Mille-Feuille literally means "thousand leaves" so this, with only three layers, is a rather conservative version. Normally made with puff pastry, my gluten free version uses shortcrust because, honestly, who has time to roll and fold butter into pastry all day? Gluten free bakery LoveMore used to make a GF puff pastry, but there were production issues so they had to discontinue it. It's one of the things I miss the most now that I'm gluten free and I do occasionally make it myself, but it's a palaver. This Mille-Feuille might more accurately be described as a 'toffee apple shortcake', but that sounds less impressive at dinner parties.
- 200g gluten free shortcrust pastry, I used Dietary Specials frozen pastry
- 200g soft brown sugar
- 200ml water
- 2 tbsp golden syrup
- ½ tsp cider vinegar
- 3-4 crisp red apples, cut into 1cm cubes (put in water with a squeeze of lemon juice to stop them going brown)
- 150ml double cream
- a few blackberries, blackcurrants or raspberries, whatever's available
- Preheat your oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5.
- Roll the pastry (between two sheets of baking paper is the easiest way) out to about 2mm thick and cut into evenly sized rectangles (around 8cm x 5cm).
- Place the rectangles of a baking tray and bake for about 20 minutes, until crisp and golden brown. Leave to cool.
- Gently heat the brown sugar and water together in a saucepan until the sugar has dissolved and the water starts to bubble. Don't stir it, instead swirl the pan to mix.
- Remove from the heat and add the golden syrup and vinegar and put back on the heat.
- Keep heating (and avoid stirring if you can - it's more likely to crystallise if you do) until it starts to bubble and thicken. If you have a sugar thermometer, you're waiting for it to get to 140°C/285°F .
- When the syrup reaches hard crack stage – when it hardens instantly when you drop a little in cold water - take a dessert spoon-full of the syrup and spread it out on some baking paper to a similar size as your pastry rectangles. Make four of these.
- Take the syrup off the heat, drain the apple cubes and add them to the syrup (it might spit so be careful). Coat the apple cubes in the syrup and pour out on to a sheet of baking paper and leave to cool.
- Whip the cream until it's just firm, but not stiff. If you have some Calvados, chuck a tablespoonful in there because, well, do you really need a reason to put booze in your desserts?
- Start with a rectangle of pastry, a spot of cream on the plate will stop it from moving around.
- Spread a little cream over the pastry and place toffee apple cubes and berries over the surface. Dot a little more cream on top of the fruit.
- Place the sugar-syrup rectangle on top and repeat the cream, apple and berry layer.
- Top with a final piece of pastry and dust with a little icing sugar.
Serve immediately after building your Mille-Feuille, the hard toffee layer with start to soften if you wait too long to eat.
(I recently asked the guys from LoveMore if they'd bring back their puff pastry, and they said they'd love to, since it's the product most people ask about! Fingers crossed...)