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April Fools' Puff Pastry Poisson d'Avril

Puff Pastry Poisson d'Avril

Agnes Virginie
If you make your own dough, this pasty recipe takes a bit of time. However, it's a fun project for anyone who loves baking. Or you can buy the pastry and follow the instructions for the filling and baking. The ingredients below are enough for two (2) fish (roughly 30 cm long). Note: Frangipane = almond cream + custard cream
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 40 mins
Cooling/Resting Time 8 hrs
Total Time 9 hrs 40 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 2 Fish


For the Almond Cream:

  • 165 g Sugar
  • 165 g Almond Powder
  • 2 tsp Corn Starch
  • 135 g Softened butter unsalted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp Dark Rum

For the Custard Cream (you need 300g):

  • 1 Vanilla Bean or vanilla extract
  • 20 g Cornflour
  • 25 g Sugar
  • 20 cl Milk
  • 3 Egg Yolks
  • 25 g Sugar
  • 20 g Unsalted Butter

For the Puff Pastry (pâte feuilleté):

  • 400 g Flour
  • 400 g Cold Butter unsalted
  • 3 tbsp Sugar
  • 8 g Salt
  • 160 to 200 ml Cold Water

For the Egg Wash/Décor:

  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 2-3 tbsp Milk or water
  • 1-2 tbsp Icing Sugar


Preparation of the Almond Cream:

  • Mix the powdered sugar, the almond cream, and the cornstarch, then sift them. In a bowl, soften the butter without making it foam (otherwise, the cream will collapse on itself).
  • Add the mixed sugar, then the two eggs one by one, while stirring with a wooden spatula.
  • Next, pour 300g of custard cream (instructions are below) into the bowl.
  • Finally, cover the bowl in plastic and place in the refrigerator.

Preparation of the Custard Cream:

  • Cut one vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds.
  • Place the cornstarch and powdered sugar in a saucepan.
  • Pour in the fresh milk, while turning the mixture with a whisk.
  • Then, add the rest of the vanilla bean and seeds and bring to a boil as you whisk.
  • In a bowl, beat the egg yolks for 3 minutes with 40g of powdered sugar.
  • Moisten the mixture with a bit of milk while maintaining the whisking.
  • Next, place the mixture in a saucepan and allow it to heat while whisking.
  • When the mixture reaches a boil, remove it from the heat
  • Remove the vanilla bean, pour the cream into a bowl, and place the bowl into a container filled with ice cubes.
  • When the cream has cooled to 50 degrees C, mix in the 35g of butter, and whisk vigorously.

Preparation of the Puff Pastry Dough (the day before):

  • Start by putting all the ingredients in the freezer for 15 minutes (flour, butter, water…)
  • In a food processor, pour the flour, the salt, the sugar, and the cold butter cut into 1cm cubes, and mix them with the leaf-shaped hook. Be certain to stop mixing before the butter is completely absorbed. It is important that you have chunks of butter.
  • Add the cold water and mix just a little bit until you reach the consistency of a dough. The chunks of butter must still be visible. For once, this dough does not have a homogeneous texture.
  • Next, form the dough into a rectangle on your workspace and roll it out to form a rectangle of 60cm by 80cm, depending on the desired thickness.
  • After you reach the desired thickness, fold the upper third of the dough, then fold the lower third of the dough.
  • Turn the dough clockwise a quarter turn, then roll it out again to reach a new 60cm by 80cm rectangle. If you find that the dough is too elastic, place it in the refrigerator for a few minutes.
  • Next, repeat the same folding pattern as before.
  • You should go through the steps of rolling out and folding 4 times in total.
  • Allow your dough to cool overnight.

Preparation of the Fish-shaped Pastries (D-day):

  • Roll out your dough into a size large enough for one or two fishes.
  • Cut two fish stencils from a carton box, each about 30cm long.
  • Using a fine knife, cut the shapes of the fish from the dough using the stencils.
  • Brown the edges with water.
  • Generously cover one puff-pastry fish with frangipane cream then place another puff-pastry fish on top.
  • Seal the edges by pinching with your fingers.
  • Brown the top of the fish with egg yolk with a brush in order to create a shining effect.
  • With a sharp knife, carve the fish scales in overlapping half circles.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  • Finally, let it rest in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  • Cook for about 25 minutes.
  • Optional: A few minutes before it is done, sprinkle the top with a bit of powdered sugar to give even more of a shine and put it back in the oven for the remainder of the time.


Note: You could buy 2 rolls of pre-made puff pastry from the store if you don’t have time to make one, but the pastry won’t be as flaky or fluffy.
Also, you may not use the entire puff pastry for these fish-shaped pastries (the pastry can be stored in the freezer for months).
Keyword Pastry, Pastry Cream, Puff Pastry
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