1 vanilla bean, seeds scrapped
3 egg yolks
100g caster sugar
pinch sea salt
225g plain flour
200g butter, chilled and cubed
150ml iced water
icing sugar, to dust
200g caster sugar
2 cinnamon quills, broken
10 whole cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1kg granny smith apples
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
120g egg yolk
120g caster sugar
3 sticks rhubarb, cut into 1cm slices
55g caster sugar
2 tbs water
1 tsp ground cinnamon
100g shelled pistachios
100g caster sugar
1. To make ice-cream, stir cream and vanilla seeds in a saucepan over medium heat until hot. Remove from heat. Cool slightly.
2. Whisk egg yolks, sugar and salt until pale and creamy. Slowly add hot cream mixture, whisking continuously.
3. Return mixture to saucepan and stir over a low heat until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in buttermilk. Strain and cool. Churn in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturers instructions.
1. To make puff pastry, combine flour and water in a bowl until mixture comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 2-3 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
2. Roll out the dough into a 10cm x 30cm rectangle. Using a rolling pin, flatten out butter into am 8cm x 9cm rectangle.
3. Place butter in centre of dough. Fold one short end into middle, over butter, then fold opposite end over the top (butter should now be enclosed in dough).
4. Turn dough 90° so one open end is facing you. Using rolling pin, gently press down on dough from one end to the other to slightly flatten butter. Roll into a 10 x 30cm rectangle. Fold top and bottom ends to meet at the centre. Turn dough 90° then fold one end on another, like closing a book. Repeat rolling and folding process. Refrigerate, covered in cling film, for 30 minutes.
5. Repeat rolling and folding process two more times. Refrigerate, covered, for a further 30 minutes. Repeat rolling and folding process a further two times, refrigerating for another 30 minutes at the end. Dough should be folded and rolled six times in total. Refrigerate until ready to use.
6. Divide pastry into thirds. Roll out each third into a 3mm-thick rectangle, dusting with icing sugar as you roll. Place on a tray lined with baking paper. Generously dust with icing sugar. Top with a second similar size tray and weigh down with a heavy ovenproof dish.
7. Bake at 180C for about 20-25 minutes or until dark golden brown, crisp and caramelised.
8. Using a sharp knife and ‘sawing’ action, cut out twenty four 4.5cm x 10cm rectangles.
1. To make apple slice, line a 30cm x 20cm cake pan with baking paper.
2. Stir all ingredients, except apples, in a saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Simmer until mixture thickens slightly to form a syrup. Strain and set aside.
3. Peel and thinly slice apples. Arrange a layer of overlapping apple slices over base of prepared pan. Brush with syrup. Repeat layering until all apples and syrup have been used.
4. Cover with a sheet of baking paper and another cake pan of similar size. Weigh this down with a heavy baking dish to compress apples during cooking.
5. Bake for about 1 hour or until apples are dark golden and caramelised. Cool to room temperature. Remove top cake pan and dish and refrigerate until cold.
6. Remove apple slice from pan. Using a sharp knife, trim edges and then cut out six 4.5cm x 10cm rectangles. Reserve any trimmings for another use.
1. To make crème pâtissière, whisk egg yolks and flours until smooth and combined.
2. Stir milk, sugar and vanilla seeds in a saucepan over low heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture is hot. Whisk in egg mixture. Cook, stirring, over low heat until thick. Pass through a sieve and into a bowl. Cover surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold.
1. To make rhubarb puré, place all ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until soft and thick. Cool slightly then blend until smooth. You can add a little more or less water depending on desired thickness.
2. To caramelise pistachios, line an oven tray with baking paper. Spread nuts on tray in a single layer.
3. Stir sugar and water in a small heavy-based saucepan, without boiling, until sugar dissolves. Use a wet pastry brush to brush down any stray sugar crystals on side of pan. Bring mixture to a boil. Boil, without stirring, until golden brown. Carefully pour caramel over nuts on prepared tray. Cool until set. Chop coarsely.
1. To assemble mille-feuille, place a rectangle of pastry on each serving plate. Pipe over a layer of crème pâtissière and then layer with pastry, a rectangle of apple slice, pastry, crème pâtissière and a final layer of pastry. Top with caramelised pistachios. Serve with rhubarb puré and buttermilk ice cream.
For a quick version of this recipe, try using store-bought puff pastry and replacing the crème pâtissière with sweetened mascarpone.
This recipe has been tested.