Mille feuille

Literally "thousand sheets" (and similar to although subtly different from the "Napoleon" dessert), I fell in love with mille feuille after having an amazing version by 3-star chef Olivier Roellinger (at his pastry shop Grain de Vanille in Cancale...Brittany in general is a foodie's paradise, my travel notes are here). I recently found a recipe for Roellinger's filling, and did some research to fill in the gaps to make something that was a pretty good approximation...


~halved from Olivier Roellinger’s Grain de Vanille recipe...basically a pastry cream (crème pâtissière) lightened with whipped cream, to make a crème légère (similar to a crème diplomat but without gelatin)

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1/2 vanilla bean pod

  • 2 egg yolks

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch → original recipe calls for 3 T flour but a mix of flour & cornstarch tasted less "doughy" and was smoother

  • 1/2 cup cream

  • Split & scrape vanilla pod into milk, heat until just boiling, take off heat & steep covered 1+ hour

  • Whisk sugar & flour into yolks

  • Reheat milk to ~boil, temper yolks

  • Combine mixture and heat on medium, whisking constantly, until just bubbling & thick, lower heat to low, whisk another 1-3 minutes before taking off heat

  • Strain into bowl, refrigerate 2+ hours

  • Whip cream to soft peaks, whip half into pastry cream, fold the rest in gently


    1. Try 2 (maybe 3?) egg yolks (previously used 4, which works well but tastes a bit eggy/custardy)

    2. Consider something closer to Serious Eats recipe with all-cornstarch, or Food52's superfine rice flour recommendation?

Puff Pastry

based on Justin Chapple’s Food & Wine recipe

  • 1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter (7 ounces) frozen overnight → original recipe calls for frozen 20 minutes but at least on my food processor it comes out much thinner if frozen overnight

  • 1 1/4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

  • Slice butter using food processor slicer blade, put on plate/bowl and put (back) in freezer

  • Attach mixer blade, pulse flour & salt, drizzle in water with processor running until dough collects

  • Roll out on floured surface until <1/4” thick, ~20” long, place butter on dough

  • Fold over 4” segments into a flat roll (brushing surface each fold to avoid too much interior flour)

  • Tap with rolling pin, roll out, then fold in rolls again (4 more times for total of 5 “turns”...classic puff pastry is ~6 turns but since each “roll” is 5 layers instead of 3-4, it works out)

  • Pop in the fridge/freezer between turns if butter becomes too soft/pliable

  • Tightly wrap & put in freezer 15+ minutes to chill before using (if frozen, thaw in fridge or at room temperature before using)

...or, if you don't want to do this, get store-bought puff pastry (Dufour brand is great)


roughly based on Matt Adlard’s recipe

  • Preheat oven to 425°F, line baking tray/sheet with parchment

  • Roll out puff pastry until ~0.2” thick, place on parchment, “dock” by pricking top with a fork; put another sheet of parchment on top, and another tray/sheet on top

  • Bake ~10 minutes, then lower temperature to 375°F until cooked through/golden brown, ~30-60 minutes (yes it seems like a lot, but the first time we made them it really did take 60 minutes; subsequent times were closer to 30 minutes)...about halfway through, add a bit more weight (say a heavy cast iron pan) on top

  • Remove upper tray/parchment, optionally return to oven another 10-15 minutes

  • Raise temperature back to 425°F

  • Dust with powdered sugar (~2 tablespoons) to lightly coat, insert back in oven a few more (~3-4) minutes until caramelized (watch closely)

  • Let cool 30+ minutes, cut & put filling between layers (traditionally using a piping bag, but a spoon is OK too)