Mille-feuille with citrus fruits and basil

Mille-feuille with citrus fruits and basil

PS Desserts
Mark Roper

I love the combination of citrus and basil. This dessert has everything: the tang of the fruit, the sweet crunch of the puff pastry and the unctuous pale green basil cream. It’s my sophisticated version of a French classic.


Quantity Ingredient
1 quantity Puff pastry, chilled
60g pure icing sugar

Citrus fruits

Quantity Ingredient
1 ruby grapefruit
2 oranges
2 blood oranges
2 mandarins
1 tangelo

Basil cream

Quantity Ingredient
1 cup basil leaves
orange, finely grated
80g caster sugar
375ml thickened cream, (35% milk fat)
150ml milk
2 gold-strength gelatine leaves, softened in cold water, then squeezed to remove excess water

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
Confit citrus zest, made with orange zest
tiny basil leaves, for garnishing


  1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC. Line a heavy-based baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Using firm, even strokes, bash the pastry out to a workable thickness with a rolling pin, then roll out to about 4 mm thick. Using a pastry docker or a fork, prick the pastry all over. Place onto the prepared tray. Cover the surface with another layer of paper and place two heavy trays on top. If you don’t have a third tray, weight the top down with something heavy.
  3. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and take off the top trays and the paper. Increase the oven temperature to 220ºC. Using a sieve, heavily dust or dredge the pastry with the icing sugar.
  4. Return the pastry to the oven and bake until the sugar caramelises, about 4–6 minutes. Don’t turn your back on it, as the pastry can burn quickly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool, then cut into 10 cm x 4 cm rectangles. You will need 18 rectangles.
  5. Citrus fruits

    Peel and segment the citrus fruits using a very sharp knife. Cut the grapefruit segments in half. Try and do this as close as possible to serving as the juices will leach out if prepared too far in advance.
  6. For the basil cream

    Blanch the basil leaves in rapidly boiling water, drain then refresh in iced water. Drain again and squeeze out the excess water. Roughly chop.
  7. Rub the orange zest into the sugar to release the citrus oils. Put the cream and milk in a saucepan, add the orange zest mixture and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. When the liquids come to a simmer, add the gelatine and stir to dissolve.
  8. In a blender, whiz the basil and half of the cream mixture until completely puréed and vivid green. Add the remaining cream mixture. Strain through a fine sieve into a container and refrigerate until set.
  9. To serve

    Place a little confit zest on the serving plates (this will stop the pastry from slipping), then place a pastry rectangle on top. Using a teaspoon dipped into very hot water, form small quenelles of the basil cream and place evenly onto the pastry. Fill the gaps in between with the citrus fruits. Scatter confit orange zest strips between them. Place another pastry rectangle on top and repeat. Top with a final layer of pastry, and garnish with confit zest pearls and the tiny basil leaves.


  • Docking or pricking the pastry will help keep the layers from puffing up too much during baking.

    You can use any combination of citrus fruits that are in season.


  • The puff pastry dough can be made ahead and frozen but it is best baked on the day of serving or the sugar becomes sticky. You can make the confit zest well ahead and the basil cream the day before, but segment the citrus fruit just before serving.
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