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The mille-feuille

A pastry made of 3 layers of puff pastry and 2 layers of pastry cream, the mille-feuille is glazed with powdered sugar or fondant and sometimes decorated with jam or fruit.

A success for more than 4 centuries


Some date the first recipe of the cake to the 17th century in Naples, others to France under Louis XIV... In 1651, François Pierre de La Varenne proposed a stabilized version in his Cuisinier françois but, at the time, it was not flavored with vanilla but with kirch and rum.

Perfected later by Marie-Antoine Carême, the cook of the French statesman and diplomat Talleyrand, its popularity took off when this now essential dessert of French pastry-making was offered in Paris in 1867.

Demanding, its realization implies to master 3 pastry techniques: the puff pastry, the cream (flavored with vanilla) and the icing. This unique dessert also requires a clever sense of assembly.

A doubly deceptive name

If its French name refers to the high number of pastry sheets that compose it, the cake is not made of 1,000 sheets. According to the traditional method of preparation of the puff pastry, in 6 steps of folding in 3, it generally comprises 729 pairs of sheets. Some pastry chefs nowadays obtain 2,000 sheets thanks to other folding techniques but, again, the count is not good.

Abroad, it is its very name that raises doubts: in English, Nordic or Slavic countries, the mille-feuille refers to the first name "Napoleon". More than a reference to the emperor, it would come from the French adjective "napolitain" and from one of the supposed origins of the cake, the city of Naples.

Today, the recipe continues to inspire pastry chefs around the world who create various versions of it, but always very tasty.

Here is one of the recipes to get you started.

Valérie from Comme des Français


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