll out the chilled pastry to about 3mm thick and a 35cm square. If you have a triangle-shaped cutter, cut out 18 triangles. If not, cut the pastry into 3 strips of about 11.5cm wide. Measure the long side of each strip and mark four 8.5cm lengths, then cut each strip into 7 triangles with 11.5cm sides and a 8.5cm base (you’ll have extras in case of breakages).
Step 8 – Heat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/425°F/Gas 7. Line one baking sheet with baking paper and space out the dough triangles on top. Cover with another sheet of baking paper and top with the second baking sheet. (Bake in batches, if necessary.) Bake the triangles for 25 minutes, until cooked, then transfer to a wire rack. Remove the top sheet of baking paper and leave to cool.
Step 9 – Finish the filling. Drain the strawberries through a sieve, catching the Pimms in a bowl. Dry the strawberries on kitchen paper.
Step 10 – Make the crème Chantilly. Pour the double cream into a medium bowl with the sugar and reserved Pimms, then hand whisk to soft peaks. Stir in the vanilla, and spoon into the piping bag fitted with a star nozzle.
Step 11 – Cut each rough puff triangle and in half through its thickness to give 36 thinner triangles altogether. Arrange 12 triangles, cut side up, on a tray. Pipe a few rosettes of cream onto each triangle. Divide the strawberries into 2 portions. Use 1 portion to equally top each triangle with strawberry halves.
Step 12 – Place a second triangle on top of each strawberry and cream layer, securing with a little cream if necessary, then pipe with more rosettes of cream and top with the second portion of strawberries.
Step 13 – Top each millefeuille with a final triangle of pastry, cut-side down. Pipe rosettes of cream on top of each and decorate with a strawberry, mint sprig and edible flower. Refrigerate for up to 2 hours before serving.