This week’s recipe is a challenge for all of you who are scared of fancy looking desserts with multiple components! With Pat’s background in making pastry, this is easy for him but Ian was a little daunted by this recipe. A Napoleon or Mille-feuille is a layered French dessert consisting of alternating layers of puff pastry and pastry cream. We have adapted a recipe by Antonio Bachour, from his book Bachour. His version substitutes filo pastry (so store bought is fine!) brushed with caramel, topped with coconut snow. What’s not to love? Be brave and give it a try, you’ll be surprised how easy it is and you’ll impress everyone with how pretty it looks.
The coconut snow uses tapioca maltodextrin as a binding agent, which can be hard to find. We found some at a specialty store in Sydney, but you could also buy it online if you have trouble finding it.
This recipe yields 12 serves.
Banana Pastry Cream
- 7g gelatin sheet
- 2 cups full-cream milk
- ½ cup caster sugar
- 55g corn flour
- 100g egg yolks
- 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
- 55g unsalted butter
Soak gelatin in cold water until softened (this process is called blooming), then squeeze out excess water and set aside.
In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine milk and sugar and bring to the boil. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and corn flour. Slowly pour the hot liquid into the egg mixture, a little at first then in a steady stream, whisking continuously. Have an ice bath prepared to set the bowl over if the mixture looks like it’s beginning to split. Once the egg and milk mixtures are combined, return to the saucepan and set over a medium-high heat until thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Pour the mixture through a strainer into a bowl set over the ice bath. Add the gelatin and stir to dissolve. Add the butter and banana and stir until the butter has melted. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a least an hour, or until set.
- 114g thickened cream
- 90g caster sugar
Bring the cream just to the boil in a saucepan, then remove from the heat. Add the sugar to another saucepan with a splash of water, mixing so the sugar is moist. Cook the sugar slowly over a medium heat until it becomes a light amber colour, shaking or stirring the pan every now and then. Once the caramel has reached the colour you like, slowly add the cream in small batches. Be careful as it will splatter and could burn you. Once all the cream is incorporated, cook for another minute, stirring. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Filo Pastry Sheets
- 8 sheets of filo pastry dough
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup Caramel sauce
Preheat oven to 175°C.
Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place a sheet of filo on the tray, brush with butter and drizzle with caramel sauce. Repeat this process with six more sheets of filo pastry, then add a final sheet of filo and brush with the butter. Trim the edges of the filo with a paring knife if necessary, and cut into 2 by 4 inch rectangles. Cover with baking paper and top with another baking tray, then bake for around 12 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Set aside and once the pastry is cool, remove from the tray and store in an airtight container.
- 40g tapioca maltodextrin
- 60g coconut oil
- 15g icing sugar
Add all ingredients to a food processor and combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula occasionally. Set aside.
Banana Caramel Sauce
- ½ cup thickened cream
- 95g caster sugar
- 1 ripe banana, sliced
Make the caramel in the same way you made the Caramel Sauce earlier. Once you have combined the sugar and cream, stir in the banana. Using a stick blender, blend until smooth. Alternatively you could transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
Brush some of the banana caramel sauce across a plate and top with one rectangle of the prepared filo pastry. Put the Banana Pastry Cream in a piping bag and cut a 1.5cm opening. Pipe the cream onto the filo pastry in two rows of small dollops, and top with a layer of filo pastry. Repeat the process to form a second layer, and top with a final piece of filo pastry. Dust the top layer with Coconut Snow and garnish with edible flowers or micro herbs to serve.