This is one of those recipes that looks very impressive, like you’ve been so so clever, in fact must be “an expert” and this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact the only part of the last sentence that’s actually true is it “looks very impressive“. It came from visiting an aunt who gave me a packet of filo pastry and a packet of mascarpone that needed to be used up on the way home. After a bit of ‘tinternet’ research I picked Jamie Oliver’s version of a berry Millefeuille, which I’ve adapted here. It reminds me of hot summer meals in Kuwait (every day was a hot summers day in Kuwait!) that were always finished with the most delicate, delicious Ramadan / Arabic sweets. It also reminded me of a delicious Pistachio & Raspberry Tart, the very best tart I have ever tasted, baked last year that I must get the recipe for – thinking of you O this week.
The only fiddly bit of this is working with the Filo Pastry – the trick is to keep it moist by covering it with a damp tea towel, and to plaster it, literally leave it dripping with melted butter – this recipe needs it. You could add a drop of rose water syrup if you want to go the whole Middle Eastern route, I just brushed each layer with Wexford Honey. This is a perfect prepare ahead recipe too – although it has to be said that there was very little time between the preparing and eating here – look at the ‘sliced rectangles on baking sheet’ photo – one went MIA when I turned my back to whip the mascarpone!)
10 sheets of filo pastry – I used enough to cover a large swiss roll tin so it was probably two sheets per layer, layed out side by side.
200g butter, melted
75g shelled pistachios, chopped
100 g Icing Sugar (I actually used Castor sugar which worked really well)
5 / dessert spoons warmed honey
200g mixed frozen berries
50g golden caster sugar
A splash of dessert wine (optional)
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways, seeds scraped
150g natural fat-free yoghurt
150ml double cream
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
25g Icing sugar to taste the mascarpone mixture.
(No idea why my ‘ingredients’ have decided to space themselves as they have – my sentences really have a life of their own today! Some need some personal space it appears – like the lemon doesn’t want to be beside the icing sugar?!)
- Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4, and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
- Lay a sheet of filo on the baking paper on a work surface and brush with a little melted butter, then drizzle some warm honey over and spread that around. Top with a thin layer of pistachios, then a dusting of icing / castor sugar.
- Lay another sheet of filo on top and repeat with the butter, pistachios, honey and icing/castor sugar. Repeat this two more times, or until the pastry runs out, then finish with a sheet of filo and a brush of butter, sprinkle of nuts, sugar and final drizzle of honey. (You may need a little more honey, depending on how generous you’ve been in the lower layers)
- Slide / transfer to the baking sheet.
- Pop the tray in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, until golden and puffed. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with more icing sugar. Cut carefully into 16 rectangles when still hot with a large sharp knife. (Jamie cut them before they were cooked and spread them all out across two baking sheets – its up to you)
- Then leave to cool.
- Meanwhile, put the mixed berries and caster sugar in a pan and set it over a medium heat. Stir in a splash of dessert wine, if using, and a generous knob of butter.
- Add the vanilla pod to the berries, simmer for 5 minutes until just breaking down, then drain them in a sieve over a pan to catch the juices. Set aside to cool, and pop the juice over a medium heat to simmer and thicken to a lovely sauce.
- In a bowl, whisk together the mascarpone, yoghurt, cream, vanilla seeds, lemon juice and zest, and 25g of icing sugar, until light and fluffy.
- To assemble your dessert, take one rectangle of filo, place on a plate, top with a few dollops of mascarpone, arrange a layer of the drained fruit on top, then top with a filo rectangle. Repeat with a layer of mascarpone and fruit, then finish with the final layer of filo. Do the same with the rest, making four filo stacks.
(We decided three was very very rich and went for 2 filo rectangles instead, which would give you 8 desserts, if you do three, you will get 4 desserts with three stacks and one with 2 – adjust to suit the numbers you need)
- Serve drizzled with the thickened fruit juice and a dusting of icing sugar.