Three by three...

Joined May 18, 2001
While eating dessert recently in France, I was struck by the fact that so many desserts there consist of three layers — each layer consisting of a cookie, filling, and fruit — and most of them are called mille-feuille. I was confused because the term mille means 1000, not three. If you're confused too, click here to see how I resolved the issue. [Hint: the issue was resolved by a recipe!]
Joined Mar 13, 2001
Thank you, Bouland.

I always called these <Napoléons> as opposed to mille-feuilles which is a rectangular pastry sandwich filled with crème pâtissière or whipped cream.

Here's one more
Joined May 18, 2001
From what I was able to glean from various sources, Napolean is the American name for rectangles of puff pastry filled with various creams.
Joined Dec 30, 1999

I have long been a fan of anything of what we in the states know as the "Napoleon" which is a term loosely applied to most dishes (savoury or sweet) which are stacked and layered but officially is "...a type of rich cake made from layers of puff pastry filled with cream, custard, or jam."

To add to your historical information, it is believed that the first reference to this is in the antique cookbook The Thorough Good Cook by George Augustus Sala which by most accounts, is dated 1896 and even as early as 1895 (copyright expired). This is most likely what Larousse is referring to.

Here is the recipe being referred to:

"Mille Fenillea (Italian Pyramid)
A good puff paste, rather thick, must be stamped out with tin stamps or any ingenious substitutes into a number of pieces, each less than the other, the base being of the size of the plate in which the pyramid is to be served, and the others gradually tapering to the top. Bake the pieces of paste on paper laid on tins, and ice them. Pile them up with raspberry and other jams of different colours, laid on the edges, and a bunch of small preserved raisons or some other ornament on the top."
Joined Jul 24, 2001
Have you seen "Fine Cooking" of April????

It has a Marengue Napoleon with lime ice-cream and blackberries...:lips: :lips:

If anyone wants the recipe I can copy it!


Joined Apr 4, 2000
Have you no shame Kimmie??? This mille feuilles is very very decadent and sinful. ;) And looks ever so wonderful.

I want a piece!!:lips:
Joined Oct 28, 2001
If it says mille-feuilles then by definition it has to have puff pastry - as quoted, the thousand leaves. Substitute any "cookie" or whatever and delicious though it may be , mille-feuilles it ain't.
You wouldn't sub beef for chicken in coq au vin and still call it coq au vin. Or........
Joined May 18, 2001
Unfortunately, the term millefeuilles is used very loosely by a lot of chefs. I've seen vegetable dishes where slices of eggplant (aubergine) were used to divide the layers. I've also seen one made of three layers of truffle slices and scallops. The term has been bastardized to the point where some chefs call any stack of items a millefeuille!
Joined Jan 11, 2002
The same word, MILLEFOGLIE, exists in the Italian culinary language, just indicating a dessert made with many layers of puff pastry filled with custard. No doubt it could be used more extensively, since in Italian the word "Mille" (1000) is often meant as "many" (i.e. a "MILLEPIEDI" is a centipede-which obviously doesn't have either 1000 or 100 feet;) ) and the term "SFOGLIA" doesn't indicate only a puff pastry, but any food made of thin layers, fresh Pasta included.
In fact, Italians don't use the term millefoglie so loosely...except for those chefs who pretend to be French to justify their high prices :D


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