Saturday, February 14, 2015

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

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman
Updated October 2020

Feuilletés de Ris de Veau,
Tombée  d’Épinards, Sauce aux Morilles.
Photograph courtesy of Mercotte

Feuilles, Feuilleté, Feuillantine, En Feuillantine or Millefeuille.

On French menus, thin slices of pastry, often puff-pastry, and other products may, along with vegetable leaves, be described as leaves. The pastry used is an often puff pastry.

Feuilles on French Menus:


Feuilles d'Épinards au Beurre  – Spinach leaves prepared with butter.


Salade de Pousses d'Épinards,

Spinach salad

Spinach, sliced red onion, strawberries, goat cheese, praline pecan, balsamic vinaigrette.

Photograph courtesy of NatalieMaynor


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 delicate lettuce when used as a bed to present a dish does not offer a competing taste.


The leaves of the oak lettuce.
Photograph courtesy of Forest and Kim Starr   



Feuilles de Mâche – Another 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 percent 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 mâche, field lettuce, salad.  
Photograph courtesy of Isabelle Hurbain Palatin


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. Vine leaves stuffed in the Greek manner are 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 a Turkish word.

Stuffed vine leaves.
            Visneli yaprak sarma           
Vine leaves were stuffed with sour cherries, rice, onions, pepper,
cinnamon, and pine nuts
 Photograph courtesy of Garrett Ziegler
Feuilleté  - A puff-pastry covering.

The word feuilletée, coming as it does from feuille, a leaf, refers to thin layers or leaves of puff-pastry. Pate feuilleté is puff-pastry dough and it is created by folding and refolding and refolding the dough with added butter again and again. In the oven, these very, very thin layers of butter create steam and separate the leaves of the 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. 

For the top of the line bakers there is an AOP Beurre Pâtissier Poitou-Charente AOP who use it for pâte feuilletée .

Feuilleté on French Menus:


Feuilleté  aux Pommes et Cidre Cornouaille – Puff pastry covering apples soaked in the  Cornouaille AOP cider  from  Brittany and served with puff-pastry.


Feuilleté d'Asperges, Sauce Mousseline

Puff pastry with asparagus served with a Sauce Mousseline

The simplest sauce mousseline is a Sauce Hollandaise  with whipped cream added, sometimes with more cream on the top as  a decoration. The name comes from the material muslin through which many of the earliest recipes were sieved and today mousselines cover many recipes and indicate sauces that   are very light or have been finely sieved.

Photograph courtesy of Meilleur de Chef


Feuilleté  de Saumon à l’Oseille - A puff-pastry covering of salmon cooked with sorrel. (Sorrel is also called Garden Sorrel, Common Sorrel or Dock). Sorrel leaves may be picked in the wild, and the smaller, young leaves make excellent salad greens, and they are rich in vitamin C. Nevertheless, the sorrel on your menu will probably have come from a farm, it costs less. Sorrel may be cooked like spinach or made into a soup, and many fish dishes will be flavored with sorrel.  Among the soups made with sorrel, the most famous is Potage Germany

Feuillantine  or En Feuillantine 

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'Ail  –  Snails and mushrooms cooked in a puff-pastry covering and served with a cream of garlic sauce. 



Feuillantine Comtoise

A dish of puff pastry surrounding  jambon (cured ham), Comté cheese, and Sauce Béchamel. Most dishes with Comtoise in their name come from the Franche-Comte (including the Territoire de Belfort) that is since 1-1-2016 became part of the region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté.

Photograph courtesy of Chef Simon


Feuillantine de Homard et Noix de Saint Jacques, Sauce Crustacés - Meat from the two-clawed lobster and the meat from the king scallop cooked in a puff-pastry casing and served with a sauce made from other crustaceans.


Pate levée feuilletée 

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 than other puff pastry doughs. The best croissants are close to 40%  butter by weight.


Photograph courtesy of Victoria Vasilieva


Millefeuille or Mille-feuille 
Millefeuille means a thousand leaves. The term describes thin leaves of pastry dividing cream or other fillings. Thin leaves of vegetables of fruit may replace the pastry.

Pâte Feuilletée, leafy puff pastry,  is also used to make millefeuilles. Millefeuille or Mille-feuilles are interleaved layers of pâte feuilletée filled with sweet or 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
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 – millefeuille of thin slices of celery seperating thin slices of the Jerusalem artichoke.                  


 Millefeuille de Légumes de Saison  A garnish of seasonal fresh vegetables cooked and interleaved with another vegetable; this dish has no pastry.


Apricot and pistachio millefeuille
Photograph courtesy of Gordon Joly


Millefeuille de Saumon Fumé et Crème de Raifort – A millefeuille of smoked salmon interleaved with a cream of horseradish sauce.

Avocado Millefeuille with Bitter Orange Coulis.
A coulis is a purée of raw or cooked vegetables or fruit used in the kitchen to make a sauce or prepare a soup like a bisque. A traditional coulis on a menu listing may also be served as a sauce with an appetizer,  main course or dessert such as a raspberry or orange coulis
Photograph courtesy of Amy Ross

Bryan G. Newman 
Behind the French Menu
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