Diplomat Cream Millefeuille has always been my go to birthday cake. I have a weakness for both puff pastry and custard cream. So what else could I ask for?
Lately being a lot on Instagram and all I sin of photographic vanity: choosing a recipe based on how (I think) it will look in the pictures.
But Millefeuille for me is something special. Before I started having fun with pastry making my mum every year would ask me which birthday cake I wanted. And my choice was always the same: custard Cream millefeuille. Not even a normal one, but from a certain pastry shop in Florence renowned for that type of cake.
Maybe these are not my best shots and even the recipe is not that original, but I wanted to have my favorite cake of all times on my blog.
So here’s my Diplomat Cream Millefeuille in a more modern, or so I hope, version.
Here I will follow the classic puff pastry recipe as it has the best result for this cake.
A normal Millefeuille can be made instead with no need of gelatin to make the cream droplets.
Diplomat Cream Millefeuille
For the diplomat cream:
- 500 g milk 17.6 oz
- 70 g egg yolks 2.5 oz
- 110 g sugar 3.9 oz
- 40 g cornstarch 1.4 oz
- 5 g gelatin sheets, approx 1 sheet 0.18 oz
- powdered vanilla bourbon the tip of a tsp.
- 180 g whipping cream 6.3 oz
For the dough:
- 245 g flour 8.6 oz
- 125 g water 4.4 oz
- 50 g butter, room temperature 1.8 oz
For the butter block:
- 300 g butter 10.6 oz
- 105 g flour 3.7 oz
To caramelize the puff pastry:
- 50 g confectioner sugar 1.8 oz
- 20 g dextrose, optional 0.71 oz
- confectioner sugar to sprinkle
- fresh berries optional
For the dough:
- Leave the butter at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
- Combine the butter and flour, either by hand or in the stand mixer with paddle or hook attachment.
- Dissolve the salt in the water and add them to the dough. Keep working it until all ingredients are combined.
- Wrap the dough in cling film and let it rest for 1 hour and ½ at room temperature.
For the butter block:
- Cut the cold butter in cubes and place it between two sheets of baking paper. Beat with the rolling pin to make it softer.
- Transfer the butter in the bowl of the stand mixer (or in a normal bowl if done by hand). Add the flour and start working it. This can be done by hand but be careful not to overheat the butter.
- Work the dough with the paddle or hook attachment until the flour is absorbed. Do not overwork.
- Transfer between two sheets of baking paper and shape out a block about 1.5 cm high (0.6 in) and approx 20x20 cm (7.9 x 7.9 in).
- Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour.
To make the puff pastry:
- Slightly flour the work surface. Roll out the dough in a square shape approx 30 x 30 cm (11.8 x 11.8 in).
- Place the butter block in the middle of the square, rotating it by 45°.
- Completely wrap the block with the four sides of the dough.
- Roll out the new dough in an 35 x 20 cm (13.7 x 7.9 in) rectangle, approximately.
- From the short side fold the rectangle in 3.
- Mark the first fold by pressing your index finger in the dough once. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- On the dusted surface roll out the dough again always from the short side.
- Fold the rectangle in half, open it back and fold the extremities towards the middle.
- Press gently in the middle with the rolling pin to create a furrow. Close the dough as a book (4-fold).
- Mark the dough with your finger twice, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Repeat the 4-fold twice: roll out the dough and fold it like before. Roll out the dough for the fourth time in the same manner.
- Mark the dough 2 more times times and put it again in the fridge, wrapped in film, for 1 hour.
- Again repeat the same two steps (4-fold twice). Mark the dough another 2 times (it should have 6 marks totally). Wrap in film and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before use.
- For best results refrigerate the dough overnight.
For the diplomat cream:
- Put the milk together with the vanilla bourbon (or extract) in a pot on medium heat.
- In a large bowl combine the sugar and the cornstarch. Add the egg yolks and whisk to combine.
- When the milk starts boiling add it to the sugar and yolk mixture by passing it through a strainer. Stir vigorously to make the solids dissolve.
- Put the mixture back in the pot on medium heat. Stir continuously until it thickens (about 3 minutes).
- Remove from heat and stir every few minutes while you prepare the gelatin.
- Soak the gelatin sheet in cold water for 10 minutes. Keep stirring the cream to prevent it to form the skin on top.
- Add the wrung gelatin sheet to the cream and stir to dissolve.
- Cover the cream with plastic wrap touching the cream surface. Refrigerate until completely cold.
- Whip the cream to firm consistency.
- Once the cream is cold gently fold in the whipped cream. Transfer the diplomat cream in a pastry bag with a large round tip and let it set in the fridge.
Baking the puff pastry:
- Preheat the oven at 200° C (392° F).
- Roll out a piece of puff pastry of approx 1 or 2 mm in height (0.04 or 0.08 in). The dimensions of the rectangle will vary depending on the baking tray. I adapted to my own baking tray and I have cut a rectangle 25 x 35 cm (9.8 x 13.8 in). Place the dough on the baking tray line with parchment paper. Randomly score the pastry dough with a fork.
- If you have two baking trays you can bake the two pastry sheets simultaneously.
- Bake the pastry at 200° C (392° F) for 8 minutes.
- Take the pastry out and sprinkle the top with confectioner sugar.
- Bake for another 7-8 minutes, but check the pastry. It should be golden and not dark brown.
- Let the pastry cool off a few minutes and cut it to the desired dimensions.
- For photographic reasons I decided to cut the pastry in 3 small layers of 7 x 20 cm (2.7 x 7.9 in). But I had baked a 25 x 35 cm (9.8 x 13.8 in) rectangle so I could have cut 2 rectangles of approx 12 x 30 cm (4.7 x 11.8 in) from each tray, totaling in four 12 x 30 cm layers.
- Put one pastry layer as the base. Using the pastry bag fill the base with droplets diplomat cream.
- Do the same with the other layer/s. Sprinkle the last layer with confectioner sugar. Garnish with fresh berries (optional).
- Store in the fridge.