Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Matcha Mille-feuille

Breakfast: Granola with yogurt, just to be original

Lunch: Almond salad followed by lashings of matcha mille-feuille

Dinner: Vegan lentil chili

One of the great things about being in Toronto is that matcha, the powdered green tea, is readily available everywhere - and not just in powder form, but latte form, cookie form and cake form too.

I had missed matcha lattes a lot whilst living in Aus and on the weekend I decided that the time had come for me to experiment with some matcha baking. I first made a matcha marble cake with coconut buttercream, but felt more inspired to try something of my own: enter the matcha mille-feuille.

Mille-feuille translates to "a thousand layers" in French, but mille-feuille cakes can be known as Napoleon cakes or vanilla slices depending where you are. This is a bit of a variation, but isn't variety the spice of life?

You'll need
(Feeds 6-8)
100g plain flour
1 egg
1 egg white
2 tbsp milk
100g butter
100g caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp matcha
500ml whipping cream
2 tbsp icing sugar
4 tbsp icing sugar
1/2 tsp matcha

Put the whipping cream, whisk and a metal or ceramic bowl in the freezer
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C
Cream together the butter and the caster sugar until very fluffy
Beat the egg into the mix
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg white until it forms soft peaks, and set aside
In another bowl, sift together the flour and 1 1/2 tsp of matcha
Fold this flour mixture into the egg mixture with the milk
Gently fold the egg white into this mixture
Grease an 11 x 17 inch baking tray and then flour it
Spread the batter evenly onto the tray, making it as flat as possible
Cook in the oven for 5 minutes, or until it is done. Watch out for burning!
Turn the cake onto a clean tea towel and cut into half, vertically
Cut each of these halves into 3 even pieces, horizontally. You should have 6 equal rectangular pieces
Save 5 of these and set one aside - don't throw away!
Mix 4 tbsps of icing sugar with 2 tbsp water to form icing, then split this in half
Mix 1/2 tsp matcha into half the icing, leaving one amount green and one amount white
Spread a thin layer of white icing onto one layer of cake and let it dry
Create any pattern of your choice by dripping / swirling the green icing on top of the white icing. Allow to dry
Take the cream, whisk and bowl from the freezer and whip the cream until it forms sort peaks
Sift in 2 tbsp of icing sugar and whip again until it forms stiff peaks. Separate into 4 equal amounts
Put one layer of cake onto your serving tray and layer one of the amounts of cream on top, keeping as even as possible
Layer another piece of cake and then another layer of cream and so on until all the cream is gone, then put the iced layer of cake on top
Serve immediately!

Because the whipped cream will start to break down quite quickly, and the cake will start to sag after a short while in any sort of heat, this must be served immediately after it's been constructed. Another option is to freeze it straight away - this gives a fantastic Viennetta-like ice cream cake if eaten straight from the freezer, or a slightly chilled version of its original self if left to thaw out for 5 minutes. Either way, it's a winner!

With the leftover cake slice and any leftover whipped cream, you can make a fantastic easy matcha ice cream: just crumble the cake into the cream, stir it around with a little of the green frosting for aesthetics, and freeze. A lovely additional treat for when the cake is all gone.

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