Mil hojas

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Claire Clarke's mil hojas recipe is a great celebration bake for those who shy away from traditional sponge cakes. A Chilean version of mille-feuille, this stunning creation boasts decadent swathes of dulce de leche and pastry cream between crisp puff pastry layers. This recipe is taken from 80 Cakes From Around the World by Claire Clark, published by Absolute Press.

First published in 2018

This is the Chilean version of a millefeuille, or thousand leaves. In Chile it is sandwiched together with dulce de leche. I have made it a little more like the French millefeuille here by using a pastry cream flavoured with dulce de leche as well as the straight-up milky caramel. Walnuts add crunch and extra flavour to the buttery pastry and caramel.

This is best eaten on the day it is made, as the filling will cause the pastry to soften. It's perfectly okay to make the pastry layers one day and fill them the next. Just put them back into the oven for 10 minutes to refresh them before cooling and filling.




Pastry cream

  • 2 medium eggs
  • 125g of caster sugar
  • 15g of plain flour
  • 15g of cornflour
  • 1/2 vanilla pod
  • 250ml of milk


Start by making the pastry cream. Put the eggs and sugar into a bowl, sift in the flour and cornflour and mix to a smooth paste. Slit the vanilla pod open lengthwise, put it in a pan with the milk and bring to the boil
Gradually pour the hot milk on to the egg mix, whisking to combine. Remove the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds into the mix. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over a moderate heat, whisking continuously, until it thickens and comes to the boil. Reduce the heat and continue whisking for a minute longer
Transfer to a clean container and cover the surface with cling film to prevent a skin forming. Leave to cool
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
Cut the pastry into circles using an 18cm cutter — or you can use a plate turned upside down as a guide to cut around. Place the discs on non-stick baking trays, setting them slightly apart. Re-roll any trimmings and cut out as many discs as you can; you should end up with 3 or 4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and crisp, checking that the base of the pastry is also coloured. Leave to cool on the trays
Scoop the dulce de leche from the jar into a bowl and whisk gently until it is smooth. Mix in the brandy. Whisk the cooled pastry cream to loosen it and then gently stir in 2 tablespoons of the dulce de leche
Take a large serrated bread knife and cur each disc horizontally in half to make 2 thinner discs. Take care, as they will be fragile. Assemble the cake on a cake board or plate, as it will be hard to transfer once you have finished. Take the first layer of pastry and spread it with a layer of the pastry cream about 5mm thick. Place the next layer of pastry on top, spread with dulce de leche and sprinkle with some chopped walnuts. Repeat this process until you have used up all the ingredients. Sift the icing sugar over the top and sprinkle with any remaining chopped walnuts

Claire Clark is regarded as one of the top three pastry chefs in the world. Claire is now a freelance chef consultant based in London.

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