This dessert brings me to heaven.
I remember the first time I smelt and tasted Tonka Beans in the lab of the Le Meurice, I cried and died a little inside. It had the best kind of fragrance, one of a kind. It felt like a combination of all the most gorgeous spices and fruits all in one tiny bean. Imagine, vanilla, but yet hints of cherries, and hmm, cinnamon. The French love their Tonka Beans and I can only understand why. J knows I love them so much that he brought me another piping bag full of it! I find it absurd that my country does not legalize the use of them. The same stupid reason as to why they ban poppy seeds. I mean really, it's only harmful in massive quantities. I barely used one bean for each serving of these mille feuilles and the deprivation of those who've never tasted Tonka.... I can't even begin to imagine!
Mille Feuille which basically means a thousand leaves, is the quintessential classic French dessert. Well loved by all at any corner, city, suburb of the world. You could do them in a hundred different variations and every one of them would be equally delightful to eat. Puff pastry, a flavoured cream, and sometimes with the addition of fruits, what could possibly go wrong?
I chose to go the chocolate route because I hardly ever do chocolate desserts and I absolutely adore the combination of Tonka + Chocolate. And because mille feuilles tend to be heavy and sweet, I decided on a 72% dark chocolate. Essentially, it had a very intense dark chocolate flavour but yet it wasn't too rich because it was hardly close to being overly sweet. Mixed in the fresh shavings of the Tonka and I felt myself going weak in the knees again.
Recently I've been having the urge to constantly bake. I get no rest, everyday I'm feeling so inspired. I wonder if it's because of the weather. My home feels cooler, but yet again maybe it's because I don't step outside. I do wish I was more than inspired. Wish my creative juices would start flowing again. I need new and fresh ideas. If you follow my instagram, you'd know I was selling several boxes of my new range of lavender ganache with apricot&whitepeach confiture macarons. I never expected them to be such a massive hit but I've received loads of compliments and I could not be more thrilled! Even my mummy who doesn't usually like macarons loved those. And sister who complains almost about anything and everything I make, could not find no fault in them. Sometimes I get the occasional flashes of brilliance and then sometimes I just have nothing.
While making this chocolate puff pastry required immense amounts of elbow grease, it was so worth the pain. You know how the addition of cocoa powder always makes batters a little bit funny. Same goes for macarons. I really wish I had a laminator.
As for that chocolate cremeux, it was just absolutely divine and lusciously smooth. A light sprinkle of sea salt on top and it was perfection. I'll be including the recipe for the chocolate cremeux. The Tonka shavings can easily be opted out. Maybe grate some cinnamon in there. That would be quite so very lovely as well. ;)
Mille Feuille of 72% Arriba & Tonka:
For the Chocolate Cremeux:
milk - 260g
cream - 192g
sugar - 23g
yolks - 55g
couverture arriba 72% - 175g
100% pure cocoa paste - 13g
shaved tonka beans (optional) - 7g
Combine the milk and cream in a saucepan and heat on medium high heat.
Add in the sugar to the yolks and whisk together till well combined.
When the milk and cream mixture is hot (but not boiling), temper half of it into your eggs while whisking continuously. Strain the mixture back into the remaining milk and cream in the saucepan and cook over low heat till you get an anglaise of 85C.
Strain the mixture into your chocolate and cocoa paste and leave for 1 minute.
Using a spatula, stir from the centre to emulsify the mixture till you get a smooth and shiny ganache.
Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture till smooth and free of bubbles. Stir in your shaved tonka or cinnamon.
Cling wrap upon contact, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.
Use directly after refrigeration.