My instagram states the following : Graphic Designer, 3D artist, creative so I would imagine that my paintings, photography and design would have a higher engagement rate than the cake I baked for my brother on his birthday… Perhaps this is a sign that I should consider a career shift. Anyways, since all of you were curious about the recipe… you’re welcome. This is the first time I write a recipe and it’s harder than I thought; for one, it requires empiricism which is not my forte. In case you are worried about the accuracy of this recipe I made it a second time to make sure it was not just beginner’s luck. Also excuse the pictures but i’m not a food stylist – That’s a job – imagine explaining your job to your grandmother…
Ingredients – Dosage for 5 people*
*To be honest it depends on how much cake you can eat
- 250g of butter
- 325g of flour (split into 150g, 175g)
- 1 cup of room temperature water
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 cup of room temperature water
*Notes on Puff Pastry – For the lazy cooks you can buy pre-made puff pastry. One sheet of puff pastry is sufficient
- 3 Egg Yolks
- 4 Tablespoons of Flour
- 2 Teaspoons of Sugar
- 200ml ‘Panna’ in Italian – Fresh / Heavy Cream
- Dark Chocolate Drops (as needed)
- 500ml Milk
- 1/2 Vanilla Bean
- 1 pinch of Lemon Zest
- 1 pinch of salt
- Powdered sugar (Confectioners sugar) as needed
Note: The Puff Pastry needs to rest so it is best to make it the day before.
- Dice the butter into small cubes – do not melt it!
- Separate the 325g of flour into two bowls :
- Bowl A : Should contain 175g
- Bowl B: Should contain 150g
- In bowl A add the salt and gradually pour the water while mixing. Make sure the dough is not sticky. If the dough is sticky then add a little bit of flour. In bowl B add the butter and mix together, make sure there are no clumps of butter. At this point you should have two balls of dough, one significantly more greasy than the other.
- Roll out both pieces of dough separately. The stickier dough should be rolled out to be a smaller surface area – approx 20 x 20 cm. Whereas the dough from bowl A should be rolled out to have a surface area of 28 x 28cm.
- Place the sticky dough on top of dough A and wrap it with dough A – It should look like a huge raviolo. (Semantic Side note ravioli is plural and raviolo is singular). This process sounds easy but it’s not, my dough was too big and the other two small and then the whole thing broke…Make sure there is flour on the surface you choose to roll it out onto, if not it sticks.
- Once you have wrapped the greasy dough up you should roll it out so it’s quite thin and long
- Fold the dough into three pieces and put to rest in the fridge.
- For those who skim read instruction – make sure the dough rests for 1 to 2 hours. In this time feel free to read our blog and leave lots of comments or read the rest of this guide so you know what you are doing next.
- Roll out the puff pastry into a long sheet and place in the baking sheet. Make sure to butter the baking sheet so the puff pastry doesn’t stick.
- Once you have placed the dough in the baking sheet, cut the puff pastry into 3 even squares or rectangles and use a fork to prick holes in the pastry so that it doesn’t puff up.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven to cook. The temperature should be set to 190˚C for the first 15 minutes then lowered to 170˚ for an additional 35 minutes. Keep an eye on the oven.
Crème Pâtissière (The filling):
- Mix the egg yolks and sugar, then add the flour and the pinch of salt. Make sure the consistency is smooth and that there is no clumping. For indexing purposes within this recipe lets call this Part Egg.
- Cut into small pieces the vanilla bean and zest the lemon (just a pinch of lemon zest). Boil the milk (make sure you use a big pot) and add the vanilla bean and lemon peel. For indexing purposes within this recipe lets call this Part Milk
- Once the milk is almost boiling, transfer the milk SLOWLY into Part Egg, mixing as you pour and making sure that no clumps are being formed. This sounds easy but it’s not. This is the hardest part – do not check your phone, do not change the song that’s playing in the kitchen… focus on the mixture cause if you are not continuously mixing the flour will clump into little bits and the cream won’t be smooth. The baking term is curdle
- Continue pouring the milk until the eggs are the same temperatures as the milk then transfer the remaining milk into Part Egg.
- Once Part Egg and Part Milk have been mixed together, place the pot over medium heat, constantly stirring with a rubber spatula. Seriously don’t check that text, keep stirring. The consistency of the cream should be like mashed potatoes – however keep in mind that it is always softer when warm and that when the cream cools down it will become more compact. If the consistency feels too liquid (mine did) add another spoonful of flour and continue mixing thoroughly. Make sure you have no flour clumps and continue mixing.
- Let the cream cool down
- Taste the cream. I prefer when it is not too sweet, if you would like it to be a bit sweeter than add another half a teaspoon of sugar into the fresh heavy cream before step 8.
- Whip the cream (electric whisk is highly recommended, unless you would like to take this chance to workout your arms)
- Use a wooden spoon to slowly mix the whipped cream and the pastry cream together.
- Add the chocolate drops to the mix – I don’t really have a quantity to specify, just add enough so that the cream will have the occasional dark chocolate drop.
Putting it all together
- Place your first layer of puff pastry on a wide enough plate
- Using a spatula add a first layer of cream. The layer should be 1.5 cm thick.
- Add the second layer of puff pastry and repeat.
- Once you have placed the third layer of puff pastry, sprinkle powdered sugar through a sieve and you are done…voila
For decoration purposes you can line the exterior with chocolate drops or puff pastry shavings Conserve the cake in the fridge – it usually keeps for max 2 days.
Let me know what you think / any additions or recommendations – share pictures. Meanwhile I have gone down the rabbit hole of the Internet and started Googling puff pastry. Did you know that there is a mathematical formula to calculate the number of layers of a puff pastry.
~ Speak soon a Pineapple with Alice in Wonderland tendencies 🙂