Chef Paul Pansera of Sorpasso in Rome takes a fresh approach to classic layered millefoglie, the Italian version of a napoleon, serving it in a casual, descontructed form.
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1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise and seeds scraped, pod reserved for another
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons 00 or all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch of kosher salt
3 large egg yolks
5 sheets of phyllo dough
Melted unsalted butter, for brushing
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
8 ounces strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
Dark chocolate shavings, for garnish
How to Make It
In a medium saucepan, combine the whole milk with the heavy cream and vanilla bean seeds and bring to a bare simmer over moderately low heat.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the granulated sugar with the flour, cornstarch and salt. Add the egg yolks and mix well. While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in half of the warm milk mixture. Scrape the egg mixture into the saucepan and stir over moderately low heat until thickened to a pudding consistency, about 5 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pastry cream and refrigerate until cold.
Preheat the oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set 1 phyllo sheet on it and brush all over with melted butter. Top with another phyllo sheet and brush with butter. Continue layering and buttering until you have a stack of 5 buttered phyllo sheets. Using a large, sharp knife, cut the stack into 32 equal pieces. Dust with confectioners' sugar and bake for about 8 minutes, until lightly golden and crisp. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.
Spoon some of the pastry cream onto 4 plates. Top each with some of the phyllo crisps and strawberries and dust with confectioners' sugar. Garnish with chocolate shavings and serve immediately.
The pastry cream can be refrigerated for 2 days. The phyllo crisps can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature overnight.
Doppio zero (“double zero,” or 00) flour is a fine Italian flour available at specialty food shops and on amazon.com.
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