These are pure happiness. Crispy irresistible caramelized pastry sheets, light mascarpone creme and super flavorful amaretti praline. This is one of the best non-chocolaty things that I love so much.
Trust me, this recipe is a lot easier than it looks. I have written detailed instructions on dealing with puff pastry (the essential part of the recipe), hopefully to save you the trouble of wondering around the kitchen if you are making it right. No matter what – it’s puff pastry and mascarpone, so it will be delicious as hell.
For the praline:
50 grams (1,8 oz) almonds
100 grams (3,5 oz) sugar
3-4 amaretti biscuits
For the millefeuille:
1 sheet of puff pastry
For the mascarpone creme:
2 medium egg yolks
40 grams (1,40 oz) granulated sugar
A few drops of vanilla extract
250 grams (9 oz) mascarpone
50 grams (3,5 oz) powder sugar
To prepare praline:
Making the caramel for the praline is a very quick (takes about 6-7 minutes) but tricky business, so when you are ready to make it, stop doing whatever else you are doing and focus on the caramel, cause it could burn very quickly.
In a small heavy saucepan heat sugar over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Once sugar dissolves and starts simmering, continue cooking it without stirring until the caramel starts to darken. You want your caramel to have dark amber color, but keep in mind that once the caramel starts to darken, you will need to watch it closely, because it could burn very easy and quick.
Once caramel is dark amber color remove from the heat and immediately put the saucepan in a cold bath – I use my sink, filled with a little bit of cold water. This will stop the cooking process – a very important step, because otherwise, caramel will continue to cook, even if it’s not on the stove and will burn.
Once you put the saucepan in the water bath, add the almonds and stir to coat all almonds with caramel. Keep in the water bath for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a small dish lined with baking paper. Put in the fridge to harden and cool completely.
Once the praline is cold and hard, transfer to a chopper and finely chop it, add amaretti and chop all together to combine. You want to have it as finely chopped as possible. Set aside until needed.
To prepare pastry sheets:
Preheat your oven to 180C, fan-forced (350F).
Place the puff pastry sheet on a large piece of baking paper.
Roll extra thinly – you need the pastry rolled to 3mm thickness (1/8th inch), or as thinly as possible. Using round cookie cutters, cut as much circles as possible out of the puff pastry sheet. Lay them on a cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper and sprinkle with powder sugar. Now, this is the important part – put a large piece of baking paper on top of the puff pastry circles and cover them with another cookie sheet, bottom side down. You need to keep the puff pastry from “puffing”, so using a heavy tray (cookie sheet) to press it down while baking should keep pastry flat (or use a baking sheet weighed down with an empty ceramic oven dish if your cookie sheets aren’t heavy).
Bake for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until golden brown. About 20 minutes into the baking, remove puff pastry from the oven and sprinkle with powder sugar one more time. Then return to the oven.
I usually sprinkle them 2-3 times during baking, but this is up to whether you have time to do this as often. The more powder sugar the more caramelized your pastry circles will become. Believe me, they will be just irresistible! Bake until golden brown (about 45-60 min).
NOTE: you could prepare this dessert in any shape you like – you can cut it into rectangles, squares or whatever else you prefer.
Prepare mascarpone creme: In a small saucepan whisk the egg yolks and granulated sugar until pale. Add a few drops of vanilla extract and start cooking over medium / medium-low heat (depending on how strong your stove is). Whisk almost constantly until all sugar dissolves and the egg yolk mixture is hot to the touch. Cook egg yolks on medium low heat until you temper them, then you can turn the heat up a bit until the mixture thickens. Make sure to whisk often to avoid curdling the eggs.
Once the sugar dissolves and the mixture is thickened, remove from stove and set aside to cool completely as you stir the mixture once in a while. Once the mixture is cold to the touch (or at room temperature) whisk again by hand or with a mixer for a minute or so.
In a large bowl combine mascarpone and powder sugar and mix well with a rubber spatula or hand held mixer..
Pour the egg yolk mixture into the mascarpone mixture and stir with a rubber spatula to combine. Put mascarpone creme in the fridge for a bit to chill, then stir again and transfer to a piping bag.
Place a circle of puff pastry on a plate. Pipe one layer of mascarpone over, sprinkle a little bit of the praline and cover with another piece of puff pastry. Repeat the steps, as it’s up to you how many layers to add. Finish with a piece of puff pastry, sprinkled with powder sugar. Serve immediately.