This savoury mille feuille is layered with seasonal mushrooms, roast hazelnut cream, a spread of goat’s cheese and caramelised onions.
By Rachel Bajada
Traditionally, a mille-feuille is a kind of patisserie made up of three layers of puff pastry (pâte feuilletée), alternating with two layers of pastry cream (crème pâtissière ) which is most commonly known as vanilla or custard slice. This savoury version makes use of the layered flaky pastry with seasonal mushrooms, roast hazelnut cream, a spread of goat’s cheese, and caramelised onions.
You don’t need a degree in French patisserie to pull this one off, and it’s a great way to impress your guests with an original entrée or main course at lunch when served with a garden salad. Use whatever mushrooms are in season (pictured example includes girolle, cèpe and chanterelles), a mild goats cheese that’s soft enough to spread on the flaky pastry, a good quality ready-to bake Pâte feuilletée and fresh thyme if possible.
- I sheet flaky savory pastry (Pâte feuilletée) cut into 4 x 10 × 6 cm rectangles
- 100 ml (3.5 fl oz) crème fresh thickened cream or equivalent (reduced fat cream works also)
- 3 tbsp fresh, diced parsley
- 2 tbsp fresh or dry thyme leaves
- 450 grams (16 oz) fresh seasonal mushrooms
- 50 grams (1.8 oz) soft mild (spreadable) goats cheese
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or butter
- 3 tbsp hazelnut oil
- 1.5 medium-large brown onions
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar or red wine
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 2 handfulls whole hazelnuts
- White pepper
- Sea salt
- Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- On a lightly greased tray lay out the rectangles of cut pastry and put hazelnuts in an oven-proof dish.
- Bake for 20 mins or until the pastry has puffed and turned golden brown, remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- Begin preparing the caramelised onion. Dice onion finely length-ways and add into a heavy-based saucepan with olive oil, balsamic or red wine and brown sugar. Keep stirring and cooking the onions slowly on low heat until they are translucent, soft and toffee brown, whilst preparing the mushrooms.
- Rinse all mushrooms well and pat dry immediately to remove excess water with a clean tea towel or kitchen paper. Slice cèpes (or similar bigger meaty varieties) length-ways and leave other smaller mushrooms whole.
- Heat olive oil and 2 tbsp hazelnut oil in a frying pan and add parsley, thyme and sea salt.
- Add all mushrooms, starting with the bigger ones. Add white pepper and cook the mushrooms, continually stirring, until they have reduced in size and start releasing their juice.
- Remove from heat and slowly separate the liquid away from the mushrooms, collecting all the juice into a separate bowl. In a blender or coffee grinder, combine ⅔rds of the roasted hazelnuts, 100 mls cream, mushroom juice, 1.5 tbsp hazelnut oil, and 15 mls warm water.
- Whizz until smooth and pourable, adding sea salt to taste.
- Prepare Pastry layers by gently separating each rectangle of cooked pastry into two layers. The base becomes the centre layer and the top is used as the first layer or top of the mille-feuille.
- Return mushrooms in pan to the heat and re-cook them to heat and remove any excess moisture.
- Add more fresh herbs if desired.
- Place pastry bases on a serving dish and gently layer the caramelized onion to the base, then sprinkle roughly chopped roast hazelnuts over the onion.
- The roasted hazelnuts are an important textural element to this dish so try to avoid omitting them. Add a 1.5 cm high layer of mushrooms over the top.
- Spread a fine layer of goats cheese over both sides of the middle pastry layer then add this to the base. On top of the mid section add another layer of mushrooms
- Finally, add one of the top layers from the baked pastry to the mille-feuille. Drizzle the hazelnut cream over the top and finish with chopped hazelnuts.
- Serve immediately unaccompanied as an entrée or with a simple green leaf salad.