From the numerous flaky layers of delicate puff pastry, to the creamy clouds of vanilla pastry cream, to the ornamental marbled icing, mille-feuille is a formidable dessert worthy of a special day. Discover ways to make this basic European pastry in your personal kitchen—no difficult substances or pastry faculty diploma wanted. I embrace thorough explanations within the weblog publish under, in addition to many step pictures within the recipe, to set you up for achievement.

mille-feuille square serving on white plate with fresh raspberries.

Able to majorly impress your self and anybody fortunate sufficient to be a style tester? Let’s make an ornate-looking (however completely approachable) pastry dessert.


What Is Mille Feuille (and How Do You Pronounce It)?

The French “mille feuille” (pronounced meel foy) interprets to a thousand sheets or leaves, an outline of this dessert’s many whisper-thin pastry layers. It’s additionally typically known as a “Napoleon” or a “custard slice” relying on the filling and/or area. (There are so many variations!) It doesn’t matter what you name it, this eye-catching European pastry is a formidable sight to behold in a pâtisserie show case.

I’ve cherished poring over recipes on-line, together with from The Spruce Eats, Erin Jeanne McDowell’s on Food52, Bake from Scratch, Preppy Kitchen’s mille feuille, and Prue Leith’s on GBBO. I got down to make my very own model, utilizing a few these recipes as my inspiration.

And at this time I’m going to show you learn how to make it, too. Identical to with home made croissants, it might appear to be a frightening baking problem, however in the event you take your time with a number of the technical steps, I promise it’s doable! The method does take time, however the steps may be damaged up over a few days.

slices on napoleon pastry dessert with icing on top and dripping down the side.
mille feuille napoleon pastry stack with vanilla icing and chevron-style swirled melted chocolate on top.

Easy methods to Make Mille-Feuille (Millefeuille or Mille Feuille)

As we speak’s mille-feuille is made up of:

  • 3 layers of baked puff pastry
  • 2 layers of pastry cream
  • 1 layer of marbled icing

Right here is every part you could make this recipe:

ingredients measured on marble counter including egg yolks, cornstarch, butter, pastry dough, heavy cream, chocolate, and milk.

Pastry Cream Filling

Let’s begin with the filling as a result of it has cooling and chilling steps concerned; it’s environment friendly to make this primary so it’s prepared when the baked puff pastry layers are prepared. (It’s also possible to make it a day forward.)

Pastry cream, or crème pâtissière, is a vanilla custard-like filling you need to use for treats like pies, eclairs, doughnuts, and extra. You cook dinner it on the range similar to you put together the pudding filling for banana cream pie. It’s fairly thick after chilling, so that you normally want to present it a stir to {smooth} it out once more. On this layered mille-feuille, we really take it a step additional and add whipped cream. This significantly lightens up the feel, making it velvety-smooth—assume home made whipped cream, however richer and extra substantial. Once you add whipped cream to pastry cream, I realized, it’s known as crème légère, or lightened cream. (It may also be known as diplomat cream or crème diplomate, however that typically consists of gelatin.)

For those who’ve ever made Boston cream pie, you’re acquainted with pastry cream. I deviated from that recipe, although. It’s a cake filling there, so it’s actually sturdy and thick. I wanted much less pastry cream, and I needed a lighter consistency for this dessert’s filling.

The detailed directions and step pictures are within the recipe under, however let me share some key steps and success suggestions so you will have a greater understanding.

  • Cornstarch and egg yolks thicken the cream. Mix these first, after which transfer to the range. You’ll simmer complete milk and granulated sugar collectively, after which take away it from warmth and mood the egg yolks.
  • Tempering is vital right here. To mood, slowly pour the new milk combination into the egg yolks and cornstarch, whisking continuously. This rigorously and slowly raises the egg yolks’ temperature. The aim of tempering is to forestall scrambling them.
  • Pressure it. Simply in case there are some solids! Pour all the combination again into the saucepan by means of a fine-mesh sieve, to pressure out any solids that will have shaped.
  • Deliver it to a boil. At first it received’t look like it’s thickening a lot, simply getting frothy, however as quickly because it reaches a boil with large bubbles bursting on the floor, it’ll thicken up just about instantly.
  • Take away from warmth & add taste. Stir in butter, vanilla extract, vanilla bean + a pinch of salt.

Then you definately’ll have to refrigerate it so it thickens.

That is the velvet-rich pastry cream earlier than chilling:

spoonful of creamy pastry cream in glass bowl.

Chill it within the fridge for at least 3 hours or in a single day. It should agency up loads throughout this time. Give it a stir after which mix it with whipped cream. Chill it as soon as once more for 1 hour, so it’s good and thick for piping between the flaky pastry layers.

And that is the pastry cream after combining with whipped cream:

vanilla bean pastry cream with whipped cream folded in with red spatula.

Puff Pastry Layers

I’m utilizing my home made tough puff pastry, however you’ll be able to completely take the shortcut of utilizing store-bought puff pastry. If frozen, thaw it in accordance with package deal directions earlier than you start.

For those who’d prefer to make the tough puff pastry from scratch, you want simply 5 substances: flour, sugar, salt, chilly butter, and chilly water. All the identical substances as butter pie crust, however there’s the added rolling and folding course of, just like biscuits, which provides us all of these flaky layers.

Upon getting your store-bought dough thawed, or the home made dough chilled (after the second refrigeration as detailed within the tough puff pastry publish), it’s time to roll it out, and also you’ll discover these actual directions under within the recipe. Place the rolled-out dough on a lined baking sheet and dock it with a fork, similar to you’d when par-baking pie crust.

That is the home made puff pastry dough able to bake:

rolled-out dough with fork dock marks all over it on top of lined baking sheet.

That is the store-bought puff pastry dough able to bake (you’ll join the two sheets that normally are available a field):

rolled out store-bought puff pastry docked with fork on top of lined baking sheet.

An Odd Step: Weigh It Down!

Now right here’s the step not normally included in puff pastry recipes: we’re going to overwhelm the pastry to forestall it from puffing up an excessive amount of.

Place one other sheet of parchment paper on high of the pastry dough, then set one other baking sheet on high of that. You probably have pie weights, pour them onto the highest baking sheet. You can additionally use dried beans as a substitute. For those who don’t have both, bake it with simply the (empty) high baking sheet, and when it comes out of the oven, set a pan or skillet on the highest baking sheet whereas it cools.

You’ll bake it coated with weights (or no matter you’re utilizing) for 20 minutes, after which uncovered (with out weights) for one more 7–9 minutes.

Notice: I discovered that the home made puff pastry will get a lot darker than the store-bought; seemingly as a result of it’s made with butter as a substitute of oil-based fat.


As soon as the baked pastry has cooled, you’ll minimize it into 15 (roughly) equally sized items, to make 5 mille-feuille stacks containing 3 pastry layers every.

baked homemade puff pastry and then cut into squares.

Mille-feuille are sometimes rectangular in form, however I discovered that making them as squares was simpler when it got here to chopping uniform-size items. After I examined these as rectangles, I discovered they have been both too small and tough to assemble, or else made 4 enormous pastries that have been a lot too giant for particular person parts. I had the most effective success with making 5 assembled 3-inch sq. pastries.


Prime & Assemble the Mille-Feuille

There are a lot of methods to high these, starting from a easy dusting of confectioners’ sugar to fanciful swirls of two-toned icing. Some recipes name for royal icing, whereas others use fondant. I really like the signature marbled icing look, in order that’s what I’m demonstrating.

After testing many variations, my style testers and I made up my mind {that a} thick vanilla icing + melted chocolate pairing makes for the tastiest topping. Darkish, bittersweet, or semi-sweet chocolate tastes finest with the candy vanilla icing. Like I at all times suggest for melting chocolate, chop up a bar of baking chocolate—save the chocolate chips for chocolate chip cookies.

You’ll ice all the tops first, earlier than assembling, as a result of it’s tough to ice the tops effectively once they’re layered on high of a creamy filling. Place the 5 pastry squares you’ll use for the tops on a wire rack. With an icing spatula or a spoon, unfold the vanilla icing on every sq.. Then pipe or drizzle melted chocolate on high. For this, I piped 4 stripes throughout after which used a toothpick to create the basic chevron design by dragging it in a perpendicular course. Like this:

piping melted chocolate on top of icing on square of pastry and shown again running toothpick through it.

Now let’s fill the pastries. Match a pastry/piping bag with a big spherical tip, comparable to Ateco 808 (which I take advantage of for lots of cupcakes—see this piping suggestions publish). Or, you’ll be able to merely use a big plastic bag and snip off a backside nook with scissors.

Begin with one plain (un-iced) sq. of pastry and pipe on 3 dollops of cream in 3 rows, so you will have a grid of 9 dollops. Place one other pastry sq. on high of that, after which repeat the piping the identical means. Lastly, place one of many iced pastry layers on high.

Refrigerate the assembled pastries (uncovered) for at least half-hour earlier than serving, simply in order that they aren’t toppling over. Like in most pastry recipes, the fridge is your pal right here.

hand placing the icing-topped pastry square on top of the other two layers of pastry cream.

Easy methods to Eat Mille-Feuille

Ahh, sure. Essentially the most tough instruction of the day. 😉 On this step, you’ll merely stuff your face with it. However slowly! Savor and revel in each chew. Respect the time that went into making it!

Plate every mille-feuille and serve with a fork, or you’ll be able to eat it handheld. The longer the assembled pastries sit within the fridge, the extra stable they’ll change into. However whatever the time it units, the smooth filling will spill out the perimeters if you minimize or chew into it, and that’s nice! It’s crispy, it’s creamy, it’s close-your-eyes-and-sigh dreamy.

Can I take advantage of store-bought puff pastry?

Sure, completely. However if you would like the problem, and a heightened taste expertise, I strongly encourage you to make use of home made puff pastry. You’ll be rewarded with an optimum taste and texture expertise. And you’ll actually style that butter within the home made model!

What can I take advantage of to overwhelm the baking pastry as a substitute of pie weights?

You should use dried beans. OR you’ll be able to simply add the baking sheet on high and never fill it with weights or beans. (At all times add a chunk of parchment paper on high of the dough, although, so the pan will not be touching it.) OR because the baked pastry is cooling, place one thing heavy like a pot or pan on high of the highest baking sheet, to overwhelm the baking sheet that’s on the puff pastry. (I’ve completed that final suggestion earlier than and it really works simply nice.)

Do I’ve to make use of pastry cream because the filling?

Although it’s the most typical filling on this dessert, you do not need to make use of pastry cream between the layers. I’ve an inventory of different filling choices under, like mousse or no-bake cheesecake filling.

What different topping choices are there?

As a substitute of the vanilla icing + chocolate combo, you’ll be able to merely mud the tops with confectioners’ sugar. It’s also possible to skip the chocolate for a plain vanilla icing topping, or skip the vanilla icing and drizzle melted chocolate instantly on high. Or, some recipes name for royal icing. (If you wish to use my recipe for royal icing, I like to recommend halving it.)


Different Filling Choices

Or you’ll be able to nonetheless use pastry cream, or any of the strategies above, and layer your filling of alternative with contemporary raspberries or thinly sliced strawberries and dollops of jam. Or pipe rows of raspberry cake filling between rows of your alternative of cream/mousse filling. A number of choices!

straight on photo of 3 layered puff pastry and pastry cream layers.
mille feuille square serving with forkful taken out on a white plate with raspberry and mint leaf.

Some Particular Instruments You Want

Print

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straight on photo of 3 layered puff pastry and pastry cream layers.

Mille-Feuille (Napoleon Pastry)


  • Writer:
    Sally


  • Prep Time:
    1 hour, 45 minutes


  • Cook dinner Time:
    35 minutes (consists of stovetop time)


  • Complete Time:
    5 hours (consists of chilling)


  • Yield:
    5 3-layer squares (every is shareable!)


  • Class:
    Dessert


  • Technique:
    Baking


  • Delicacies:
    French


Description

From the numerous flaky layers of delicate puff pastry, to the creamy clouds of vanilla pastry cream, to the ornamental marbled icing, mille-feuille is an indulgent dessert worthy of a special day. Discover ways to make this basic European pastry in your personal kitchen by rigorously following the detailed recipe under. I additionally embrace thorough explanations within the weblog publish above, and step pictures within the recipe directions, to set you up for achievement. Evaluate recipe Notes under earlier than beginning.


Dough

Pastry Cream Filling

Topping


Directions

I encourage you to learn by means of this recipe fully earlier than starting, so that you perceive every step and are ready for the assorted cooking, cooling, and chilling phases. 

  1. Put together home made tough puff pastry dough by means of 2nd refrigeration. If utilizing store-bought frozen puff pastry, thaw in accordance with package deal instructions. Preserve both dough within the fridge till step 7 under.
  2. Make the pastry cream: In a big heatproof bowl (ideally with a pour spout), whisk the egg yolks and cornstarch along with a fork. It could not appear to be it’ll all come collectively (it is going to be dry at first), however maintain mixing till the combination is thick and mixed. If it’s not coming collectively in any respect, add a couple of drops of the milk you want in step 3 to convey collectively. Put aside at room temperature. fork in yellow mixture in glass bowl.
  3. Mix the milk and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium warmth. Whisk till the sugar has dissolved, then convey to a delicate simmer. Take away from warmth. Pour the nice and cozy milk and sugar combination in a sluggish and regular stream into the egg yolk and cornstarch combination, whisking your entire time. Preserve these egg yolks shifting in order that they don’t scramble. Over a sieve, to pressure out any egg yolk solids that will have shaped throughout tempering, pour the combination again into the saucepan. milk with bubbles on top in pot and another picture showing egg yolk mixture with some poured in.
    tempered egg yolk and milk mixture in glass bowl and another picture showing egg yolk solids caught in sieve.
  4. Return the saucepan to medium warmth, and whisk continuously. The combination shall be frothy on the floor at first, after which it’ll start to thicken rapidly and huge bubbles will start to burst on the floor. This normally takes about 1–2 minutes. Stand again and use warning. Let the bubbles burst for about 20 seconds, or till the combination has thickened right into a custard- or pudding-like consistency. (For a extra correct take a look at, the custard is finished when the temperature reaches 185–190°F (85–88°C).) Take away from warmth. Whisk in butter, vanilla extract, vanilla bean seeds, and a pinch of salt. Cool for 10 minutes. (You’ll use the heavy cream later, in step 9.) butter and vanilla on top of cooked pastry cream with rainbow whisk.
    vanilla pastry cream (crème pâtissière) with rainbow whisk in pot.
  5. Switch the pastry cream from the saucepan to a heatproof bowl and place a chunk of plastic wrap or parchment instantly on the floor of the custard, to forestall a pores and skin from forming. Refrigerate for at the very least 3 hours, and as much as 24 hours. Makes 2–2.5 cups, or about 580–610g.
  6. Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Line a 12×17-inch baking sheet (half sheet pan) with parchment paper. Have a second baking sheet and extra parchment paper out as effectively. Put aside.
  7. Form the dough: On a floured work floor utilizing a floured rolling pin, roll pastry dough right into a rectangle about 11×16 inches in dimension. (If utilizing store-bought puff pastry sheets, place them aspect by aspect, with the sting of 1 sheet overlapping the opposite within the middle, and use a rolling pin to stick them collectively as you roll the entire thing out into an 11×16-inch rectangle.)rolled out dough on marble surface.
  8. Switch the dough to the lined baking sheet. Dock the floor with a fork to permit steam to flee. Place a second piece of parchment paper on high of the pastry dough. Set a second baking sheet, full of pie weights (or dried beans, or different choices see recipe Notice under) on high. Bake for 20 minutes with pan & weights on high. Take away from oven and thoroughly take away the highest weighted baking sheet and the highest piece of parchment. Return the uncovered pastry to the oven for 7–9 extra minutes, or till golden brown. Take away from the oven and funky for 20 minutes on the pan, after which rigorously raise it and place on a cooling rack to chill fully. rolled-out dough with fork dock marks all over it on top of lined baking sheet.
    hands holding a baking sheet with white round pie weights on top.
    baked homemade puff pastry on lined baking sheet.
  9. End the cream filling: Utilizing a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the chilly heavy cream on medium-high velocity till medium peaks kind, about 3 minutes. Add the chilled pastry cream to the bowl with the whipped cream. Beat on low velocity till simply mixed and {smooth}. Don’t over-mix. Cowl and refrigerate for at the very least 1 hour and as much as 4 hours. You’ll use it in step 12.whipped cream in glass bowl and shown again with pastry cream being stirred in.
    vanilla bean pastry cream with whipped cream folded in with red spatula.
  10. Assemble the pastries: Utilizing a big, very sharp knife, trim across the sides of the cooled pastry to straighten up any uneven edges. Use the knife to chop the pastry into 15 squares roughly uniform in dimension. NOTE: The pastry will shrink some whereas baking. After beginning with dough rolled out to 11×16 inches, after baking it sometimes finally ends up round 9–10×14–15 inches. So in case you have a baked pastry that’s 9×15 inches (after trimming the sides), your 15 squares shall be 3×3 inches. In case your pastry is a barely completely different dimension, don’t panic! Use a measuring tape or ruler to measure the perimeters to find out precisely how vast to house your cuts. Measure the lengthy aspect and divide by 5, then measure the brief aspect and divide by 3. baked homemade puff pastry with edges trimmed off.
    baked homemade puff pastry and then cut into squares.
  11. Make & add the topping: In a small bowl, whisk collectively the sifted confectioners’ sugar, milk, and vanilla till mixed and {smooth}. Place the chopped chocolate in a small microwave-safe bowl or liquid measuring cup. Soften in 20-second increments within the microwave, stirring after every increment, till fully melted and {smooth}. Switch the melted chocolate to a squeeze bottle or a piping bag fitted with a small spherical tip, or use a small plastic sandwich bag and minimize off a backside nook. Place 5 pastry squares on a wire rack set over parchment paper. With a spoon or icing spatula, spoon and unfold the vanilla icing on one sq.. Earlier than the icing has an opportunity to set, pipe 4 strains of melted chocolate throughout every high. Use a toothpick to create a chevron design, dragging it throughout the stripes in a perpendicular course. Alternate instructions with the toothpick, wiping the toothpick finish with a paper towel in between every move. Repeat with the remaining 4 pastry squares. two photo collage showing vanilla icing in one photo and melted chocolate in the other.
    hand spreading vanilla icing on baked puff pastry pieces.
    piping melted chocolate on top of icing on square of pastry and shown again running toothpick through it.
  12. Assemble the mille-feuille: Match a pastry/piping bag with a giant spherical tip. Or, you’ll be able to merely use a big plastic bag and snip off a backside nook with scissors. Beginning with one of many (plain/un-iced) pastry squares, pipe 3 dollops of cream filling in 3 rows (9 dollops whole). Place one other (plain) pastry sq. on high, urgent down very calmly. Repeat the piping of 9 dollops on the subsequent layer. Place one of many embellished (iced) pastry squares on high of the second layer of cream filling. Repeat with the remaining pastry squares; you’ll have 5 assembled pastries. Refrigerate uncovered for at the very least half-hour earlier than serving, or as much as 8 hours. dollops of creme legere on puff pastry squares.
    hand placing the icing-topped pastry square on top of the other two layers of pastry cream.
  13. Retailer mille-feuille in an hermetic container within the fridge for as much as 3 days. The pastry will change into softer and fewer crisp over time.


Notes

  1. Make-Forward & Freezing Directions: There are a number of methods to get began on this recipe. If utilizing home made dough, you’ll be able to put together it 1-2 days prematurely. See tough puff pastry dough recipe for particulars. You’ll be able to put together the pastry cream 1 day forward of time, see step 5. The baked and cooled puff pastry, both as an entire or minimize into squares, is okay coated at room temperature for as much as 1 day. To freeze, after the assembled pastries have been refrigerated for at the very least half-hour in step 12 (or till the icing units), you’ll be able to wrap them every in plastic wrap and freeze for as much as 3 months. Thaw within the fridge. You’ll lose a few of that crisp, flaky texture within the puff pastry although.
  2. Particular Instruments (affiliate hyperlinks): Whisk | Sieve | On the spot-Learn Thermometer | Electrical Mixer (Handheld or Stand) | Rolling Pin | Parchment Paper | Baking Sheet | Pie Weights | Cooling Rack | Small Offset Icing Spatula | Piping Bag (Reusable or Disposable) | Ateco 808 Piping Tip or different giant spherical tip | Squeeze Bottle or small icing tip comparable to Wilton Icing Tip #5
  3. Puff Pastry: If utilizing home made puff pastry, be beneficiant with the bench flour when rolling out, to forestall sticking.
  4. Pie Weights: For those who don’t have pie weights, you need to use dried beans. OR you’ll be able to simply add the second baking sheet on high and never fill it with weights or beans. (At all times add a chunk of parchment paper on high of the dough, although, so the pan will not be touching it.) OR because the baked pastry is cooling, place one thing heavy like a pot or pan on high of the highest baking sheet, to overwhelm the baking sheet that’s on the puff pastry. (I’ve completed that final suggestion earlier than and it really works simply nice.)
  5. Chocolate: The most effective chocolate for melting and drizzling is the “baking chocolate” bars discovered within the baking aisle of the grocery retailer. I sometimes use Baker’s or Ghirardelli manufacturers, both semi-sweet or bittersweet. They’re normally bought as 4-ounce bars, so that you’ll want half of 1 for this recipe. Don’t use chocolate chips as a result of they comprise stabilizers, which forestall them from melting into the right consistency.
  6. Different Filling Choices: As a substitute of pastry cream, you need to use the peanut butter mousse filling from these home made eclairs; whipped cream for an additional gentle and barely sweetened filling; calmly sweetened whipped frosting; the no-bake cheesecake filling from these cheesecake jars; or the mousse filling from this chocolate mousse cake. Or you’ll be able to nonetheless use pastry cream, or any of the strategies I simply listed, and layer your filling of alternative with contemporary raspberries or thinly sliced strawberries and dollops of jam. Or pipe rows of raspberry cake filling between rows of your alternative of cream/mousse filling.
  7. Different Topping Choices: As a substitute of the vanilla icing and melted chocolate combo, you’ll be able to merely mud the tops with confectioners’ sugar. It’s also possible to skip the chocolate for a plain vanilla icing topping, or skip the vanilla icing and drizzle melted chocolate instantly on high. Or some mille-feuille recipes use royal icing. If you wish to use my recipe for royal icing, I like to recommend halving it.
  8. Tailored from a mixture of Bake from Scratch & The Spruce Eats; I made modifications to the cream filling, used home made pastry (and located baking it as an entire sheet after which chopping into squares to be best), and opted for vanilla icing and melted chocolate as a substitute of topping with royal icing or confectioners’ sugar.

Key phrases: mille feuille, napoleon pastry

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