Mille-Feuille: French Napoleon Pastry Recipe

Mille Feuille Homemade Napoleon recipe

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  • Total: 85 mins
  • Prep: 60 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Chilling time: 2 hrs
  • Yield: 1 Pastry (8 Servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
1083 Calories
75g Fat
92g Carbs
13g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 Pastry (8 Servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 1083
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 75g 96%
Saturated Fat 31g 156%
Cholesterol 118mg 39%
Sodium 297mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 92g 33%
Dietary Fiber 2g 9%
Protein 13g
Calcium 88mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This recipe for mille-feuille, oNapoleon as it's also known, is a classic French pastry which is readily available in Moroccan pastry shops. It's made by sandwiching crispy layers of puff pastry with a rich custard pastry cream filling and then garnishing the top with a glossy royal icing. The end result is a wonderfully appealing blend of flavors and textures—perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth at tea time or over coffee.

Although decadent and impressive, a mille-feuille isn't difficult to make at home, particularly if you use frozen puff pastry dough. Do, however, allow ample time for prepping, baking, assembling, and chilling. 

Mille-feuille can be assembled a day or two in advance of serving. Have parchment paper on hand for baking the pastry layers, and be sure to allow additional prep time if making your puff pastry dough from scratch.

Ingredients

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this dessert is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and baking.

Prepare the Pastry and Filling

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for filling
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  2. Make homemade puff pastry dough and have it ready and chilled. Or thaw store-bought frozen puff pastry dough according to the package directions.

    Puff pastry
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  3. Make the pastry cream. Once completely cooled, you can lighten its texture if desired by folding in the optional whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate until assembly time.

    Mix filling
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Bake the Pastry Layers

  1. Heat the oven to 400 F/200 C.

  2. On a lightly floured surface, gently roll out the puff pastry dough into an elongated rectangle the thickness of a thin piece of cardboard.

    Gently roll out pastry
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  3. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into three equally-sized pieces.

    Cut pastry
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  4. Transfer the dough to a baking pan (or pans) lined with parchment paper and pierce the dough all over with a fork.

    Transfer dough
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  5. Cover the dough with another sheet of parchment paper and place a baking pan or pie weights on top to weigh down the dough as it bakes.

    Baking pan
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  6. Bake the weighed-down dough, in batches if necessary, about 25 minutes, or until the dough is deep golden brown. The weights and the top layer of parchment paper pan can be removed the last 5 or so minutes of baking to help color the dough. 

    Bake
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  7. Transfer the baked pastry layers to racks to cool completely.

    Transfer baked pastry
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Assemble the Mille-Feuille

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Assemble mille feuille
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  2. Set out and have everything ready—the baked puff pastry layers, the pastry cream, and the ingredients for frosting and decorating. Don't worry if your baked pastry layers look unevenly sized. After assembly, you'll be trimming the edges for a uniform look.

  3. Start by distributing half of the pastry cream over one layer of baked puff pastry.

    Frost
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  4. Top with another layer of dough, pressing gently to adhere it to the pastry cream below.

    Top with dough
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  5. Spread the remaining pastry cream over the second layer of pastry and top with the third layer of pastry and again press down gently. 

    Finish
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Decorate the Mille-Feuille

  1. Melt the chocolate in a saucepan over very low heat and transfer it to a pastry bag or decorating tube fitted with a fine round tip. Alternatively, you can use a small plastic bag which has a corner pierced or snipped to make a tiny opening.

    Melt chocolate
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  2. Make the royal icing by beating the egg whites and lemon juice just until foamy. Add most of the confectioners' sugar and mix on low speed until very smooth and glossy.

    Beat eggs
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  3. Add more confectioners' sugar if necessary to achieve a consistency so that when the icing is drizzled back into the bowl from the beaters, it will sit briefly on the surface of the icing before sinking back in.

    Whisk
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  4. Immediately pour the royal icing over the top layer of pastry and spread it evenly over the entire surface. Don't worry if some of the icing drips over the edges.

    Frost pastry
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  5. Next, working quickly before the icing sets, drizzle the chocolate across the icing in evenly-spaced, parallel lines. Again, don't worry if some of the chocolate drips over the edges, and don't worry if your lines look sloppy. The next step will improve their appearance.

    Decorate chocolate icing
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  6. With the tip of a thin, sharp knife, lightly drag it through the lines of chocolate spaced evenly from one side of the pastry to the other first in one direction, and then in the opposite direction to make a chevron pattern. This creates the classic decorative pattern shown in the photo.

    Mille feuille
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Serving the Mille-Feuille

  1. With a long, sharp knife, cut 1/4-inch off the edges of the pastry all around to make a neat, evenly proportioned rectangle.

    Serve
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  2. Carefully transfer the trimmed mille-feuille to a serving dish and refrigerate. Allow an hour or two to chill before cutting into individual portions for serving.

    Serve
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  3. Slice, serve, and enjoy!

Tips

  • Please do not confuse frozen puff pastry dough with phyllo dough. The two are not interchangeable in this recipe. Always select all-butter puff pastry for the best flavor and texture.
  • When assembling the mille-feuille, it's best to work on a flat surface for easy transfer of the finished pastry to a serving dish. 
  • When cutting the mille-feuille, a long, non-serrated knife will make the cleanest cut through the icing.