Mille Feuille

Made-to-order millefeuille at Dominique Ansel Kitchen.

Millefeuille, the classic French pastry that consists of layers of razor-thin puff pastry and cream filling, is having a resurgence all across the country. We’ve had them sweet and savory, modern and traditional, and we love them all. So we spoke to Dominque Ansel, the trendsetter and mastermind behind the Cronut, about his built-to-order version at Dominique Ansel Kitchen, and to Chad Pagano, a pastry and baking-arts chef-instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education, to understand what exactly a millefeuille is, how on earth we’re supposed to pronounce it, and where to eat it now. Here’s what we learned:

The very first recipe for a millefeuille appeared in François Pierre La Varenne’s cookbook in 1651. If we’re being official about it, a gâteau millefeuille is constructed of three layers of puff pastry and stabilized pastry cream (mixed with a little gelatin for a tighter cream that’s not too runny), decorated with fondant and garnished with a chocolate spider web design on top, detailed Pagano. It is not the same thing as a Napoleon, an Italian dessert where almond paste—similar to frangipane—is sandwiched between its many layers.

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