You say Mille-Feuille, I say Paal Poli!
For anyone who needs a tutorial on Mille-feuille, references are a plenty. (Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wi
Among dessert offerings from South India, Paal Poli is probably not as well known as say, payasam,
& my personal opinion about it when I eventually tasted it 20 yrs into my life here on earth was , 'It looks eew!!' (Turns out, the reason why my mother never made this at home was because, my dad found it visually unappealing as well). But there is no denying the fact that it is a textural treat with the creamy milk & the chewy bites of the poori/poli morsels.
The best thing about this dessert is the ease of making it. Fry up a couple of pooris made from all purpose flour, drop them into warm sweetened milk with a pinch of crushed cardamom, saffron & garnish with nuts & raisins.
My version is Pooris soaked in sweetened milk and stacked with layers of saffron & cardamom flavored whipped cream in between.
My policy for creating recipes is 'If the concept works in a rough version with shortcuts, go ahead & make a final photogenic version' & trying this out was no exception. I was pleasantly surprised when the shortcuts I resorted to, made this a yummy albeit calorie laden treat. The flip side, No photographs of the process.
For this dessert, you need:
For the poli/pooris:
square wonton wrappers ( available in oriental grocery stores in the refrigerated section)
oil for deep frying.
For the Milk:
1 cup whole milk
Sugar to taste,
1/4 cup almonds peeled & ground to a paste
A pinch of saffron
For the Filling:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
powdered sugar to taste,
A pinch of saffron
Fry the wonton wrappers till crisp & set aside. (alternatively you could make Pooris from maida using first principles & deep fry them, I just found the square shape convenient for assembling the dish!)
Combine the milk with the sugar, almond paste, cardamom & saffron & heat till it thickens slightly. Set aside.
Whip the cream with the other ingredients in a chilled bowl till it forms stiff peaks.
(Confession: Since I didnt have an electric egg beater handy, I made do with whisking these with a regular whisk in one of those tall insulated coffee tumblers. Worked just fine!)
Soak the fried wonton wrapper poories in the milk till slightly soft. Layer the bottom of a square baking pan with the poories.
Spoon a dollop of the whipped cream & spread evenly in a thin layer.
Repeat the above steps twice more.
Cover the top layer of whipped cream with the poories. Cover & set in refrigerator to chill overnight.
Garnish with toasted sliced almonds, pistachios & strands of Saffron.
Cut & serve with remaining milk on the side if desired.