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The combination of snowy whipped cream, eggy custard and crisp puff pastry is divine. An easy dessert that must be made fairly close to serving time to be enjoyed at its optimum. That is easy to do, as you can have all the different components ready and assemble shortly before eating.
- 1 package frozen puff pastry
- 3 cups milk
- 1⁄3 cup sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1⁄2 teaspoon almond extract
- 3 1⁄2 tablespoons cornflour (corn starch)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 1⁄4 cup icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons icing sugar
- For the pastry cream: Put 2 1/2 cups milk, sugar, vanilla and almond extracts in a small boil to come to the boil.
- Dissolve the corn flour in the remaining milk and pour into hot milk.
- Whisk the corn flour into the milk and turn off heat.
- Beat the egg yolks in a medium-sized bowl and slowly whisk in some of the hot milk into the yolks, whisking all the while.
- Do this until you have incorporated nearly all the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly, to temper the yolks.
- Add any leftover milk mixture and place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard.
- Refrigerate and cool completely.
- For whipped cream: Place all ingredients in mixer bowl and whip until snowy peaks form.
- Remove 1/3 of whipped cream and fold into pastry cream.
- For pastry: Preheat oven to 425F.
- Take 1 sheet of puff pastry and lay out flat, with long side facing you.
- Cut in 1/2 lengthwise.
- Repeat with other sheet of puff pastry, so you have 4 equal pieces.
- Butter a cookie sheet or baking pan large enough to contain the puff pastry pieces and place the pastry on the cookie sheet.
- Pierce the pastry all over with a fork.
- Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 300F and bake a further 35-40 minutes (pastry should be baked through and a deep golden-brown).
- To assemble: Place 1 sheet of pastry on a platter, spread with half of pastry cream, ensuring you don't spread all the way out to the edges of the pastry.
- Place another sheet of pastry over and spread with remainder of pastry cream.
- Place third sheet of pastry over and spread top and sides of assembled pastry with whipped cream.
- Crumble up the fourth pastry sheet with your hands and sprinkle broken pieces of pastry on top of whipped cream and press some onto sides.
- Place in refrigerator for 1/2 hour to set.
- Just before serving, place 2 tblsps of icing sugar into a sieve and sieve directly over cake.
- Serve immediately.
- This is a dessert that is quick to make and assemble but has to be eaten close to making, otherwise the puff pastry absorbs moisture and becomes soggy.
- Note: A very nice variation is to thinly spread the first and second puff pastry sheet (the ones that you spread with the custard) with a thin scraping of seedless raspberry jam before you spread with custard.