By Mara Papatheodorou, Your Tastes & Traditions Expert
Who knew the worlds of nature and pastry could go hand in hand? MilleFeuille, French for a thousand leaves, received its special name because of the similarity of fine flaky leaves to delicate puff pastry when stacked and layered in dessert form.
MilleFeuille began as a vital component in pastry making but has gone on to become a stand-alone delicious dessert unto itself. It was the ancient Greeks who first started fiddling with pastry and recognized the difference between a pastry maker and a bread baker. But it was the French who took it to another level. Chef La Varenne took note of how piling the airy leaves topped with pure or flavored crème pastissiere created tantalizing tastes while renowned pastry chef Careme was known for using puff pastry to enhance his elaborate concoctions at banquets. This flaked dessert design supposedly hails from Hungary but it was the late 18th century French and Italian pastry chefs whom perfected the culinary part by adding vanilla crèmes, custards and fruit purees to their crispy layers of puff pastry and topping them with colorful glazes or whipped cream. Today, marvelous MilleFeuille masterpieces are beautiful to admire and even better to savor each and every bite!