Millefoglie is one of the tastiest cakes you will find in Italy. Dished up on a plate, it also looks very elegant.
In Italian, Millefoglie means a thousand leaves. The name is derived from the many layers of delicate puff pastry that make up the pastry element of this highly sought-after cake.
If you have not tried it as yet, you should add it to your list of cakes to try when you next visit Brunetti or order a cake. This cake makes the perfect weekend treat.
You can enjoy Millefoglie with a coffee on Sunday morning, however, it has to be said, it tastes even better with a glass of something sparkling.
What Are The Ingredients In Millefoglie Cake?
This is a very indulgent cake, perfect for when you want the best of everything naughty and nice.
First, you have layers of delicate thin puff pastry. Between the layers, you can find whipped cream, pastry cream and perhaps even chocolate cream. There are many different ways of filling the layers of Millefoglie.
The top of the cake is decorated with icing sugar, drizzled chocolate and sometimes fresh fruit or berries during late summer.
Millefoglie works well as a dessert and a cake. If you are having a buffet, it is one of the best cakes to serve up to your guests.
The History of Millefoglie Cake
The origins of this delicious cake are not obvious. Although Italy seems to share the Millefoglie tradition with several countries including France where it is called Mille-Feuille, we know little about the origins of this cake.
Millefoglie first appeared in French patisseries in the 17th century. French chef François Pierre de la Varenne is credited as the creator of the cake. He published a recipe for the cake in his cookbook called Cuisinier Francios. But, Monsieur Francois did not use puff pastry. His cake was much simpler than today’s cake.
From France, the cake appears to have travelled to other parts of Europe. It is believed it French soldiers made a variation of Millefoglie.
The modern version of Millefoglie is a creation of another French chef called Marie-Antoine Carême. In France, Madame Marie-Antoine is considered as the “inventor” of modern puff pastry.
Up until this point, it is believed that jam or soft fruit was used when layering the cake. Madame Carême replaced the jam with cream and added a layer of icing on top.
She also used a variety of flavour combinations including lemon, almond and coffee. To this day, you can still buy this cake in many different flavour combinations in French patisseries.
Millefoglie first became popular in Italy in the latter part of the 19th century. It is believed it was brought to Northern Italy and quickly became popular with the Italian nobility.
Just like in North America and Canada, the cake is often called Napoleon cake. Many presume this refers to Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, but that is probably not the case.
It is believed it is a misinterpretation of the cake’s original Italian name, Napolina.
In the late 19th century, the Italian city of Naples (Napoli in Italian) had a large French population. The Campania region where Naples is located was occupied by Napoleon’s army from 1806 until 1814. According to Italian tradition, the cake takes its name from the city of Naples.
When you travel around Italy today, you come across many different versions of Millefoglie. In southern Italy, the cake is often filled with ricotta cheese instead of cream.
If you find your way to Tuscany, the layers of pastry have been soaked with a sweet wine. Travel to Venice, and you will find the Venetians like to enjoy their Millefoglie with hazelnut cream during the cooler part of the year. In summer, the cake is often layered with raspberries or strawberries with fresh cream.
When Do Italians Eat Millefoglie?
Italians don’t need an excuse to enjoy a slice of Millefoglie. This is a sweet treat which is enjoyed daily by many Italians.
Unlike Cassata Siciliana, you can’t say the Millefoglie cake has links to any particular time of the year or Catholic celebration.
In Italy, it is customary to buy a cake when you visit the home of a friend or family member. Millefoglie is a popular choice for Sunday visits after church.
The Final Slice
This is a lovely cake which is perfect for every occasion. If you just like a sweet treat, you find the delicate puff pastry in Millefoglie does overpower the other ingredients.
Because of its crumbly nature, Millefoglie is best eaten with a cake fork. If you have not tried this Italian delicacy yet, drop in to Brunetti Oro try a slice or place an order for one of our larger Millefoglie cakes.