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Puff pastry, cream, chocolate

This is ridiculously easy, yet comes out looking pretty elegant. The only vaguely tricky bit is splitting the pastry into two – and that requires just a modicum of care. The end result is a sort of cross between a mille feuille and giant chocolate éclair. And who could resist that?

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6 and lightly butter a baking sheet, or line with baking parchment.

Your ready-rolled pastry sheet should measure about 22 x 30cm. If you are using a block of pastry, roll it out on a lightly floured surface to roughly these dimensions and 4–5mm thick. Trim the edges to neaten. Lift the pastry on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15–20 minutes until puffed up and golden brown. Carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool (this won’t take long).

Using a long, sharp, serrated knife, carefully split the pastry in two horizontally. You should find a natural ‘in’ where the layers of pastry are thinner and weaker. Carefully insert the knife and work it gently all the way around the pastry rectangle until you have completely freed the upper layer from the lower.

In a bowl, whisk the cream together with the icing sugar until it holds soft peaks. Spread the cream over the base piece of puff pastry. Using a fine grater, grate about half the chocolate over the cream. Carefully put the second piece of pastry on top.

Melt the remaining chocolate: break it into a small bowl or tea cup and stand this inside a larger bowl of just-boiled water. When the chocolate is melted and smooth, trickle it lavishly over the top of the pastry. I like to do this going back and forth diagonally across the pastry, but you can make any pattern you like.

As soon as the chocolate is set, the pud is ready to serve. Use a sharp, serrated knife to cut it into portions at the table.

Serving suggestions

A little fruit, such as poached cherries, whole or lightly crushed fresh raspberries or sliced strawberries, provides a nice contrast. You can either scatter the fruit over the cream before you put the pastry lid on, or just serve it on the side.

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Ingredients

  • 1 ready-rolled puff pastry sheet, about 200g, or roughly the same weight of readymade block puff pastry
  • 300ml double cream
  • 4 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 100g dark chocolate

This recipe is taken from...

Hugh’s Three Good Things

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