Succulent strawberry and cream, deeply indulgent chocolate and crispy puff pastry. A special creation from last year’s Summer Desserts collection.
Time: 40 minutes preparation; 35 minutes cooking
3 tbsp Hotel Chocolat Cocoa Nibs
300ml / 10½fl oz / scant 1¼ cups
double (heavy) cream
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp caster (superfine) sugar
500g / 1lb 2oz ready-made puff pastry
5 tbsp icing (confectioners) sugar
40g / 1½oz/ ¼ cup Hotel Chocolat 70% Dark Chocolate Drops
500g / 1lb 2oz strawberries, hulled
Juice of 1 lemon
1–2 tbsp icing (confectioners) sugar, to taste
2 tbsp Hotel Chocolat Cocoa Nibs
400g / 14oz strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 tbsp icing (confectioners) sugar, for dusting
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4. To make the nibbed cream, place the cocoa nibs in a heatproof bowl in the oven for 10 minutes until warmed through. Remove from the oven and pour in the cream, stir, then leave to infuse until needed. (If possible, do this a day in advance and keep, covered, in the fridge.)
2. To make the mille-feuille, turn the oven to 200°C / 400°F / Gas 6. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
3. Roll the pastry out to 5mm / ¼in thick. Cut into 9 rectangles approximately twice as long as they are wide and place on the prepared baking sheet. Dust the pastry with icing (confectioners) sugar and top with a second sheet of baking parchment and a baking sheet to prevent the pastry rising. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the top baking sheet and baking parchment. Return the mille-feuille to the oven and cook for a few more minutes until golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
4. To make the strawberry sauce, place the strawberries and lemon juice into a blender and blend until puréed. Stir in the icing sugar, to taste, then pass the mixture through a fi ne sieve into a bowl. Stir in the cocoa nibs.
5. Just before assembling the mille-feuille, put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a pan of gently simmering water (do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water) and heat until melted.
6. Pass the nibbed cream through a fi ne sieve into a bowl. Add the vanilla extract and caster (superfi ne) sugar and whisk into stiff peaks.
7. To assemble the mille-feuille, carefully cut each piece of pastry in half crossways to make two pieces. Brush one side of each pastry sheet with the melted chocolate. Place one piece, chocolate-side up in the centre of each serving plate and top with some of the nibbed cream mixture. Lay a few of the sliced strawberries on top of the cream, then top with a second piece of pastry, chocolate-side up. Repeat this process with the remaining cream and strawberries.
8. Top each serving with the fi nal piece of pastry, chocolate-side down. Dust with icing sugar, spoon around the strawberry sauce and strawberries.