Mille-feuille is decidedly one of the most decadent French desserts out there.
Literally translated to “thousand leaves,” mille-feuille is layers upon layers of sweet, rich cream and ultra-thin pastry topped with a dusting of powdered sugar. Eating a slice of mille-feuille is pretty much pure indulgence.
Mille-feuille first appeared in French cuisine in the 1650’s when one of the first influential French cooks, François Pierre La Varenne, wrote the book “Le Cuisinier François,“ which started France’s tradition of haute cuisine gourmet cooking. A couple of centuries later, in the 1800’s, celebrity chef Marie Antoine Carême revolutionized French desserts which he made for France’s high society, including Napoleon himself. Since then, mille-feuille has been made and re-made thousands of times by French chefs, and is a staple of French desserts.
The thing is, mille-feuille looks like a really simple dessert. It’s just thick cream in between layers of puff pastry stacked on top of each other. But when it comes to making it, mille-feuille takes precision and skill, otherwise you end up with a sloppy pile of cream.
So, in case you’re craving mille-feuille, but don’t have the skills of a French pastry chef, here are some of the best places to get mille-feuille in New York City:
552 Laguardia Place
This cafe is named after mille-feuille, so obviously it has some of the best in the city. It’s perfectly flaky and the cream is light and fluffy. They also make praline flavored mille-feuille, as well as teaching classes on how to make it.
398 W Broadway
Ladurée knows how to do dessert. And while their mille-feuille is a bit more pricey than other places, it’s definitely worth the splurge. Treat. Yo. Self.
55 Spring Street
This is the French bakery that New York’s French people go to. They have amazing pastries, and their mille-feuille is delicious, if a little heavy on the cream.
3 Columbus Circle
The mille-feuille at François Payard seems to come with extra layers of pastry, and the cream is beautifully scalloped around the edges. It’s exquisite.
189 Spring Street
French chef Dominique Ansel may be famous for making cronuts, but one time he made a leaning tower of mille-feuille, showing he’s well-versed and creative in all types of desserts.