Monday, May 19, 2014

Mille Feuille in Paris

As we were nearing our last days in Paris, I started making a list of items I still wanted to eat.  This probably would have been more helpful in the beginning, but with 9 days I thought I'd have plenty of time.  Oh, how naive and wrong I was!

Mille fueille Pain de Sucre Paris France Napoleon dessert
Mille feuille dessert from Pain de Sucre
Near the top of the list was a mille feuille dessert.  Also known as a Napoleon, mille feuille means "1000 leaves" and is typically comprised of three layers of puff pastry filled with two layers of pastry cream.  The patisserie Pain de Sucre was already on my list and I was even more eager to go after I read this post about their mille feuille.  Sadly I didn't have time to try several mille feuille desserts to pick my favorite, so the next best thing was to take the word of someone else who's done all the research!

What can I say other than that this was amazing and my favorite dessert of our trip.  There's something about puff pastry in France that makes it so rich with buttery, caramel flavor. (Hint: It's probably the butter!)  Even just looking at this mille feuille, the puff pastry is completely different than what you'd find in the frozen section of your supermarket - it's a rich caramel brown color all throughout versus the light bready color of store-bought puff pastry.  The layers are crispy and have this confounding property of shattering easily yet holding together well enough that each forkful retains the original layers.  The pastry cream is not only flecked with vanilla bean, but also intense in rich vanilla flavor.  The cream's texture is smooth yet stiff enough that it doesn't all squeeze out when you try to take that forkful.  In addition to the taste, the balance of structural integrity between the pastry and the cream really make this mille feuille stand out.  After all, no one wants their layered dessert to slip, slide, and ooze all over as they try to eat it!


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