What is Millefoglie?
Millefoglie (in Italian) or Mille-feuille (in French) translates to “a thousand layers”, and is essentially a delicate and light pastry that is made of alternating layers of puff pastry sheets and pastry cream. This dessert is often confused with the Napoleon, which is also a layered pastry, but the main difference is that a Napoleon is layered with an almond paste instead of the pastry cream. We should also note that this dessert is also referred to as custard slice, vanilla slice, and cream slice in various parts of the world – but they are all basically the same pastry.
While this dessert originated in France, it is noted as one of the most popular cakes in Italy, especially for celebrations. Our guess would be that it’s due to its beautiful layers. The millefoglie (besides being fancy to say) makes for a gorgeous presentation. While simple in its execution, this is a stunning dessert that will be sure to wow your guests.
The recipes we have curated for the millefoglie use the literal translation to mean layers, so the layers are mostly pastry but we have a few that are something else all together. Regardless of which one you choose to make, these make for an elegant and sophisticated dessert. And don’t let the flaky pastry part intimidate you from making these. In all of our chosen recipes which use puff pastry, we use store-bought/pre-made pastry sheets so you don’t have to make it.
1. Millefoglie Cream Cake with Berries
This cream cake is made of 3 layers of delicate puff pastry, vanilla custard, and berries. This particular recipe is pretty straight forward and would be best made with whichever seasonal berries you have available to you. The cream for this recipe requires 6 eggs, so make sure that you have plenty of eggs on hand.
As mentioned, the layering part is what makes the millefoglie stands out. Its beauty is in the structure created by the multiple layers of flaky pastry, velvety vanilla cream, and sweet berries. And as for the final topping: the delicate structure is then finished off with berries and powdered sugar, which just makes this dessert look superbly spectacular.
Get the full recipe and directions from Italian Recipe Book
2. Millefoglie with Grappa Cream and Rhubarb
This is easily the most fancy version on our list. The addition of Grappa (known as an after-dinner wine) along with the Rhubarb is what elevates this recipe to the next level. They recommend the Julia brand of Grappa as it has a sweeter finish and has a well-rounded flavor. If you do not have any Grappa on hand, you can use grape juice or even Brandy, which is made in a similar process.
The steps are important to follow as the custard needs to cool while you prepare the rhubarb. The rhubarb is cooked down into a reduction which can take about 10 minutes. This particular version is actually assembled into individual portions with the pastry dough being cooked and then cut into 3 inch squares. None of the pastry dough is wasted as you will cut these into small pieces to place on top the individual millefoglie with it. With the bright red color of the rhubarb filling displayed on this dessert, the personal-sized versions are stunning and gorgeous to look at.
Get the full recipe and directions from Epicurious
3. Strawberry & Mint Millefoglie with Ricotta
This is probably the easiest recipe on our list since it doesn’t require making a pastry cream, and involves using ricotta instead. The ricotta is reminiscent of a less-smooth pastry cream (without the fuss of making a custard) and makes this version unique.
Once the ingredients are prepped all that is left is to layer and then chill. The acidity from the strawberries and the rich ricotta are perfect complements to each other. This particular recipe version is an easy, yet elegant dessert to add to your table. We love that this can be whipped together quickly when you have last-minute dinner guests arriving!
Get the full recipe and directions from My Kitchen Stories
4. Crumbled Millefoglie with Italian Lemon Cream
If you’re concerned about baking puff pastry and having it come out into perfectly neat baked sheets, then this is the recipe for you. The big difference is the fact that the puff pastry is baked and then crumbled for a different take on the millefoglie. You get all of the taste and flavors of a millegfoglie without the need to be super careful about having perfectly neat puff pastry.
We also really love the cream in this version as the blend of whip cream and pastry cream provide a smooth and velvety texture. Plus the lemon flavoring is such a nice finish and would be great with some chilled limoncello.
Get the full recipe and directions from Giallo Zafferano
5. Pineapple Millefoglie With Maraschino Cherry Sauce
This pineapple version requires a little more work, but we promise that it’s totally worth it. If you read the ingredients, this might give you a pineapple-upside-down-cake-vibe due to the pineapples and cherries, but we guarantee that this dessert is much more extravagant!
Each individual serving is created by layering a 3-inch round of puff pastry, a piping of custard, caramelized pineapples, a piping of chantilly cream, another puff pastry circle, and a drizzling of the maraschino cherry compote. It’s like the pineapple upside down cake got a fancy makeover!
Get the full recipe and directions from The Food Network
6. Eggplant and Goat Cheese Millefoglie
This is a fun little savory twist on the millefoglie. In this recipe, the eggplant slices are the ‘layers’ and the goat cheese rounds serve as the ‘cream’. A great vegetarian appetizer, this combines the wonderful flavors of grilled eggplant, goat cheese, diced zucchini, balsamic vinegar, red pepper and herbs. It has a colorful presentation that looks like it took hours to prepare and it’s a perfect flavor burst of sweet, creamy and tangy. This is sure to surprise guests with its subtle nod to the traditional millefoglie.
Get the full recipe and directions from Ponti
7. Chicken Millefoglie
I will pretty much eat chicken cordon bleu in any form it comes in. So when I realized that this recipe was basically a deconstructed chicken cordon bleu, I was all over it!It’s basically several layers of chicken breasts, ham, and cheese, with a spinach/mushroom sauce infused throughout. Once layered into a baking pan, they’re placed into the oven where the flavors meld together during the baking process. It’s such a great take on the cordon bleu, and we love that it can be made in such big batches!
Get the full recipe and directions from Best Recipes
We’ve given you a variety of millefoglie’s to try and it would be fun to have a savory one for the main course and then a sweet one for the dessert! The layering adds a special touch to the meal and makes it look much fancier than it actually is. Give one a try and let us know how it goes!
If you liked this list of recipes, we think you’ll also really like our list of best crema pasticcera recipes.