Desserts should always have that wow factor, and this dish is incredibly simple to prepare, yet looks and tastes absolutely stunning.
By lightly dusting the top of the pastry with icing sugar it caramelises the top and allows all the layers to separate into the 'thousand leaves' that give the dessert its name. Serves four to six.
YOU WILL NEED
320-375g ready-rolled all-butter puff pastry
3 tbsps icing sugar, plus extra to dust
Seeds from 2 vanilla pods
600ml double cream
Zest of 1 orange
½ tbsp orange-flavoured liqueur, eg Grand Marnier
200g fresh raspberries
Pre-heat the oven to 220°C/Gas Mark 7. Unroll the pastry and place on a non-stick baking tray.
Dust generously with icing sugar and bake in the pre-heated oven for eight minutes, then reduce the temperature to 200°C/Gas Mark 6 and cook for a further seven to 12 minutes until the pastry is golden and glazed.
Remove and leave to cool slightly on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, mix the vanilla seeds into the cream.
Add the three tablespoons of icing sugar and whip the mixture until it forms soft peaks. (Don't overbeat or it will separate.)
Add the orange zest and liqueur and then fold in using a spatula.
Spoon the cream into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle, twisting slowly to move the cream to the pointed end.
Chill until ready to use.
When the pastry has cooled, slice it very gently into three equal-sized lengths with a bread knife.
Assemble the millefeuille just before serving.
Take the piping bag from the fridge, add a dot of cream to the serving plate to act as 'glue' and put a piece of pastry on top.
Pipe a layer of cream over the pastry and add a border of raspberries around the outer edges.
Pipe another layer of cream inside the raspberry border, then top with another layer of pastry and repeat the cream and raspberry stages.
Finish with a top layer of pastry. Serve immediately, dusted with more icing sugar.
You can vary the filling of the millefeuille as much as you like.
Use creme fraiche, mascarpone, strawberries, lime ... whatever takes your fancy.