Mille-feuille recipe (homemade Napoleon recipe)

Our October 2012 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Suz of Serenely Full. Suz challenged us to not only tackle buttery and flaky puff pastry, but then take it step further and create a sinfully delicious Mille Feuille dessert with it!

Puff pastry has been on my list of things to try forever. I have always been intimidated by the process and although we have made laminated dough before when we made croissants but still, I felt puff pastry was a tad too complicated! So when this month’s challenge was announced I was really excited! it is time to give puff pastry a try!

I have to say it was much easier than what I thought it would be! Sure it is time consuming and it takes you a while to wrap your head around all the instructions and  folds but when all is said and done you realize that puff pastry isn’t as complicated or demanding as you thought it would be. Thank you Suz!

This challenge was not only about making puff pastry from scratch, oh no! We were daring bakers after all and we had to face the challenge of turning our puff pastry into Mille feuille.  Mille Feuille is a french pastry dessert. The name translates into a “thousand sheets” refering to the layers of the puff pastry.Traditionally, a mille-feuille is made up of three layers of puff pastry (pâte feuilletée), alternating with two layers of pastry cream (crème pâtissière), but sometimes whipped cream, or jam are substituted. The top pastry layer is dusted with confectioner’s sugar, and sometimes cocoa, or pulverized seeds (e.g. roasted almonds). Alternatively the top is glazed with icing or fondant in alternating white (icing) and brown (chocolate) stripes, and combed.

I chose to fill mine with pastry cream and dust it with confectioner’s sugar and all I have to say is that this way heavenly! Crisp, crunchy buttery layers of puff pastry that crackle when you bite into them. Alternated with a velvety smooth pastry cream. The perfect combination and contrast between crunch and silky smooth. Buttery and sweet. Beautiful and sinfully delicious.

Pâte feuilletée /Puff Pastry

Servings: Makes 8-10 mille-feuille

Ingredients:
250g all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
50g melted unsalted butter (room temperature)
150g cold water
for the beurrage:
175g cold butter

Additional flour for rolling/turning

Directions:

Place the flour and salt in a bowl or on your counter top

make a well in the center

Add the water and slowly start to incorporate flour from the rim till you will get a paste

Add the melted butter and continue incorporating the flour

Don’t over work the dough you just want to bring it together until the mixture starts to cohere and come away from the sides of the bowl or off your counter

Knead for three minutes on a floured surface until the dough is some what smooth.

Shape into a square and make a few cuts in the surface of the dough that do not go all the way through (this helps the dough relax in the fridge)

Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

While the dough is chilling, take the cold butter and place it between two sheets of cling film, and with a rolling pin shape it into a  square about the size of your dough.

You can use a ruler (or similar) to neaten the edges.

Refrigerate the butter square for about 10-15 minutes so the butter firms up slightly. If it’s still soft, leave it a bit longer. If it’s too hard and inflexible, leave it out to soften a touch. You want it to be solid but still malleable.

Once the dough has chilled, roll it out on a floured surface into a square.

Start rolling out the corners of the square as you can see in the picture, making sure you leave the center thicker than the rolled corners.

Place the butter square in the center of your rolled dough

Use the rolled out dough to enclose the butter, folding one rolled part at a time.

The end result should resembles an envelope(make sure you seal up the edges with your fingers.)You’ll be left with a little square parcel.

Turn the dough parcel over and tap the length of it with your rolling pan to flatten it slightly.

Keeping the work surface well floured, roll the dough carefully into a rectangle ¼ inch /6 mm in thickness

With the shorter side facing you, fold the top third towards you, so it’s covering the middle section, and ensure that it is lined up .

Brush off the flour from the part you just folded.

Fold the lower third over the top third that you just folded, so you’re left with a narrow three-layered strip (see below).

You have now finished one turn (a turn consists of rolling out the dough into a rectangle then folding it into thirds the way you fold a business letter)

Turn the dough rectangle 90 degrees

Do one more turn by repeating the steps of rolling out the dough  into a rectangle then folding it into thirds

Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Do 2 more turns

Wrap up in clingfilm and chill again for at least 30 minutes.

Do two final turns

Wrap up in clingfilm and refrigerate until needed. The dough keeps a couple of days in the fridge.

Pastry Cream / Crème Pâtissière:

Ingredients

1 and 1/4 cups whole milk

1 tablespoon corn flour/cornstarch

1 tablespoon flour

1/4 cup powdered sugar

2 large egg yolks

1 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Whisk the eggs and egg yolks

Add the cornstarch and the flour and whisk untill combined

Place the milk and sugar in a saucepan with the sugar, dissolving the sugar and bringing the milk to the boil. Remove from heat.

Add the hot milk little by little to the egg mixture while whisking (You want to slowly heat the egg mixture). Make sure you  stir constantly to prevent the eggs from cooking.

Place the mixture back into the pan and cook over medium heat while whisking (don’t stop or it’ll solidify) till the mixture starts to thicken.

Continue to whisk till the mix bubbles

Remove the saucepan from the heat and thoroughly whisk the pastry cream. At this stage the pastry cream can look slightly lumpy, but a good whisking soon makes it smoother. (N.B. If you’re worried about the pastry cream continuing to cook off the heat, you can transfer it to a stainless steel/ceramic bowl.)

Add the vanilla and whisk until fully incorporated.

If you haven’t already, pour the pastry cream into a stainless steel or ceramic bowl, and then place clingfilm over the surface to stop a skin forming.

Refrigerate overnight to give the pastry cream time to further thicken. (you need the over night chilling for the cream to set completely, if you use it sooner it will be somewhat runny)

Mille-Feuille/ Napoleon/ Custard Slice

Servings: Makes 8- 10

Ingredients

1 x batch pâte feuilletée/puff pastry (see above)

1 x batch crème pâtissière/pastry cream (see above)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to moderately hot 200 °C /400°F/gas mark 6.

2. Lightly dust your work space with flour and remove your dough from the fridge.

3. Roll into a large rectangle, the thickness of cardboard.

4. Cut into three equal pieces and place on a baking tray. If you don’t have space for all three, you can bake them separately.

5. Prick the pastry sheets all over with a fork. 6. Place another sheet of greaseproof paper over the top and then a heavy baking tray. This will prevent the layers from puffing up too much.

7. Bake each sheet for about 25 minutes in a moderately hot oven 200 °C /400°F/gas mark 6, removing the top layer of greaseproof paper/tray 10 minutes before the end for the tops to brown. Keep an eye on them and lower the temperature if you think they’re browning too much.

8. Remove the baked sheets from the oven and leave on a wire rack to cool.

9. Once the pastry has cooled, you’re ready to assemble your mille-feuille. Get a sturdy flat board, your pastry and the chilled crème pâtissière from the fridge.

10.Cut the puff pastry sheets into rectangles to make individual Mille feuille.

11. Pipe the pastry cream on top of the first layer of puff pastry

12. You can add a layer of sliced fruit or cruched nuts before placing the second layer of puff pastry on top of the pastry cream and press gently to make sure the pastry adheres to the cream

13. Pipe another layer of pastry cream

14 top with the final layer of puff pastry

15. dust with powdered sugar

Dig in!

Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:

The puff pastry dough will keep in the fridge for up to two days. Any leftovers can be well wrapped up & frozen for a year. Thaw for 30 minutes on the counter or overnight in the fridge.

The completed mille-feuille can be made a day or two in advance;  it will last 2 or 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge, though will become less crisp.

Notes:

The puff pastry recipe requires you to chill your dough after every two turns, but if your kitchen’s a bit warm or you think the butter might be melting, you can chill it after each turn.

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78 Comments

  1. christina

     /  March 25, 2013

    hi was wondering how much puff pastry do we use/need (store bought)? 1 pack or 2 pack? i found this recipe after buying the puff pastry. but will definitely try this next time. thank you so much for the wonderful step by step illustration!

    Reply
    • Hello Christina,
      Thank you for stopping by :)
      I have never made mille feuille with store bought puff pastry. But If I had to guess I think to make 10 servings you would require 2 packs. It really depends on the size you make your mille feuille

      Reply
      • christina

         /  March 26, 2013

        thank you for the wonderful recipe! made it tonight and my bf fell it love with it! it was DIVINE!
        you are amazing! thank you again!!!

      • Thank YOU for trying one of my recipes and taking the time to tell me how it turned out:)
        so happy you and your bf enjoyed it

  2. Ioanna Ali

     /  February 20, 2013

    Great recipe and details! I was just wondering, after looking at some other recipes, isn’t 175 grams for the beurrage not enough? I mean isn’t it supposed to be more? Other recipes say about 200-300 grams

    Reply
    • Hello Ioanna, I know there are many recipes that ask for more butter but this one works perfectly “as you can see from the layers in the pictures” without the extra butter

      Reply
  3. Great recipe. Thanks so much for posting it in such detail. I have been looking for a recipe like this for a looooong time.

    Reply
  4. Please try to imagine the standing ovation I am giving you right now Sawsan! You are AMAZING! Those puff pastry layers look just divine…better than any pastry chef I have seen. The millfeuile is making me swoon.

    Reply
  5. Sawsan! This is so amazing!! I love the mille feuille tutorial! Very clear and helpful! I should definitely try to make this some time. Was really intimidated initially! What a beau!! Great job!

    Reply
  6. Sawsan..I cannot stop looking at your photos..that beautiful light yellow creme patisserie and the perfectly golden puff pastry..not to mention your step-by-step photos of the process. I love the way you piped the pastry cream onto the mille feuille..beautiful, little rosettes! Amazing job my friend! That said..thank you so much for your lovely wisdom and advice about my current situation..it made me feel so much better :)

    Reply
  7. Great tutorial. You make it look easy.

    Reply
  8. kouky

     /  November 1, 2012

    Sawsan your mille feuille is so beautiful !!Congratulations et sahten!

    Reply
  9. I’m alway so impressed when anyone attempts to make mille feuille. You napoleons are beautiful…but everything you make is.

    Reply
  10. Wow! gorgeous pics and perfect mille-feuille.

    Reply
  11. You are one of the most daring bakers I know! This does look sinfully delicious Sawsan. I’ve never made puff pastry either. It always seems so difficult. You’ve made it look like it’s something I could (and should) try and pull off one of these days. I’ve never heard of mille feuille before. Perhaps when we get around to cooking French cuisine I’ll try and tackle this one. :)

    Reply
  12. you truly are the food doctor. I mean you are so great at detailing each step for us and to know what to expect. I love it- and this napoleon I could just stuff into my mouth! Fabulous

    Reply
  13. Wow! You make the most complicated baking task seems so easy and doable.

    Reply
  14. Utter perfection Sawsan! :) Your Napoleon looks divine!

    Reply
  15. munakenny

     /  October 30, 2012

    At times when my sister wants to pamper me she takes me to a five star hotel for breakfast, and this dessert has to come after it. I love to have it anytime but the lazy me never went a head and made it … Your pictures made me hungry, I can almost taste these goodies :)

    Reply
  16. This is very good reciepe.. I will try it soon at home and makefor my family.

    Reply
  17. Sawsan, as soon as I saw these my very first thought was, “My Grandfather would have loved them!” They look absolutely delicious!

    On his last visit out to see us, when I was a teenager, he walked to the bakery and came home with a big box of something that looked very like these. I remember the twinkle in his eye as he sat down and took a bite. Then, he opened the lid and invited us to have one too!

    I haven’t thought of Grandpa Strong in so many years. Thank you for reminding me of him with your post today! ~Lynda

    Reply
  18. I love the way you have explained everything Sawsan. You are so good at this. Loved the post! That pastry is a killer.

    Reply
  19. WOW! I’m totally impressed! I’ve made napoleons but I have not made my own puff pastry. You have truly earned the daring baker seal of approval from me! Beautiful!

    Reply
  20. Amazing tutorial, Sawsan…
    Napoleon used to be my favorite dessert a few years ago – not sure why I haven’t had one in more than 20 years… they are messy to eat, but sooooo delicious!

    Yours turned out simply perfect!

    Reply
  21. I have always loved these even if all the cream squishes out the sides while you are eating them. Thanks for the detailed tutorial and the stunning photos.

    Reply
  22. Beautiful :-) Even though this had many steps, it was much easier than I thought it would be.
    I hope you continue to feel better.

    Reply
  23. What a great tutorial and what a wonderful Napoleon! I think this is the prettiest Napolean I’ve ever seen. Gorgeous and fantastic pictures, of course. :)

    Reply
  24. So beautifully done! I love how puffy the sheets are from the oven…and the addition of strawberries makes it very pretty and I’m sure delicious. Excellent job for this month’s challenge!

    Reply
  25. Wow Sawsan. This is seriously impressive. Incredible, detailed photos and instructions, and they look absolutely delicious. I’ve always been too scared to attempt to make mille feuille myself, but I’m very happy to live vicariously through your post! Yum.

    Reply
  26. Oh my gosh, your photos are amazing – both of the process and of the completed mille feuille. And the strawberries in there? Oh. My. Goodness. I bet it was SO delicious. AMAZING job.

    Reply
  27. Your mille feuille turned out gorgeous, Sawsan. I finally did the challenge too!

    Reply
  28. Beautiful job on the challenge! Those strawberries looks really yummy, especially with the puff pastry and creme.

    Reply
  29. Wow, that’s a pastry worthy of any bakery here – I’m really impressed! I’ve never tried making puff pastry before… it seems so much easier to buy it. Is it a big difference in taste or texture?

    Reply
  30. You certainly rose to the challenge!! They look perfect to me, and what a wonderful treat too!

    Reply
  31. So cute, I love the result!

    Reply
  32. Do you hear it, Sawsan? It’s my standing ovation for an incredible post. You’ve made the impossible seem accessible, no small feat when the subject matter is puff pastry. That, alone, would have been enough but you used the pâte feuilletée to make exquisite Napoleons. And then you documented both processes in one well-written and beautifully photographed post. I don’t know if I’ll ever try to make either on my own but, if I do, yours will be the post I use for guidance.

    Reply
  33. Beautiful photography, as usual! The layers on your puff pastry are just amazing!

    Reply
  34. Rasha

     /  October 28, 2012

    Another piece of art!

    Reply
  35. I should have found time to make this challenge. Your version looks luscious!

    Reply
  36. Sawsan, what a beautiful post. <3 Your description of eating the mille feuille made me want to whip up another batch right away! I think I'll try the dusting of icing sugar on top next time too – it looks so pretty & it would be just the right amount of light sweetness to complement the pastry. Fabulous job – your mille feuilles are stunning! :)

    Reply
  37. Maya Shetty

     /  October 28, 2012

    Simply amazing Sawsan:) I’m going to try this for sure after ur step by step claer instructions…beautiful presentation!

    Reply
  38. Oh Sawsan! I love your step by step! So neat! And what a beautiful result on the pastry, so flaky and perfect! I also did the pastry cream/powdered sugar version, but I would have loved to add the strawberries, But they aren’t in season yet here. As usual, you did an impressive job on the challenge. I enjoyed it immensely too :)

    Reply
  39. You mille feuilee is beautiful, I love the colours! your post is gorgeous with all the step by step pictures!!

    Reply
  40. Wow. That looks like a dish somewhere between complex and absolutely delicious! :)

    Reply
  41. Great post! Very detailed instructions, that is very good. I love the end result, though. There really seem to be a lot of challenges around there in blog world. That recipe would also fit to my current blog challenge, but I think, when you would have a closer look, it might fit to several more as well.

    Reply
  42. Thanks for sharing this step by step instructions, very nice

    Reply
  43. Beautiful puff pastry! I like the addition of sliced strawberries in mille feuille.

    Reply
  44. OMG! Really??? You actually made such a complex dessert? Wow. I was impressed and challenged with croissants, but I have to say, this is a bit far from my reach. I take my hat off to you (and I often do, even if I don’t say). I envy your adventurousness! THIS is my favourite dessert from childhood (I don’t eat many desserts, but I adore the buttery pastry with the creamy filling.) I’ve never dreamed of making this dessert.

    Reply
  45. What a great competition and it looks like you have done it with flying colors. I really like your step by step directions as that helps with this sort of difficult task of making puff pastry from scratch. I love the dessert idea and hope to try one soon. Take care, BAM

    Reply
  46. Puff pastry!!! Seriously!! whoa!! Amazingly done.. **applause**!! :)

    Reply
  47. Just look at those fluffy layers of pastry.. and that cream filling! If anyone could make Puff Pastry, I would be it would be you, Sawsan. I’m so impressed every time I come to read your recipes! Bravo!

    Reply
  48. This is beyond beautiful, Sawsan! I love the step by step pictures and how you made the dough so beautifully wrap around your butter paste. Your mille feuille looks too pretty to eat. Excellent as always, dear fellow DB’er. As usual I am and will be late :))

    Reply
  49. You inspire yet again. I always buy puff pastry just because I have a good bakery source that uses nice butter. Now I am rethinking how lazy I truly am–maybe next time I will just make it! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  50. What puffy and fantastic layers!

    Reply
  51. I appreciate that your instructions are so detailed as I might otherwise be afraid to make these! They look so beautiful and professional Sawsan!

    Reply
  52. YOU are the bravest person I know!!! NEVER have I even considered making these from scratch. You are such a culinary artist and inspiration to us all.

    Reply
  53. Your puff pastry is fantastic and your mille feuilles are just beautiful, Sawsan! Awesome job.

    Reply
  54. daisyandthefox

     /  October 28, 2012

    looks so good – love a good mille-feuille!! and great step by step instructions!! – i know where i will be coming when i need help on puff pastry making :)

    Reply
  55. Anonymous

     /  October 28, 2012

    You’re amazing!

    love! <3

    Reply
  56. Good job! I’ve never made puff pastry (it’s so easy to buy the frozen, and there’s at least one brand that’s quite good), although I know it’s within my skill set. I really have to do this someday. Very clear instructions and photos – thanks so much.

    Reply
  57. You are such a talented lady Sawsan. Missed your posts for a while…I have just started my half term break..and trying to catch up all I have missed:)

    Reply
  58. This is by far the best step by step mille feuille recipe I have ever seen!! You make it so easy to make! Lovely pictures!!

    Reply
  59. Wow, a lot of work but is delicious :) Thank you ;)

    Reply
  60. kennedy

     /  October 27, 2012

    Can you just mail me one? It looks so delicious, but so much work! Once again an excellent blog!

    Reply
  61. I’m amazed that you went to all the effort to make your own puff pastry. I’m sure the results were worth it however. :)

    Reply
  62. Your homemade millfeuile is exquisite my friend simply beautiful :D
    Thank you for such in depth instructions!

    Cheers
    CCU

    Reply
  63. This is very impressive! Sounds and looks incredible. A lot of effort but definitely worth it!!!

    Reply
  64. You’re astounding Sawsan! I hope one day to follow in your footsteps (but don’t really hold out much hope!) :) Spot-on perfect instructions (as usual) and all the inspiration we might need to believe one day we might be so brave! (and so smugly deliciously satisfied!)

    Reply
  65. Looks wonderful!! i love your photos and the dessert looks heavenly..tislam eideki. Happy Eid too. :)

    Reply
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