This Valentine’s Day we’ve paired up with the loved-up food stylist, trained chef, photographer, Bianca Davies.
“I live in Cape Town with my heavily bearded husband,” says Bianca. He’s level headed, Mr. logic while I’m sometimes a tad too passionate inside and outside of the kitchen. We met at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and he made the leap to come back to South Africa with me.
Read more about Bianca here: www.thesecretlifeofbee.co.za
“I love experimenting with flavours, textures and tastes. Making food beautiful, fun and exciting. My happy place is hosting an extravagant dinner party and you better come hungry.”
In ode of this love story enjoy Bianca’s recipe for classic French mille-feuille, paired with Krone Cuvée Brut Rosé
500ml full cream milk
5 XL free-range egg yolks
1 vanilla pod or 1 Tbsp vanilla paste / extract with seeds
2 x 250g all butter puff pastry sheets
¼ cup pistachios, roughly chopped
Icing sugar for dusting
1—If using a vanilla pod- slice the vanilla pod lengthways and using the back of the knife, slide it down the length of the exposed pod to scrape out the seeds. Add both the pod and the seeds to the milk.
2—In a large saucepan add the milk, roughly a third of the sugar and vanilla. Heat to a simmer.
While the milk is heating, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Then add the cornstarch and flour. Whisk well to combine.
3—Once the milk has come to a simmer, remove the vanilla pod if using. Pour a third of the hot milk over the egg mixture in a very slow stream and whisk vigorously until smooth and thoroughly combined.
4—Pour the egg and milk mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining hot milk and continue to whisk over a medium heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens, being careful not to let it burn on the bottom of the pan. Once the pastry cream starts to bubble cook for another two minutes, then remove from the heat.
5—Pour pastry cream into a shallow dish and place a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin forming. Leave to cool slightly and then refrigerate until cold.
6—Make the puff pastry layers: preheat oven to 220°C, and line two baking trays with baking paper. Cut squares of pastry in half to form 3 identical rectangles out of your pastry and place on baking trays. Save the fourth piece for something else like cheese straws or cinnamon sugar twists.
7—Place another piece of baking paper on top of each tray of pastry rectangles. Place another baking tray on top of the parchment – this helps weigh the pastry down during baking so it doesn’t puff up too much.
8—Bake the pastry layers for 15 minutes, then remove the top baking sheet and baking paper and bake for 4-5 minutes more, until they are deeply golden brown. If the underside isn’t crisp- flip them over and bake until both sides are golden and cooked through. Let cool completely.
9—Assemble the mille-feuille just before serving.
10—Whisk the cold pastry cream until smooth again. Add a dot of pastry cream to the serving plate/ board to act as ‘glue’ and put a piece of pastry on top. Generously spread a layer of pastry cream over the pastry and add a layer of raspberries. Scatter with a few pistachios and repeat the stages until you have a three layered show-stopper of a dessert. Finish it off with a generous dusting of icing sugar.
11—Serve immediately with a cold bottle of Krone Brut Rosé