When event planner Glynis Hyslop entertains her maxim is ‘simple, unfussy and fresh’
9 sheets phyllo pastry
60ml butter, melted
125ml icing sugar
For the strawberry and rhubarb compôte
500g strawberries, hulled and quartered
400g rhubarb, cut into 1cm pieces
200ml white sugar
1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped
350ml whipping cream
juice of 1 lemon, plus 5ml finely grated zest
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line two baking sheets with baking paper.
2. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo pastry on a large cutting board. (Cover the rest with a clean, damp dish towel.) Brush the phyllo with melted butter and, using a sieve, lightly dust it with icing sugar. Layer another sheet of phyllo on top and repeat the process to create 3 layers. Cut the phyllo sheet into six equal-sized pieces.
3. Working quickly, while the phyllo is still pliable, use your fingers to gently gather up each piece to create a free-form, wavy square that’s about 10cm wide. Using a spatula, transfer them onto a baking sheet, spacing them about 2cm apart.
4. Repeat these steps with the remaining phyllo pastry to make 18 wavy squares.
5. Bake the phyllo squares until they’re golden and crisp, about 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature, dust with more icing sugar.
6. To make the compôte: bring a large pot of water to a simmer. In a large, heatproof bowl, toss together the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, vanilla pod, and half the vanilla seeds. Wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and set it over the simmering water. After 30 minutes, test a piece of rhubarb to see if it’s tender. If not, stir, rewrap the bowl, and cook for another 15 minutes, or until the rhubarb is tender, but not mushy.
7. Strain the fruit into a bowl, reserving the juices, and removing the vanilla pod. Chill.
8. Pour the fruit juices into a pan set on a medium heat and reduce to a thick, saucy consistency, about 15 minutes. Transfer the syrup to a bowl and chill.
9. Whisk the cream to medium peaks. Add 50ml of the fruit syrup, the remaining vanilla seeds, and the lemon zest then whisk to combine.
10. Stir the lemon juice and 50ml of the fruit syrup into the chilled fruit.
11. To assemble each millefeuille: place a phyllo square on a dessert plate. Spoon 50ml of the fruit on top of the pastry, then spoon on 25-50ml of the whipped cream. Set another phyllo square on top of the cream, add another layer of fruit and cream and top with a third square of phyllo. If desired, spoon any remaining fruit syrup around each serving.
COOK’S TIP: The compôte can be made 2–3 days ahead. The phyllo squares can be baked up to two days in advance and stored in an airtight container.
This recipe serves 6 people