This is a recipe that works wonderfully well with tender fresh rhubarb such as Stockbridge Arrow (which you can cut from February onwards) and it helps use up all those frozen strawberries you have left over from last summer before the ones you have under cloches ripen in March (just kidding, although it does work - Ed)
For the Rhubarb Mousse
20g Grated Fresh Ginger
500g Chopped Rhubarb
100g Caster Sugar
2 Gelatine Leaves, softened in cold water
200g Whipping Cream
For the Puff Pastry
1 x 500g Pack of All Butter Puff Pastry
For Assembling and Garnishing
Icing Sugar for Dusting
50g Chopped Pistachio Nuts
Strawberry Sauce – made by cooking 100g frozen strawberries
with 50 g of sugar and then pureeing to a fine puree.
To prepare the pastry, preheat your oven to 200 C and cut 2 pieces of baking parchment paper to fit 2 similar sized baking trays (around 40 x 30cm). Now roll your pastry to just slightly bigger than the baking trays and parchment paper as it will shrink in the cooking process. Your pastry should be about 3mm thick.
Sprinkle the top and bottom of the pastry with caster sugar. Place a piece of the baking parchment on the tray followed by the pastry. Now prick the pastry all over with a fork (this prevents it rising too much). Now place the other piece of parchment paper onto the pastry and then the other baking tray, so that the pastry is sandwiched between the baking parchment and the baking trays.
Now bake the pastry in your pre heated oven for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp.
While the pastry is still slightly warm use a sharp serrated pastry knife to cut the pastry into equal sized pieces. You will need 2 slices per Mille Feuille. You are aiming at pieces about 5cm x 8cm in size. So divide the sheet into 3 lengthways and then into 6 pieces of 5cm each so that you have a rectangle roughly the size of a playing card. Keep crisp in a airtight box until you assemble the Mille Feuille.
Cook the rhubarb, ginger and sugar together to a puree consistency. Spoon out about two tablespoons of the puree and reserve. Now add the softened gelatine leaves to the rest of the mixture while still tepid so that the gelatine melts. You can do this in the same saucepan as you have cooked the rhubarb in. Stir to incorporate gelatine and then allow to cool but not to set.
Once the rhubarb is cooled whisk the cream to a soft peak consistency. Now fold the cream into the cooled rhubarb mixture and allow to set for about 5 hours or overnight in a fridge.
Place the mousse into a piping bag fitted with a star shaped nozzle and pipe enough mousse over 8 discs of pastry. Top with the other disc of pastry and dust with icing sugar. Place the mille Feuille in the centre of your plate and garnish each plate with the reserved rhubarb puree, strawberry sauce and chopped pistachios.
All elements of this recipe can be made ahead of time and assembled just before serving to ensure your pastry remains crispy.
Recipe from Eat West Country