Spring, at last! Though it was a relatively tame winter (not including that snow storm I happened to miss out on) the sun and mild weather already feels rejuvenating, bringing with it a shift in the winds, the arrival of a new phase.
I realize that I mention this feeling of “rebirth” and starting another revolution of an ever-evolving cycle of life maturation each time spring comes around but it truly does happen. I mean, look at the evidence. 3years ago in the spring, a year out of college and just finding my first “real job”, I was going through a new phase of acclimation. 2 years ago I entered a major phase of personal growth and trying things that I was maybe too scared to try beforehand. And 1 year ago, the spring was the start of a lesson in healing and a long and slow process of realizing that hurt and sadness do indeed go away.
So what about this year? When spring arrived I still wasn’t sure yet. Unlike other years, this spring didn’t start off with a huge change or clear-cut moment defining the beginning of a new phase. That is, until I came across this quote by Emily Dickinson on Instagram of all places.
“The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.”
That’s when I realized that the phases of my life these past three years and what I’ve learned from them have all been leading up to this, the stage where I really begin to just start living. It’s almost as if I’ve been spending my time getting to know who I am, deep down to the core and now that I’ve done that, I am free to take risks, be a bit reckless, and just let myself go without risk of losing sight of the self. And that made me excited! So excited I couldn’t help but make a 4 layer cake complete with rainbow sprinkles for Easter dessert this past weekend. Because I couldn’t possibly claim to be living it up to the fullest extent if rainbow sprinkles weren’t involved, amiright. Thus, Funfetti Millefeuille.
Millefeuille, a classic French dessert meaning “thousand leaves,” is composed of alternating layers of crispy and flaky puff pastry with a creamy custardy filling and a layer of icing on top. It’s best eaten immediately if it’s the crispy texture you crave, but I found it really nice once it softened too, almost éclair-like. This particular version, filled with a rainbow sprinkle-infused sweet mascarpone filling and decorated just as frivolously, is probably as far as you could go in terms of bastardizing the original version, probably causing Julia Child to roll over in her grave with each layer added. But do I care? Nope! Because this looks like springtime and tastes like birthday cake with a sort of cavity-inducing sweetness that can only be complemented by a cup of strong black coffee. So, if it’s ecstatic experiences I‘m opening my soul to this year, well, I’d say I’m off to a pretty good start.
Recipe from Tasting Table
For the Pastry
1 17.3 oz package (containing two sheets) of puff pastry thawed in the refrigerator and cut in half, lengthwise, creating 4 rectangles of puff pastry.
2 Tbs. powdered sugar
For the Filling
2 cups mascarpone cheese
½ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy cream, whipped
½ cup rainbow sprinkles
For the Icing
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbs. milk
2 Tbs. butter, melted and cooled
2 tsp. corn syrup
red, blue, green, and yellow food coloring
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place 2 rectangles of the puff pastry on each baking sheet and prick them all over with a fork. Use a fine-mesh sieve to dust them on each side with powdered sugar. Bake until golden, 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and use another baking sheet to press down lightly on the pastry to flatten them some. Once flattened, transfer the pastry to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Make the filling by combining the mascarpone cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and whipped cream in a bowl until well blended. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To make the icing, combine the powdered sugar, milk, butter, and corn syrup in a bowl. In 4 small bowls place 1 Tbs. of the icing. Add 2-3 drops of one color of food coloring to each bowl of icing and mix well. You’ll end up with a tablespoon of icing for each color. Transfer each of these to a separate sandwich bag and seal shut. Leave the rest of the white icing in a bowl until ready to use.
To assemble the millefeuille begin by adding the sprinkles to the filling and mix well. Transfer to a piping bag or a gallon plastic bag with one corner snipped off. Place one piece of the puff pastry on your serving platter. Pipe a third of the filling onto the pastry and spread evenly with a knife or offset spatula. Repeat this step 2 more times. Add the final piece of pastry to the top and use an offset spatula to spread the white icing on the top. Snip the very tip of the bottom corner of each bag of colored frosting and work quickly to pipe thin lines across the top of the cake, alternating colors. Once you’ve covered the entire length of the cake with stripes of colored frosting, use a toothpick and drag the tip across the length of the cake. Do this, alternating direction each time, until you’ve reached the other side of the cake. Slice crosswise to serve.