Millefeuille in French means 1000 sheets or leaves, with reference to the layers of puff pastry. They’re traditionally alternated with pastry cream (crème pâtissière). is usually glazed with icing or fondant in alternating white and brown (chocolate) strips.
I grew up eating Millefeuille and from time to time I just want to bite into that comforting composition of puff pastry and “crème pâtissière” (pastry cream, custard). Not to mention the wonderful white fondant on the top. I actually used to lick it all before getting to the other layers. That was also part of the ritual. It was what made me eat the Millefeuille.
Now there was only 1 type of Millefeuille we would get every week, whether in tiny shapes or normal sizes, it was the one with crème pâtissière or with crème mousseline (crème pâtissière enriched with butter). Nodadays, things have gone better, there are few versions without the white icing but just a caramelized final layer, dusted with icing sugar.
There was a chocolate Millefeuille, not really my thing. But then the one with caramel custard would always make me happy, until now.
In Casabblanca, you may find in all bakeries (whether good or not so good, mostly with crème pâtissière). But there are some good coffeshops or famous bakeries where there is a whole range of it: chocolate, caramel, vanilla custard, with red fruits, with crème Chantilly (whipped cream) fluffed with whipped cream ( I like the aerated feel of it).
But this is only the sweet version; I haven’t mentioned the savoury version, neither the light version (with filo or brik sheets), which is not what my post is about.
I discovered lately that Millefeuille has other brothers and sisters:In some countries, they refer to it as Napoleon, or Custard square, or vanilla slice, or cream slice. My husband who is British told me that he calls Custard slice..I stick to my old Millefeuille name.
This interesting site says that some folks claim it originated from Hungary, Italians claim it’s theirs, French will die for it. Although it’s referred to as Napoleon, it is thought to be linked to Napoli and not to the French emperor himself. Napoleon in France refers as well to some kind of Millefeuille.
So here is my go on the vanilla Millefeuille. This recipe is a keeper in my family.
Millfeuille with vanilla crème pâtissière(vanilla custard) lightened with whipped cream
Millefeuille with blueberry jam and some lemon zest drizzled around it
For 4 Millefeuilles, standard size
Prep: 20 min/ cooking: 30 min
400 g of good puff pastry (2 rolls maybe), mine is usually homemade
Pastry cream, almost mousseline:
25 cl of milk
½ vanilla pod
3 egg yolks
50 g of sugar
20 g of cornflour ( I use Maizena)
20 cl of cold whipping cream
Few drops of lemon juice
1 tbsp of powdered sugar
Raspberries or Blueberries or liquid
Or white fondant and melted dark chocolate
Custard (crème pâtissière)
Heat the milk with the vanilla (opened in length and scraped).
Beat the egg yolks with sugar and cornflour. Add the milk while whisking the egg mixture. Add the
hot milk slowly (remove the vanilla pod) so you do not cook the eggs. Beat until all combined.
Stir over medium heat until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and pour in a cold bowl to stop the cooking process. Add the butter; stir until the cream looks smooth. Let it cool on the side, stirring from time to time.
Mix the lemon juice, the sugar and the whipping cream. Beat for few minutes until you have a stiff consistency.
Mix the 2 creams and beat until smooth and silky, the pastry cream will be become brighter and fluffier.
The custard is the yellow on the right, both creams whipped together give a lighter and smoother result, shown on the left
Baking puff pastry and assembling the Millefeuilles
Method 1: cut 3 slices evenly and place them on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Prick them.
Method 2: Place 1 big pastry sheet on greaseproof paper and bake. Let cool and then gently flatten the pastry. Or place a second baking sheet (greased at the back) on the top of the pastry sheet before putting it in the oven (see video).
Cut the pastry into 3 even slices once it comes out.
Bake in a preheated oven at 220 C for about 15 min. Half way through, cover the puff pastry with a layer of icing sugar and put back in the oven until puffed, golden brown and caramelized.
Place 1 slice, golden side up. Cover with some custard. Place another slice of pastry on top and press down gently, cover with custard. Finish off with pastry on top.
Cover top with icing and chocolate into strips or just sprinkle some icing sugar just like I did. Chill for few hours. If you have gone with Method 2, you need to slice the big Millefeuille into 4portions.
The method 1 will give you that straight away after you pile the sheets.
Both methods should give you even slices of puff pastry. The 2nd method gives somewhat horizontal corners but you want to cut it as neat as you can while the 1st method gives you pre-cut slices but you will have funny corners (just like mine).
My husband is always in a hurry to eat it, so I never got to chill it. But under normal conditions, it gives better results that way.
Here is another version of Millefeuille with homemade blueberry jam, The dough has puffed because I’ve chosen not to prick it. Look at it!! Isn’t this beautiful? That’s when the puff talks to you with pride!
Have you noticed how my homade puff pastry worked out?? I’m proud!