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Saturday, February 14, 2015

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

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman
   Updated December 2017

Grapes and vine leaves.
Photograph courtesy of rachelgreenbelt.
A feuille is a leaf.
A feuilleté is a puff-pastry covering.
Puff pastry is thin leaves of pastry.
Feuillantine or en feuillantine means surrounded by puff-pastry.

Millefeuille or mille-feuille means a thousand leaves.

Pate levée feuilletée is the pastry dough used for croissants. 

On French menus, thin slices of pastry, often puff-pastry, and other products may, along with vegetables leaves be described as leaves.

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

A thin slice of bread served with an 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.
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 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 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. 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 Turkish.
Stuffed vine leaves.
 Photograph courtesy of kennejima
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 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
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 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 than other puff pastry doughs. A real French croissant is 40%  butter by weight.

Photograph courtesy of PowerRabbit.
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, 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 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, not puff-pastry.

           Strawberry Millefeuille.
A pastry millefeuille interleaved with cream and strawberries.
Photograph courtesy of mhuang
Millefeuille de Saumon Fumé et Crème de Raifort – A millefeuille of smoked salmon interleaved with a cream of horseradish sauce.

A pastry millefeuille interleaved with cream and then covered by a hot chocolate sauce.
Photograph courtesy of su-lin
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Turnips, (Navets) Parsnips (Panais) and Swedes (Chou-Navets or Rutabaga). Traditional Root Vegetables in Modern French Cuisine.
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Bryan G. Newman

Behind the French Menu
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