The origins of the famous millefuille (which can also be spelled mille-feuille) cake aren’t known though a cake that was somewhat similar was said to have been first made in the 17th century. It wasn’t the millefeuille as we know it today, that took years of perfecting by various chefs including the famous King of Chefs, Chef of Kings, the great Marie-Antoine Carême.
Traditionally, a millefeuille will have three layers of puff pastry and two or three layers of cream. The puff pastry is what gives it the name “thousand leaves”.
Millefeuille was a favourite of Napoleon Bonaparte. In fact there’s a variation of it with a swirly icing top which is still known as Millefeuille Napoleon.
It’s very easy to make with shop bought puff pastry but is seriously impressive to look at and utterly scrumptious to eat! You can make the cream filling with crème patisserie, mascarpone and cream or as I have, plain cream. Fruit fillings of all types are used, and it can be topped with icing, icing sugar, fruit, cream etc.
How to make strawberry millefeuille for 6
1 block or sheet of puff pastry (350g)
300 ml Whipped cream
Icing sugar for dusting
Preheat over to 200C/180C fan/gas 6
If using a block, roll the pastry out to a large rectangle 30cm long. Place on a baking sheet-lined backing tray and prick all over with a fork (this helps to prevent over rishing) Leave to rest for 30 minutes.
Bake in the oven for around 15 minutes. It’s ready when the pastry is crisp and golden. Leave to cool.
Whip the cream until it’s nice and stiff.
Slice the hulled, fresh strawberries in half.
Assemble the cake.
Lay the cooled cooked pastry sheets out and cut into 3 equal strips 30cm long. Trim the edges if necessary to make them nice and sharp.
Spread the first sheet with strawberry jam (the more jam you use the sweeter it is). Then spread half the whipped cream over the jam, place half of the cut strawberries in the cream.
Spread jam on the second sheet and then place it on top of the first sheet. Spread the rest of the cream and strawberries.
Place the third sheet on top and dust with icing sugar.
Cut the cake into 6 equal pieces and serve!
I like to put a dollop of cream onto the middle of each cake when cut and pop a strawberry into it (see top picture). If you really want to impress, brush the strawberry on top with melted redcurrant jelly to make it shiny.You could add a little shredded fresh basil around the strawberry on top or grate some chocolate over it.