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Mille Foglie

May 11, 2011

Just like I knew I wanted to carry basil in my bouquet when I got married, I knew from a young age what kind of wedding cake I wanted, provided my husband-to-be agreed. My family had been going to the best Italian bakery for years for delicious desserts for special occasions. This bakery is Dianda’s (if you are ever in San Francisco or San Mateo, check them out). Everything in their bakery case is delicious! This is no exaggeration. They have amazing Italian cookies: pine nut cookies, allunetti, brutti ma buoni. My sister’s favorite place to get cannoli? Dianda’s, of course! But, the best thing they make is their mille foglie cake. “Mille foglie” essentially means 1,000 sheets. This cake is made from layers of crispy puff pastry and delicious custard, topped with a light whipped cream frosting. It goes very well with berries, especially strawberries. I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t drool over this cake! And, for my family to buy cake instead of making it, says a lot about the quality and taste of this dessert.

After Will proposed and we discussed wedding plans, we both knew we wanted mille foglie instead of some run-of-the-mill, potentially dry, and super expensive wedding cake. In the course of our dating years, Will had been a part of many family meals that ended with a big slice of mille foglie, and he loved the taste of the cake as much as I did. We got many compliments on our delicious and unexpected cake on our special day.

Since we are not living near Dianda’s, we have to wait for a special family occasion when we are in the Bay Area to enjoy our favorite dessert…that is until I stumbled across several mille foglie recipes and decided to try making it myself. It is actually surprisingly easy to make and assemble. I pulled from various recipes to create the recipe below. I think the next time I make this, I might cook the puff pastry a little longer to get it a little more crispy. You can make your own puff pastry or buy it in the store. (I bought it for the sake of brevity and uncertainty about whether the cake would actually turn out as I hoped).

This is a great dessert to impress dinner guests. Top it with fresh strawberries. Give it a try and let me know what you think! I hope you enjoy this dessert as much as we do!


1 sheet puff pastry, thawed (or, you can make your own)

2 Tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup sugar

4 large egg yolks, room temperature

2 cups whole milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

homemade whipped cream


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place between two sheet pans with a piece of parchment paper above and below the pastry. Lay dough on top and poke with fork all over to prevent over rising. Bake until golden brown and very crisp, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely on rack. Using a serrated knife, trim pastry so edges are straight and even in shape. Divide into 3 even strips.

Whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. In a mixing bowl, whisk the milk into the yolks. Then whisk them into the flour-sugar mixture. Whisk well to be sure all the flour is picked up off the pan bottom and dissolved.

Set the pan over medium heat and cook the custard mixture for about 12 minutes, until it thickens and comes to a boil (Stir with a wooden spoon on and off for the first 5 minutes, then stir constantly for about 7 minutes longer) until the mixture really thickens and reaches a boil and fat heavy bubbles work up to the surface and burst between stirs. The cream is sufficiently cooked if it is smooth and thick and will generously coat the spoon. If the cream is lumpy, pass it through a strainer set over a bowl. Stir in the vanilla. Cool, cover, and refrigerate (the cream should be cool enough to use after about 15 minutes).

Evenly divide cooled pastry cream onto strip of puff pastry. Spread evenly. Lay another strip on top and cover with cream. Top with final strip of puff pastry. Dust with confectioner’s sugar or cover with whipped cream. Chill for 1 to 2 hours before serving. Enjoy!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Parya permalink
    January 22, 2012 1:36 pm

    great, easy to follow recipe and really great outcome! i recently made the mille foglie (which is also a persian dessert called Napelone) and it just HAPPENS to be my favorite in the world and this recipe was aaawesome!!! and as a brand new cook, i truly appreciate the in-depth directions! everything went EXACTLY as the recipe said it would! im really glad you posted this recipe! thank you!!

    • Liana permalink*
      February 11, 2012 1:43 pm

      Parya, I’m so glad that the mille foglie turned out exactly as you hoped! And, it’s so nice to “meet” another person who loves this dessert as much as I do! Happy baking! 🙂

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