Like most of the nation, we’ve been tuning in each week to discover what the Great British Bake Off contestants were baking next and who would triumph as the best baker of all. Well, this Tuesday we were delighted to see Jo Wheatley win over the judges with her trio of mini banoffee pies, Victoria sponge sandwiches and white chocolate and raspberry pistachio meringues.
Jo, a young grandmother from Essex, honed her bakery skills making cakes for her sons. She said that it was the ‘tough feedback’ from her children that drove her to improve, and after a while she launched her own blog to share her baked goodies with the world. After winning she said, ‘It was a privilege to take part but to win it has been amazing.’
If you’ve been inspired by the show, the fantastic Great British Bake Off: How to Bake the Perfect Victoria Sponge and Other Baking Secrets book will have you baking like a pro in no time, but as a little treat for our readers we’ve got one of Jo’s favourite recipes to share with you. Read on for her delicious millefeuille recipe …
Jo’s Blueberry Millefeuille with Raspberry Coulis
For the pastry
240g unsalted butter
325g plain flour
good pinch of salt
about 250ml icy water
icing sugar, for dusting
For the raspberry coulis
2–3 tablespoons icing sugar, sifted
For the filling
250ml double cream, well chilled
100g toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
For the icing
100g icing sugar, sifted
6 raspberries, to decorate
2 baking sheets; non-stick baking paper; a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain tube; a squeezy icing bottle, or a greaseproof paper icing bag (or small plastic bag)
To make the rough puff pastry, first chill the butter in the freezer until very hard but not totally frozen. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl, then grate the butter straight into the flour. Make up the pastry with the icy water as described on page 164 of the book. After the fourth ‘turn’, wrap and chill for 20 minutes. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured worktop to a large rectangle. Using a ruler and a large sharp knife, trim the sides to make a neat 33 x 36cm rectangle. With the help of the ruler, cut the pastry into 18 rectangles, each 6 x 11cm.
Line one of the baking sheets with non-stick baking paper. Arrange 9 rectangles on the lined sheet. Arrange the rest on another sheet of baking paper. Prick all the rectangles well, then chill for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas 7.
Cover the pastry rectangles on the baking sheet with a sheet of baking paper and top with the second baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the top baking sheet and the paper. Dust well with icing sugar and bake for a further 10 to 15 minutes or until thoroughly cooked, crisp and a good golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool. Bake the remaining rectangles in the same way.
To make the coulis, put the raspberries and 1 tablespoon icing sugar into a food processor and blend until smooth. Taste and add a little more sugar as needed. Press through a fine sieve to remove the seeds, then cover and chill. Whip the cream until just stiff, then spoon into the piping bag fitted with the plain tube. Using a serrated knife and a ruler, trim each pastry rectangle to 5 x 10cm. On each of 12 of the rectangles, pipe 12 dots of whipped cream, spacing the dots evenly. Place blueberries in the spaces between the dots.
Spoon 1 tablespoon of the coulis into a mixing bowl and reserve for the icing. Transfer the rest of the coulis to the squeezy icing bottle or the icing bag (snip off the corner or tip). Pipe dots of coulis over the blueberries and cream, then sprinkle with most of the chopped hazelnuts. For the icing, add the sugar and 1 to 2 teaspoons cold water to the reserved coulis, stirring to make a smooth, thick but just runny glacé icing (see page 69 of the book). Spread this over the 6 remaining pastry rectangles, then sprinkle with the remaining hazelnuts.
Assemble the millefeuilles with the iced layer on top. Decorate each with a raspberry. Serve as soon as assembled or keep chilled and serve as soon as possible.