ille-feuille [mil fœj], meaning “a thousand leaves” in French, millefoglie [mil-le-fò-glie] in Italian, vanilla slice or custard slice in English is also known as – Napoleon!? Apparently it has absolutely nothing to do with the great conqueror; the name seems to originate from the word Napoletan, meaning “from Naples”. Although there is a story saying that mille-feuille was Napoleon’s favorite dessert, he was – as far as I know – a fan!
Mille-feuille consists of three layers of golden baked puff pastry and two layers of cream in between. Traditionally vanilla flavored is used as a filling, however nowadays we see various delicious combinations of creams, spreads, fruits and nuts in a variety of recipes for this scrumptious delight. What is so tempting about this thousand layers yumminess? The crispness and the flakiness of the perfectly baked puff pastry that makes a delightful contrast to the silky cream, I say! So, if you want your puff pastry to be crispy when you dig into your mille-feuille, there is only one way – it has to be freshly assembled. This is the reason I make my own mille-feuille, rather than ordering one from the pastry shop – although, I have to mention one particular Parisian pâtisserie where you get the freshest mille-feuille ever – it is “Jacques Genin” in the 3rd arrondissement. This house of sweets is also well known for its exquisite hazelnut and lovely caramels and chocolates, so when you decide to visit the city of love, romance, and patisserie, don’t forget to pay a visit to this gem!
Ah, Paris…anyway – let’s make our own mille-feuille! First thing you need to do is prepare . If you are in a hurry, buy one, but – being a real puff pastry snob that I am, I always have some homemade puff in my freezer! The reason is simple – nobody makes puff pastry like I do! Just kidding, the truth is that in Croatia you can only buy puff pastry that contains margarine. Since I am passionate about good quality butter in everything, I need to be in control over my puff pastry!
So, roll your pastry until you achieve the ideal thickness of about 3mm (1⁄8“). Put the pastry on a paper-lined tray, dock it with a fork, cover with another piece of wax paper and put another tray on top to press it while baking. Bake at 200°C (400°F) for 10-15 minutes, uncover and continue to bake until golden brown. While the pastry is baking, make the cream, and leave it to cool. When your pastry cools, cut it into uniform rectangles and create some spectacular Mille-Feuille! Piece of cake, right?
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I read and really appreciate all the comments, even though I do not always have the time to respond to each one. So – keep me in the loop and try to create some sweetness every day because – Sweetness is happiness!!