Best Mille Feuille in the World

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2000 Feuilles is named the best mille feuille in the world by food experts. It is the creation of the Piccasso of Pastry, Pierre Herme. According to the official Pierre Herme website, 2000 feuilles presents a harmony of textures. The caramelised puff pastry and crushed hazelnuts contrast with the creaminess of its praline mousseline cream. Thin pieces of Brittany-style crêpe dentelle biscuit provide the crispy layered texture. Wonderfully flavourful.

The Layers

  • Caramelised Puff Pastry
  • Praline Mousseline Cream
  • Caramelised Puff Pastry
  • Praline Mousseline Cream
  • Crunchy Praline
  • Caramelised Puff Pastry

How to Make the Best Mille Feuille in the World

This recipe is adapted from Pierre Herme’s book, Pastries.

Follow along with the video tutorial below!

Inverted Puff Pastry

Beurrage

  • 420g Butter
  • 165g All Purpose Flour

Détrempe

  • 490g Butter (at least 80% milkfat)
  • 500g All Purpose Flour
  • 150ml Ice cold Water
  • 17g Salt
  • 20g Sugar
  • 4g White vinegar

In a regular puff pastry, the beurrage (butter packet) is rolled inside the détrempe (dough). Inverted puff pastry involves rolling the butter packet inside the dough, hence the name, inverted. Read this post on How to Make Perfect Puff Pastry, what does the science say?

First, we will make the butter packet. Pound butter with a rolling pin to soften it and add it to the stand mixer. With a paddle attachment, beat butter and flour until no more flour can be seen. Transfer it to a bag and roll it into a square.

In another bowl, mix together butter, flour, sugar and salt with a paddle attachment. Slowly, add in ice cold water and vinegar to the dough. Stop when the dough has just combined. When fat is mixed with the flour, the dough warms up slightly. The ice-cold water prevents the fat in the butter from melting into the flour, keeping the pastry nice and flaky. The acidic properities of vinegar inhibits gluten development. Knead the dough until smooth and let it chill for an hour.

As I mentioned in my other pose, temperature is very important. Puff pastry must be made under 16 degrees celsius. So if your working environment is not cool enough, make sure to turn on the aircon and refrigerate the puff pastry between each fold or whenever the dough feels warm for around 30 minutes.

Wrap the dough inside the butter and roll it into a rectangule. Return to the fridge. Fold the bottom end of the rectangule two thirds of the way up, and the top end of the rectangle down to complete the first fold. Return to the fridge. Roll the dough into a rectangle and trim the edges. Repeat to complete your second fold and return to the fridge. Repeat this until you get a total of six turns. This way will end up with a total of 3 x 3 x 3 x 3 x 3 x 3 = 729 layers. Let this chill in the fridge over night.

The puff pastry will be baked for a total of 45 minutes at 180 degrees celsius. Prick your puff pastry to allow air to escape, ensuring a flat surface. In the initial 15 minutes, the fat from the butter layer will melt and separate the dough into layers. The moisture in the fat will evaporate, form steam, and cause the dough to rise and the layers will further separate.

Remove from the oven and cover the puff pastry with a silpat and baking rack to weigh it down. This will ensure a flat surface an even baking. Continue baking for 25 minutes. After it is golden brown, sprinkle icing sugar over the surface and baked again at a higher temperature (200 degrees celsius) to caramelise it.

Praline Mousseline Cream

This creamy praline cream is hella complicated. It has three components – confectioner’s custard, praline buttercream and whipped cream. Let me take you through each step slowly.

Confectioner’s Custard

  • 250g Milk
  • 1/3 of a Vanilla Pod
  • 60g granulated sugar
  • 7g Flour
  • 22g Cornstarch
  • 70g Egg Yolks
  • 30g Unsalted Butter

Boil milk and vanilla in a saucepan. In another bowl, mix egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and flour. Temper the egg yolk mixture by whisking pouring half of the milk. Return this to the pot and keep whisking on low to medium heat. Once the custard is thick or reaches 85 degrees celsius, turn off the heat and transfer the custard into a stand mixer. Beat the custard with a paddle attachment on low speed to let it cool. Once it cools to around 40 degrees celsius, slowly add in your softened butter. If you add your butter when the custard is too hot, your butter will melt, your mixture will spilt as water and oil cannot emulsify and the texture of your texture will not be smooth. Wrap the custard with clingfilm and refrigerate until needed.

Praline Buttercream

The praline buttercream is composed of a creme anglaise, italian meringue and softened butter.

Creme Anglaise
  • 70g Egg Yolks
  • 40g Granulated Sugar
  • 90ml Milk

This method is similar to the custard from before. Boil milk and sugar in a saucepan and slowly pour it into your egg yolks while whisking. Return this mixture to the pot and cook it on low or medium heat until thickened, or until it reaches 82 degrees celsius. Wrap it up clingfilm and refrigerate until needed.

Italian Meringue
  • 75ml Water
  • 250g Granulated Sugar
  • 125g Egg Whites (or 4 egg whites)

Boil water and sugar together in a saucepan. When the temperature reaches 115 degrees celsius, start beating your egg whites at high in a stand mixer. When the sugar reaches 118 degrees, pour it down the side of your bowl in a small continous stream. Make sure to not pour the syrup into the whisk, as the syrup will fly everywhere.

Praline Italian Buttercream
  • 175g Italian Meringue
  • 375g Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 175g Creme Anglaise
  • 50g Hazelnut Praline (60/40)
  • 40g Hazelnut Paste

When your italian meringue reaches 40 degrees celsius, beat in the softened butter, part by part. When your italian buttercream feels cold to the touch, weigh 250g of buttercream and mix in creme anglaise, hazelnut praline and paste.

Praline Mousseline Cream
  • 60g Confectioners’ custard
  • 340g Praline buttercream
  • 70ml whipping cream

With all your components ready, let’s assemble this delicious cream. Beat your whipping cream to soft peaks. Mix praline buttercream with confectioner’s custard until smooth. Add 1/3 of whipping cream, and fold gently to loosen the buttercream. Then add the rest of whipping cream and fold until the cream is smooth and glossy. Set aside.

Crunchy Praline

  • 10g butter
  • 20g Jivara 40% Valrhona Chocolate
  • 50g Hazelnut Praline (60/40)
  • 50g Hazelnut Paste (100%)
  • 50g Feulletine
  • 20g Roasted Hazelnuts, crushed

Melt jivara chocolate and butter in the microwave or over a double boiler. Mix in hazelnut paste and praline. Combine with feulletine and roasted chopped hazelnuts.

Assembly

Divide your caramelised pastry into three. Spread the crunchy praline on one of the caramelised pastry and let this freeze for 10 minutes in the fridge. Fill your piping bag with the praline mousseline cream spread and pipe it onto the frozen crunchy praline layer. Place a second layer of caramelised puff pastry onto the cream and let this freeze for another 10 minutes. Repeat with a layer of praline mousseline cream and caramelised puff pastry.

Let this firm up in the freezer for around 30 minutes. Divide the mille feuille into individual sizes and decorate with hazelnuts and gold leaf. Voila, the best mille feuille in the world.

Alternatives

  • Hazelnut Praline (60/40) and Paste: hazelnut praline has a hint of caramel, consisting of 60% hazelnut and 40% sugar. Hazelnut paste gives the pure 100% hazelnut intensity and flavour. If you cannot purchase either of these, I suggest you make these at home. You can simply grind roasted hazelnuts in a food processor until it forms a paste. I suggest you check out Hanbit Cho’s video on how to make hazelnut praline
  • Feulletine: this is crispy confection made from thin, sweetened crêpes. You could substitute it with corn flakes, but feulletine is much more thin and delicate.

Recipe

This recipe makes 6 individual sized mille feuilles. This recipe is not the exact recipe from Pierre Herme’s book. I found the original recipe a bit too sweet so I modified it slightly to suit my tastebuds.

Inverted Puff Pastry

Beurrage

  • 420g Butter
  • 165g All Purpose Flour

Détrempe

  • 490g Butter (at least 80% milkfat)
  • 500g All Purpose Flour
  • 150ml Ice cold Water
  • 17g Salt
  • 20g Sugar
  • 4g White vinegar

Hazelnut praline leaves

  • 10g butter
  • 20g Jivara 40% Valrhona Chocolate
  • 50g Hazelnut Praline (60/40)
  • 50g Hazelnut Paste (100%)
  • 50g Feulletine
  • 20g Roasted Hazelnuts, crushed

Inverted puff pastry

  • ingredients

Confectioners’ custard

  • 250g Milk
  • 1/3 of a Vanilla Pod
  • 60g granulated sugar
  • 7g Flour
  • 22g Cornstarch
  • 70g Egg Yolks
  • 30g Unsalted Butter

Italian Meringue

  • 75ml Water
  • 250g Granulated Sugar
  • 125g Egg Whites (or 4 egg whites)

Creme Anglaise

  • 70g Egg Yolks
  • 40g Granulated Sugar
  • 90ml Milk

Buttercream

  • 375g Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 175g Creme Anglaise
  • 175g Italian Meringue

Praline buttercream

  • 250g Buttercream
  • 50g Hazelnut Praline (60/40)
  • 40g Hazelnut Paste

Praline Mousseline cream

  • 60g Confectioners’ custard
  • 340g praline buttercream
  • 70ml whipping cream