François Pierre La Varenne first described the recipe for this dessert in 1651. Later on, Marie-Antoine Carême improved on it. Gateau mille-feuille is made up of 729 layers, while in some modern recipes the number of leaves reaches 2048. Today there is even mille-feuille with savory, cheese and spinach, which is consider the Italian version of the famous dessert.
In the past, the puff pastry was made like a regular dough, which was very difficult and tedious, until all the folds finally resulted in a multi-layered dough. Today, busy homemakers are lucky because they have ready-made puff pastry available with which to make this highly popular and fresh dessert.
The puff pastry is sold frozen or cooled. It's advised to move it to the fridge the night before, to let it loosen up. All you have to do the next day is cut out perfect rectangles with a knife, bake them on baking paper, boil a homemade dairy cream and garnish the dessert with fresh fruits.
To make the cream, put 4/5 cup milk to slightly heat up on the stove. In a bowl, mix 2 egg yolks, 4 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp flour and 1 vanilla. Beat with a mixer. Pour in the milk and keep beating with the mixer until the mixture becomes homogenous. Pour it into the pot where you heated the milk and boil the cream on very low heat while stirring nonstop.
Of course, many cooks prefer the easier version of the cream. For it you need to combine 2/3 cup whipped cream, 1 2/3 tbsp powdered sugar and the vanilla in a large bowl. Stir until the mixture becomes homogenous. Grate the lemon rind into it.
Put a rectangle of the puff pastry in a plate. Smear it with the cream on top and add several blueberries or other fresh fruit of your choice. Then place another rectangle and repeat the procedure. Finally, decorate with fresh fruits and powdered sugar.
More recipes for mille-feuille: honey mille-feuille, chocolate mille-feuille with mascarpone, mille-feuille with wild strawberries, Mozart mille-feuille, French mille-feuille with raspberries.