(Strawberry Mille Feuille: Summer on a plate.)You know summer has truly arrived when signs for strawberry festivals are visible on almost every country street corner. I'm lucky to have a wealth of local growers around me that produce some of the best-tasting strawberries ever.
(Prepped strawberries. Rinse quickly with cool water before cutting them; otherwise they can absorb the water and lose some of their amazing flavor.)Aside from eating them straight out of the carton, one of my favorite ways to serve them is in a Strawberry Mille Feuille. The combination of flaky, buttery puff pastry, whipped cream, and sweet strawberries is a summer marvel. It goes together quickly and can be made a few hours ahead of time and refrigerated until needed. Serve it alongside a fragrant chilled strawberry coulis for a blissful way to end an early-summer meal.
Strawberry Mille Feuille
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 quart strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and cut in half
Confectioners' sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 400. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
Cut each sheet of thawed puff pastry into 6 even rectangles for a total of 12. Place on baking sheet and prick each rectangle all over with a fork. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and let cool.
Pour heavy cream into a large bowl, whip until soft peaks form, and gradually add sugar and vanilla. Whip until stiff.
Neatly arrange strawberries on 8 of the rectangles. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch tip with the whipped cream and pipe onto strawberries as shown above.
Stack them in pairs and cover with remaining pastry. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve.
(Photos by Michael Devine)If available, Mara des Bois strawberries are one of the most flavorful varieties for eating and cooking; they're also the perfect size for this dessert!