Chocolate Mille-Feuille

I came back from my vacation thinking about recipes that require attention. I am eager to learn, touch, feel doughs, know temperatures… Recipes in which the environment plays a role, the way I handle the dough will make a difference. I have been dreaming of cheese making again, bread with levain and of course, pâte feuilletée or puff pastry.

Ever since the Daring Bakers danish challenge, I couldn’t stop thinking about making laminated doughs again. I have been obsessed with it. Call me crazy. Laminated doughs in the middle of the Florida summer can be a challenge but for some reason, this recipe was uncomplicated, much more so than the danish recipe. I didn’t rush it and that made a difference.


As you might know, I come from a family of pastry chefs. I grew up in the family pastry shop where puff pastry was made from scratch almost everyday. There were no freezers used back then and there are none today. My uncle Jose is a master at the art of pâte feuilletée and watching him work is a true pleasure. To this day, I believe a good pastry shop distinguishes itself by the quality of their laminated doughs such as mille-feuilles and croissants.

This dough only has six ingredients but it requires about 2 days worth of mixing, rolling and folding. There are six letter folds that make this one of the flakiest pâte feuilletée I have ever made. The dough is elastic and if chilled enough in between rolling, it is quite easy to handle.

I wish I could have taken photos of the process since that is the most important task with this recipe, but unfortunately, I couldn’t because lighting was poor and because I had a toddler running around in the kitchen. Please visit Fanny’s blog for great photos on how to roll and fold puff pastry.

I made the dough, rolled it into two large rectangles and froze them until I was ready to bake them. With the first sheet I made the chocolate mousse and raspberry napoleons and reserved the second sheet to make palmiers, which are C.’s favorite pastries.

Chocolate Pâte Feuilletée

adapted from Pierre Hermes’ “Chocolate Desserts”

420 grams all purpose flour
185 grams cold water
2 tsp salt
70 grams, unsalted butter, melted and cooled

425 grams butter, slightly softened
50 grams cocoa powder, sifted

Place flour on a working surface and make a well in the center. Dissolve the salt into the cold water and add this to the center of the flour well. Slowly start mixing the flour and the water together with circular motions and always working in the center so the water is absorbed by the flour and we work neatly. When they are mixed, add the melted and cooled butter.

Knead the dough for about 5 minutes. It will not be a super smooth dough at this point but don’t worry because we will keep developing the gluten as we roll the dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap forming a rectangle that is approximately 6 inches long on one side. Refrigerate overnight.

To make the lock-in butter, cream the butter with the paddle attachment until smooth but still cold. Add the sifted cocoa powder and cream until the cocoa is absorbed by the butter. Wrap in plastic wrap also forming a rectangle that is a bit smaller than the previous one. Refrigerate overnight.

The next day, pull the dough out of the refrigerator and roll to a rectangle that is about 1 cm thick (1/3 inch) and about 30×18 cm long (12×7 inches). Remove the lock-in butter out of the fridge. It will be harder than the dough but we need to have both right about the same consistency, so pound the butter with a rolling pin to soften it slightly.

Place the slightly softer butter on top of the right half of the dough rectangle. Fold the left side of the dough over the butter creating a packet. Seal in the edges. If necessary, press the dough down so the butter reaches every corner of the dough. We want the butter to spread evenly all over to create even layers. Place the dough on a sheetpan, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it to a rectangle that is 3 times wider than tall, about 52x18cm (7×21 inches). Fold the dough like a letter, bringing the right third over the middle third and folding the left on top of it. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours. This was the first turn and make sure to mark it somewhere so you don’t lose track of how many folds you have done.

Repeat this procedure 5 more times for a total of 6 letter folds, always rolling the dough with the open edges to the left and right of you. Refrigerate the dough after each turn. Use flour when rolling but brush off any excess after each turn to avoid getting too much flour on the dough. If the dough rips a bit and the butter is exposed, don’t worry, try to patch it as well as you can but keep going. After all the folds are done, it will not matter that much.

After the last fold, refrigerate the dough overnight. You can use it the next day or what I did was roll it into two sheets and froze them until I was ready to use them. This dough will be good in the refrigerator for a couple of days and up to one month in the freezer.

Caramelized Chocolate Mille-Feuille with Chocolate Mousse and Fresh Raspberries

Place a sheet of puff pastry on a sheetpan lined with parchment paper. Pre-heat oven to 450F. Sprinkle granulated sugar over the top of the puff pastry and place it in the oven. Reduce heat to 375F and bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, place a cooling rack on top of the puff pastry to stop it from rising too much. Bake for an additional 10 minutes with the cooling rack on top of the pastry.

Remove the sheetpan from the oven. Cover the puff pastry with a sheet of parchment paper and with the help of another sheetpan, flip it over. Remove parchment from the top and now, the sugared side will be on the bottom and the plain side will be facing you. Place this sheetpan back in the oven and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the puff pastry cool.

Cut the pastry into same size rectangles. Pipe two rows of chocolate mousse on top of a rectangle, place a row of fresh raspberries in the center and top with another layer of puff pastry. Decorate with fresh berries.

Chocolate Palmiers

Sprinkle granulated sugar on top of a sheet of chocolate puff pastry. Fold it just like a fan. Take the left side and fold it in the middle and the same with the right side. Then fold these two against each other creating a fan. Roll this log in granulated sugar and refrigerate for 15 minutes until it chills some more.

Cut 1/2 inch pieces vertically. Press each palmier gently into granulated sugar (both sides). Place these on a sheetpan lined with parchment and bake in a 375F oven for 8 minutes. Turn the palmiers over and bake for another 8 minutes. Remove pan from oven and let the palmiers cool.


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61 Responses to “Chocolate Mille-Feuille”

  1. cindy* says:

    aran, how pretty! the way you speak of pastry makes it seem like second nature…and being a part of your family i don’t doubt it is. love chocolate and raspberries together!

  2. cookemila says:

    aran me encanta esta receta..tengo unas mil hojas como se llaman aqui arecidas la foto de ladercha que pones..y me viene estupenda..nunca lo he echo de chocolate…se ve delicioso..felicidades que maravilla ya te preguntare cuando me ponga.besos

  3. chefectomy says:

    Caramelized Chocolate Mille-Feuille with Chocolate Mousse and Fresh Raspberries…I think I am in love…

  4. Tartelette says:

    Love it…love palmiers…love makinf puff pastry (seriously) and love me some mousse (raspberries on the side)! That’s why I love mille feuilles: so light and so bad/good for you!! Well done!

  5. Christy says:

    I loooveee eating puff pastry.Especially with those gorgeous raspberries and spherical chocolate mousse..

    How lucky to have been born and brought up in a family of pastry chefs…you would’ve known all the trade secrets by the time you were 10 years old!! I can only wish…my last attempt at making pate feuilletee ended up miserably—the butter oozed out onto the baking tray…NOOO!!! But sure, i’ll try it again. Someday.

  6. *fanny* says:

    Aran, your chocolate pate feuilletée loos absolutely gorgeous. and it really inspires me to make it. again. soon.

    thanks for the head-up too!

    xx fanny

    ps. I love to learn about how the environmental conditions affect a recipe as well. so interesting.

  7. I so totally need this book, roll on October when I’m in Florida to get it!!!!!

    Looks fantastic Aran, have been thinking about laminated doughs myself and the emmense satisfaction I got from the DB challenge, think this might jump to the top of the “must make” list!

  8. nicisme says:

    Chocolate, raspberries and crisp chocolate pastry – I’m in heaven!

  9. nadia says:

    I loved reading this post, it was very visual as i read it i could see both the pastry shop and your kitchen. It is wonderful to challenge yourself and too be so dicisplined in your art.

    Aran it looks wonderful.

  10. morgana says:

    Qué preciosidades, es que hasta las fotos se ven crujientes, dan ganas de comprobar la textura. ¡Qué maravilla!

  11. afreshdille says:

    such beautiful photos of these delicious pastries…I have always loved palmiers growing up…such nostalgia…

  12. Ann says:

    I’ve had my eye on PH’s chocolate puff pastry! Yours is to die for!

  13. rainbowbrown says:

    They’re beautiful. I’m not used to chocolate puff pastry, but I do love the brown-ness of them. I’m a sucker for color.

  14. Bridget says:

    Wow, Aran…you are really amazing! You know, the house next door to ours is for sale, and I’d be happy to take all of those pastries off your hands for you anytime! :)

  15. So glad you went with chocolate puff pastry! They shots are so gorgeous…what a great combo with the raspberries too!

  16. Eres loca Aran por hacer hojaldre con el calor que hace! Ya comi hojadre de chocolate pero solo en mil-hojas, ahora me quedé con ganas de probar las palmeritas! Que ricas que se ven!

  17. I’m a sucker for anything puff pastry, Aran, and this chocolate version is killing me – I have got to try it!

  18. Cakespy says:

    More than a thousand layers of sweet pleasure! Wonderful!!!

  19. ana dane says:

    oooh those chocolate palmiers- i didn’t think palmiers could ever be improved upon. i was wrong.

  20. Alexa says:

    Pate feuilletee is an art in itself. Wow, this chocolate version looks amazing and delicious.

  21. Esti says:

    aran, la razón por la que me gusta tu blog es por el corazón que pones en cads foto, en cada receta, y por ese sentido familiar que se adivina entre tus líneas. Muy bonito.

  22. Absolutely, totally beautiful.

  23. Bria says:

    Absolutely beautiful! How can one person have so much talent??

  24. Astrid says:

    Aha! So that is what I have been hoping to achieve with my millefeuille! Looks divine and so elegant. It makes me want to try again.

  25. Annette says:

    Aran, I am in awe… Beautiful — in pictures, words, technique — as always.

  26. Candace says:

    Gorgeous! Absolutely perfect layers!

  27. This looks amazing. I agree with you. I judge a pastry shop always by its croissants and other laminated dough products. I would love to try this recipe, but I do not think I have reached this pastry level yet. So, in the mean time I will just lust after your pictures.

  28. I haven’t made my own puff yet, but all I can say from those photos of how yours came out is “wow!” That looks spectacular

  29. Anonymous says:

    Aran,
    your picture are as delicious as your creations. We have a bakery in a very humid island, Puerto Rico, and we make the palmeritas from scratch from our puff pastry dough… and the pastelillitos too.. they are square of puff pastry stuff with guava paste and topped with powdered sugar. hummmm…. We stuffed too with nutella, i cant imagine your chocolate mil hojas stuffed with nutella like the pastelillitos..

  30. Y says:

    Beautiful millefeuille! And I looove palmiers. Especially cinnamon ones with lots of caramelised sugar on them.

  31. Brilynn says:

    Wow! That looks amazing!
    My mom loves millefeuille and is always trying to get me to make it.

  32. Helene says:

    It’s a pure Joy to look at your photographs.

  33. Camille says:

    I’m always so inspired when I look at your blog. Your photos are beautiful, your mille-feuilles are stunning and look delicious.

    I think you need a lot of patience and time for puff pastry and it is a joy to make when I know I have the time and can do it properly.

  34. adina says:

    I often read your recipes and admire your pictures, but this chocolate puff pastry really deserves a comment! it’s gorgeous!!

  35. ChichaJo says:

    That looks beautiful! Puff pastry is already divine…to make it chocolate is heavenly! I wish I had your confidence in making it…I have read Fanny’s post too, but I fear it is really much to hot where I live to make it…perhaps one day! I haven’t given up hope yet :)

  36. Virginia says:

    Gracias por tu visita. Para precioso tu blog que es una maravilla para la vista, incluso para el gusto y el oído porque se diría que se oye crujir el hojaldre y yo ya estoy ensalivando…
    Felicidades

  37. Eileen says:

    Hi Aran,
    I’m amazed that you’re doing laminated dough in Florida this time of year! I’ve sworn it off in Minnesota till fall/winter. Beautiful photo!

    Eileen (passions to pastry)
    http://www.livingtastefully.com

  38. Glad to see that you’re refreshed and inspired after your vay-cay! Your chocolate mille feuille is making my mouth water!

  39. these look unbelievable and i love the berries with the chocolate—i literally drooled i think…

  40. Bea says:

    mmmmm Aran. Once again, pefect realization of a truly elegant dessert! Move to Boston ;-)

  41. Mobula says:

    Ayyyyy!!!! Aran!!! Todo lo que haces es pecaminoso!!!!!

    mira que no me termino de atrever con el hojaldre y eso que cuando tuvimos el reto de las DB me entusiasmé y compré buena mantequilla para hacerlo, pero con el calor que hace estos días por aquí como que no….

    Y quiero también hacer croissant, y usar los restos dela masa danesa en unas pastitas pero el horno me tira pa´tras….

    Yo me comería todas las palmeritas y el milhojas…..

    Ana

  42. wow how nice. these look really delicious and anything with chocoalte is over the top. I really like your photos. I m drooling.
    Oh no its the monitor upss

  43. barbara says:

    It’s just splendid!!!Congratulations!

  44. Really, really gorgeous dough. Whenever I look at Herme’s book, I always linger over that photo. Yours looks even better. Your photos always make me want to bake!

  45. Mrs.French says:

    thanks to you I am wanting to skip breakfast and partake in this decadence.

  46. Anonymous says:

    Amazing. How lucky of you to be born in a pastry cheif family. I tried pastry before, but didn’t came out too good for me. I’ve been itching to attempt it again and this is just the right inspiration I needed.

  47. Sandy Smith says:

    Your palmiers are gorgeous! Thanks for a very clear and well-thought-out description of this challenging pastry process. Getting up my courage . . .

  48. Angela says:

    Beautiful! I love the photo showing all the layers in the finished pastry.

  49. Anonymous says:

    since i ve seen this photo in august i want to make your beautiful palmier but first i have a little question before baking them do you give them this specific shape or just cut them out from the log will is enough to obtain such result
    thank you in advance for you answer
    anis

  50. Aran says:

    Anis- you need to turn a sheet of puff pastry into a log that is folded four times like a book and then cut it into individual slices that will be baked. Does this make sense? It’s written under the recipes. Good luck and let me know how it goes!

  51. Anonymous says:

    thanks a lot for your sweet answer maybe i was not clear enough sorry i understand how to fold it much like a tour portefeuille your explanation are very good on this point but what i want to know how will i obtain this perfect shape i have done a lot of palmier since i am a little girl but never obtain this wonderful shape because whwn you cut it from the log they don t havie this final shape at all
    many thanks
    anis

  52. Aran says:

    Anis- The reason why you lose the shape is because the dough probably got too soft. Make sure that when you form the log, you tighten it. Maybe wrap it in parchment so it keeps that shape. Refrigerate it again so it’s nice and cold when you are going to cut it. And cut almost like you are serrating it so you don’t deform it too much. Let me know.

  53. Anonymous says:

    now i am preparing my pate feuillettee sure i will let you know! many thanks Aran
    anis

  54. Sigh…
    Why is it that my ‘pastry’ that is currently chilling in the fridge looks nothing like yours…
    I suppose that’s why you are a fantastic pastry chef and I’m not.
    haha
    I shall persevere! Just for you my dear!

  55. niksen says:

    Last Wednesday i bought Larousse and today i tried making the chocolat pâte feuilletée, my second pâte feuilletée ever. I’m planning to make a dutch cherry torte in black forest style and found this post by searching for chocolate mille-feuille ’cause i wanted to see what the baken product will look like. And now i can’t wait starting baking after the overnight chilling of the dough -.-

  56. Michelle says:

    oh, how lucky i am, i got Pierre Herme’s recipe!!! thank u, the picture was very beautiful…

    hey, u said 425g butter* is salted or unsalted??? but i saw u wrote 70g unsalted butter..
    anyway, i follow ur recipe..i used the salted butter.i mean normal butter….
    i hope i do it right..!!!
    THANK U…!!!!^^

  57. Aran says:

    Michelle- I’m sorry that’s a bit confusing… my mistake really, I should be more specific. Every time I mention just butter, I refer to unsalted butter, but I’m sure the recipe will be fine even if you have used salted butter. Let me know how it turned out!

  58. Zakiah says:

    Thank you very much for sharing this recipe! I gave it a try yesterday (I’m trying to teach myself french pastry) and it turned out great, for a first timer I think ;)

    I followed Fanny’s tutorial on how to make the pate,and I enjoyed the whole process very much.

    I put up some photos on my flickr, if you’d like to see how they were.

    Again, many thanks! (and wow, do i love your photos!)

    Cheers!

  59. At the beginning you say to “wrap the dough…forming a rectangle that is approximately 6 inches long on one side” without giving the length of the other side. I was puzzled initially, but it kinda makes sense if you meant “square”. Is that right? (Same, too, for the slightly smaller butter block). Thanks.

  60. ec says:

    gorgeous…looking recipe. Question how do you prevent the butter from oozing out during baking?

  61. gisele says:

    Oh, how lovely and beautiful. I am now completely gluten intolerant but was once the head of a bakery… oh how I miss my love, wheat and the joy lost is very sad. So, have you tried this with gluten free flour(s) If so please post your experience(s). I have tried others but nothing is like my beloved wheat.

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