Saturday, February 14, 2015

Millefeuilles, Mille-feuilles, Feuilles, Feuilleté and Feuillantine on French Menus.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman
Grapes and vine leaves.
Photograph courtesy of rachelgreenbelt.
Feuille – A leaf.
On French menus more that vegetable and fruit-tree leaves may be on the menu. Thin slices of pastry, often puff-pastry, and other products may also be described as leaves.

Feuilles on French Menus:
Feuilles d'Épinards au Beurre – Spinach leaves prepared with butter.

A slice of bread served with a medium-aged Cantal cheese, locally cured ham, and young spinach leaves.
Photograph courtesy of Hotel des Voyageurs à Tarnac en Corrèze

Feuille de Chêne – Leaves of oak leaf or butterhead lettuce. In the UK  this lettuce is also called Bridgemere lettuce. Young oak leaf lettuce leaves will be the baby salad leaves in many salads.  This  is a delicate lettuce and when used  as a bed to present a dish it does not offer a competing taste.
Feuille de Chêne Rouge  The red and red tinged leaves of the red oak leaf lettuce.

The leaves of the red oak lettuce.
Photographs courtesy of dflegmatic.
Feuilles de DoucetteAnother name for the leaves from France’s excellent salad green, more usually called mâche.  In English this salad green is called field lettuce, lamb’s lettuce or corn salad. Unfortunately, it is only rarely on the menu in the UK and North America. I believe that Mâche is just as indispensable to a French green or mixed salad as the French think it is. Eighty per cent of  Europe's supply of mâche comes from the area around the city of  Nantes, so this salad green may well be on your menus as Mâche Nantaise

A field lettuce salad (mâche).
Photograph courtesy of balise42.
Feuilles des Légumes-Racines  or Fanes  - The leaves of root vegetables.
Feuilles de Vigne Farcies – Stuffed vine leaves are on menus in all countries where there are vineyards.  French chefs often choose specific vine leaves by their fragrance. I have enjoyed vine leaves stuffed with shrimps and squid and also a vegetarian dish of vine leaves stuffed with raisins, courgettes (the USA zucchini) and rice flavored with herbs. 

Stuffed vine leaves.
 Photograph courtesy of kennejima
Feuilles de Vigne a la GrecqueVine leaves stuffed in the Greek manner, often called dolma. The Greek version I know best is vine leaves stuffed with lamb, rice and pine nuts. However, the Greek name dolma is in fact Turkish, and so many assume the origin of the original dish is Turkish.  Be that as it may,  dishes wrapped in vine leaves, using a variety of recipes, go back thousands of years.  Additionally, there are many traditional Greek and Balkan versions of Dolma  that are not seen in Turkey,  Nonetheless, those countries did live under Ottoman rule and their traditional dishes, names and recipes were often shared.
Feuilleté  - A puff-pastry covering.
The word feuilletée, coming as it does from feuille, a leaf, refers to thin layers of puff-pastry. The pate feuilleté, the puff-pastry dough is created by folding and refolding and refolding  the dough with butter again and again. In the oven these very, very thin layers of butter create steam and separate the leaves of dough.  Voila, you have pâte feuilletée that is a special form of puff- pastry. Feuilletés may be part of  the hors d’oeuvres, the  entrée (the French first course), the main courses or the dessert.

Feuilleté on French Menus:
Feuilleté  aux Pommes et Cidre Cornouaille – Puff pastry covering apples soaked in the  Cornouaille AOP cider  of Brittany and served with puff-pastry.

Feuilleté d'Asperges, Sauce Crème aux Morilles
Puff pastry with asparagus served with a cream sauce made with morel mushrooms.
Photograph courtesy of Inspirational Food.
Feuilleté  de Saumon à l’Oseille-A puff-pastry covering of salmon cooked with sorrel.

Feuillantine  or En Feuillantine - Surrounded by puff-pastry

Feuillantine and Feuilleté are sometimes used interchangeably. However, feuillantine  or en Feuillantine properly used indicates that the puff-pastry or possibly fruit or vegetable leaves are surrounding the main ingredients.

Feuillantine  on French Menus:
Feuillantine d'Escargots aux Champignons en Crème d'AilSnails and mushrooms cooked in a puff-pastry covering and served with a cream of garlic sauce.  

Poire Pochée en Feuilleté,
Sauce au Chocolat et Glace Vanille.
A pear poached inside a feuilleté casing,
Served with a chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream,
Photograph courtesy of emmrichard
de Homard et Noix de Saint Jacques, Sauce Crustacés - Lobster meat and the meat from the king scallop cooked in a puff-pastry casing and served with a sauce made from crustaceans.
Pate levée feuilletée – The pastry dough used for croissants.
Pâte levée feuilletée is the dough used to make croissants. It is a yeast based form of  pâte feuilletée with a much higher percentage of butter. A real French croissant is 40% to 50% butter by weight.

Photograph courtesy of PowerRabbit.
Millefeuille or Mille-feuille 
 Millefeuille means a thousand leaves.
Pâte Feuilletée  is also used to made millefeuilles. Millefeuille or Mille-feuilles are interleaved layers of pâte feuilletée  filled with sweet and savory fillings. Taking the idea behind the original millefeuille a stretch further has seen the creation of millefeuilles with no pastry at all. Thin slices of vegetables and or fruits have replaced the pastry.
Millefeuille Chocolat Chloé, Pierre Hermé,
A Millefeuille from Japan.
Japanese pastry chefs do wonders with French pastry.
Salon du Chocolat 2009 Tokyo, Shinjuku Isetan
Photograph courtesy of yuichi.sakuraba.
Millefeuilles on French menus:
Millefeuille de Céleris et Topinambour A millefeuille of celery and Jerusalem artichoke.                  
 Millefeuille de Légumes de Saison – A garnish of seasonal fresh vegetables cooked and interleaved with another vegetable, not puff-pastry.

           Strawberry Millefeuille.
Photograph courtesy of mhuang
Millefeuille de Saumon Fumé et Crème de Raifort – A millefeuille of smoked salmon and a cream or horseradish.

Millefeuille with Cream and Hot Chocolate Sauce.
Photograph courtesy of su-lin
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