We are back to the Nailed it or Failed it recipe of the week, and I must say it is one of my favorite days. Not only do I get to make beautiful stuff, but I always learn something. This week we are making a Banana Mille-Feuille with coconut snow and banana caramel from the book Bachour. If you have missed any of the other weeks you can always catch up here. This weeks recipe is really quite easy, just a lot of components.
This Banana Mille-Feuille consists of flaky layers of puff pastry alternated with banana cream and topped with coconut snow. I started this recipe with a love hate feeling. I was expecting to hate it because I really don't like phyllo dough. It can be a crumbly mess. But with enough caramel, it's amazing how yummy one stack of that crumbly dough can become. The original recipe made 24 servings and I cut it in half to make 12 servings.
What is the difference between Mille-Feuille and Napoleon?
A Mille-Feuille is a French pastry dessert made up of thin layers of puff pastry alternated with layers of cream filling with a ganache topping. The word Mille-Feuille translated to English means one thousand sheets or layers which refers to the decadent layering in this dessert.
Mille-Feuille is very similar to a Napoleon, an Italian dessert. One of the main differences is that a Napoleon will use almond paste instead of cream. A Napoleon is always sweet, but a Mille-Feuille can either be sweet or savory.
Traditionally a Mille-Feuille will consist of three layers of puff pastry alternated with two layers of cream. You might see Mille-Feuille topped with a dusting of icing sugar and crushed nuts or pastry crumbs. A glazed chocolate, icing or fondant is another common topping for Mille-Feuille.
What makes a Mille-Feuille special is the combination of airy, flaky layers with the right amount of crisp with creamy layers in between creating a dessert with a decadent texture.
- Phyllo Dough
- Unsalted Butter
- Caramel Sauce
- Heavy Whipping Cream
- Tapioca Maltodextrin
- Coconut Oil
- Powdered Sugar
- Gelatin Sheets
Where To Get Coconut Snow?
There is one component, the coconut snow, that most home kitchens won't have the ingredients for. I kept it in the recipe because I like it and it was by far the most fun component of the dish. The snow calls for tapioca maltodextrin, which some people call maltodextrin snow. You most likely don't have this laying around in your kitchen, but it is easily obtained, through Amazon for about $10. Best $10 you will have spent! If you love coconut, it's a must. If you don't feel like spending the bucks at Amazon, then you could easily brown up coconut flakes for the top. Definitely a different texture and look, but will give you the coconut flavor.
How To Make Banana Mille-Feuille
The Caramel Sauce
First, prepare the caramel sauce. In a small saucepan, bring cream just to a boil and set aside. Next, in a medium saucepan over medium heat sprinkle sugar evenly over the bottom of the pan. Cook slowly until it turns an amber color shaking the pan periodically so it doesn’t burn. Gradually add the hot cream in small batches continuing to whisk ingredients. As with any caramel, there is always a danger of spatter and burn, so be careful when adding the cream. Stir in bananas. Cook for one minute, stirring occasionally, then remove from heat and transfer to a blender. Blend until smooth. Set aside to cool.
Next, prepare the phyllo dough. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place one sheet of phyllo on a parchment lined sheet pan. Brush the phyllo with butter and drizzle with the caramel sauce you prepared earlier. Repeat the process with six more sheets. Add a final layer of dough and only brush with butter. Use a pairing knife to trim edges of the dough to toss and cut dough into 2 x 4 rectangles. Cover your rectangles with parchment paper and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Let them cool and remove from pan. Store in an airtight container.
To make coconut snow combine all ingredients (tapioca maltodextrin, coconut oil, and powdered sugar) in a food processor. Process until crumbly and occasionally scrape down sides with a rubber spatula. Set aside until ready to assemble everything.
Banana Pastry Cream
To make the banana pastry cream, soak gelatin in ice water until softened; squeeze out excess water and set aside. In a heavy bottomed pot, bring milk and sugar to a boil. In a small bowl whisk together cornstarch and egg yolks. Pour hot liquid into yolk mixture to temper. Return mixture to the heavy bottomed pot and cook over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbling. Remove from heat and stir in gelatin until dissolved. Add butter and banana. Stir until butter melts. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Remember you are going to be piping the pastry cream, so when they say chopped, they mean really small. They will need to get through the tip of the piping bag.
The banana pastry cream is my favorite component of this dessert. I am a pastry cream lover to start with, and then you add delicious ripe bananas...It's a match made in heaven. If you aren't up for making all the pieces of this, you could only make the banana pastry cream and use it for so many other things. It's a delicious, rich, creamy custard. Think cream puffs or eclairs or even donuts. This would make a fabulous filling for any of those. It would also be great for individual bite sized tarts and top it with Chantilly cream or even strawberries.
Banana Caramel Sauce
To make the banana caramel sauce, bring cream to a boil in a small pot. In a medium saucepan slowly heat sugar until it reaches a golden amber color. Slowly add hot cream and whisk to combine. Stir in the banana. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth.
Putting Together the Mille-Feuille
Spread a layer of banana caramel sauce onto the center of a plate. Top with one rectangle of prepared phyllo. Using a piping bag, top the layer of phyllo with banana pastry cream and repeat to make three total layers. Dust the top layer with coconut snow and any other garnishes.
How do you eat Mille-Feuille?
So now you have this beautifully layered and delicate Mille-Feuille, but now the real challenge begins. How do you actually eat it?
First, to properly serve a Mille-Feuille and prevent the cream from oozing out of the sides, use a serrated knife to delicately cut through the layers. Traditionally, Mille-Feuille is served in 4 to 6 inch long slices. Alternatively, you can cut your Mille-Feuille into bite sized chunks and serve 4 to 6 on one plate.
When it comes to eating the Mille-Feuille, here are a few recommended ways:
- Using a fork, point the tines straight down and cut out bite sized pieces.
- Use a fork and a knife to delicately cut bite size pieces.
- Lay the dessert on its side and use your fork or spoon to cut through the layers.
Most importantly what makes a Mille-Feuille special is the alternating layers of crispy and creamy texture. To get the full Mille-Feuille experience be sure to cut bites that include both of the pastry and banana cream.
Oh and did we mention...Nailed It! Go ahead and give this a try. We would love to see how you do with the recipe!
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Banana Mille-Feuille with Coconut Snow
- 114 gram heavy cream
- 90 gram granulated sugar
- 8 sheets phyllo dough
- ½ cup unsalted butter melted
- ½ cup caramel Sauce
- 40 gram tapioca maltodextrin
- 60 gram coconut oil
- 15 gram confectioner's sugar
Banana Pastry Cream
- 2 gelatin sheets
- 2 cups whole milk
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 55 gram cornstarch
- 100 gram egg yolks
- 1 ½ ripe bananas chopped
- 50 gram unsalted butter
Banana Caramel Sauce
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 3 oz granulated sugar
- 1 ripe banana
- In a small saucepan, bring cream just to a boil and set aside.
- Heat a medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat and sprinkle sugar evenly over bottom of the pan.
- Cook slowly to an amber caramel, shaking pan periodically to prevent burning.
- Very gradually, add hot cream in small batches and continue to whisk ingredients. Stir In bananas.
- Cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally, then remove from heat and transfer to a blender.
- Blend until smooth. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place a sheet of phyllo on a parchment lined sheet pan.
- Brush phyllo with butter and then drizzle with the caramel sauce. Repeat process with six more sheets and top with a final sheet of dough. Complete final layer by brushing only with butter.
- Use a pairing knife to trim the edges of phyllo and cut into 2 by 4 rectangles. Discard the edges.
- Cover with parchment paper and top with a sheet tray.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.
- Cool, then remove from pan and store in an airtight container.
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor.
- Process, occasionally scraping down sides with a rubber spatula and crumbly. Set aside until ready to assemble.
Banana Pastry Cream
- Soak gelatin in ice water until softened; squeeze out excess water and set aside.
- In a heavy bottomed pot, bring milk and sugar to boil.
- Whisk to combine cornstarch and yolks in a small bowl. Pour hot liquid into yolk mixture to temper.
- Return mixture to pot and cook over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbling.
- Remove from heat and stir in gelatin to dissolve. Add butter and banana and stir until butter has melted.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Banana Caramel Sauce
- Bring cream to a boil in a small pot.
- Slowly heat sugar in a medium sized saucepan to reach a golden amber color.
- Slowly add hot cream, whisking to combine.
- Stir in banana and transfer to a blender. Blend until it is smooth.
- Spread banana caramel sauce onto the center of a plate and top with one rectangle of prepared phyllo.
- Top with banana pastry cream and repeat for a total of three layers
- Dust the top layer with coconut snow and garnish.
Here are a few of our favorite decadent dessert recipes:
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