Step by step recipe:
- We need to end up with postry that is well-layered, but has not risen too much. To acheive this we will be cooking it on a baking sheet, with 2 shallow supports at the sides, covered with a protective sheet of cooking parchment (to stop it sticking), and a second baking sheet on top.
The diagram alongside explains this assembly: 1= bottom baking sheet, 2= puff pastry, 3= metal supports (about 1/2 inch or 1 cm deep), 4= protective cooking parchment, 5= top baking sheet.
- 2 min.Preheat the oven to 390°F (200°C).
Roll out the pastry and lay it on a baking sheet. If it comes ready rolled with a sheet of paper, just leave this in place, as in the photo.
- 3 min.
- 2 min.Place the two metal supports (they will be going in the oven) on either side, so that they are not touching the pastry. These are 2 old metal school rulers 1 cm (about 1/2 inch) thick.
- 2 min.Lay a sheet of cooking parchment on top.
Note: Pull the paper taut so that it is not sitting on the pastry - this will help the cooking and browning.
- 2 min.Place a second baking sheet on top.
- 25 min.Put this whole contraption in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes.
- Watch for how the pastry is browning. The top baking sheet should be removed after about 20 minutes to allow the top of the feuillletage to brown nicely. Make use of this opportunity to turn the baking sheet round if necessary so that the pastry cooks evenly.
Take the pastry out of the oven when golden brown and leave to cool on a wire rack before using in a recipe.
Remarks:It is important to caramelize the pastry: for flavour, of courxe, but mostly because the caramel forms a sealing layer which protects the pastry from the moist filling (usually cream) and keeps it crisp longer.
If you prefer not to caramelize the pastry, you can glaze it with egg to make it look more attractive.
Making a successful feuilletage is not easy, especially at first. It is worth remembering that the great French chef Joël Robuchon, when asked: "When was the first time you felt like a real cook?", replied: "The day I made my first successful strawberry millefeuille". So, be brave and have a go!