The Mille-feuille (French 'thousand sheets'), Napoleon (U.S.), vanilla slice, cream slice or custard slice (Commonwealth countries) is a pastry made of several layers of puff pastry alternating with a sweet filling, typically pastry cream, but sometimes whipped cream, or jam. It is usually glazed with icing or fondant in alternating white and brown (chocolate) strips, and combed. The name is also written as "millefeuille" and "mille feuille".

There are also savory mille-feuilles with cheese and spinach or other fillings.

Variant names and forms

In Italy, where the pastry is thought to have originated in Naples, it is called mille foglie and contains similar fillings. A savory Italian version consists of puff pastry filled with spinach, cheese or pesto, among other things.

In the Commonwealth (Quebec excepted), mille-feuille is known as ‘vanilla slice’ or ‘cream slice’, and usually has only a top and bottom pastry layer. The filling is often flavored with chocolate. In Australia, popular icings include vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, raspberry, and passion fruit. In New Zealand, it is usually called a ‘custard square.’

A variation popular in England is the Bavarian Slice which has a layer of raspberry or strawberry jam and rippled icing, although there is no evidence that this is a traditional Bavarian dish.

In Australia, there are varying forms of this pastry. Balfours, claiming to be Australia's largest bakery, produce their own form of Napoleon Cake which is multi layered and contains icing, pastry, cream, jam and sponge cake. This differs from the more widely known vanilla slice which is composed of icing, pastry and custard.

In Melbourne, Australia, The Age, one of Melbournes top newspapers, recognised The French Lettuce for having the best Vanilla Slice in Melbourne.

In Sweden as well as in Finland the Napoleonbakelse (Napoleon pastry) is a mille-feuille filled with whipped cream, custard, and jam. The top of the pastry is glazed with icing and currant jelly.

The Netherlands and Belgium eat the tompoes or tompouce. Several variations exist in Belgium, but in the Netherlands, it is iconic and the market allows preciously little variation in form, size, ingredients and colour. See tompouce.


The origin of the mille-feuille is unknown. The Hungarian city of Szeged may have something to do with its origins. Carême (writing at the end of the 18th century) considered it of 'ancient origin'. It was earlier called "gâteau de mille-feuilles" 'cake of a thousand leaves'.

Origin of the name 'Napoleon'

The name appears to come from napolitain, the French adjective for the Italian city of Naples, but altered by association with the name of Emperor Napoleon I of France. There is no evidence to connect the pastry to the emperor himself.

In France, a Napoléon is a kind of mille-feuille filled with almond paste.


An annual competition for the best vanilla slice baker is the Great Australian Vanilla Slice Triumph held in Ouyen in western Victoria (Australia). Judging criteria include "when tasted, should reveal a custard with a creamy smooth texture and a balance of vanilla taste with a crisp, crunchy pastry topped with a smooth and shiny glaze/fondant".

Popular culture

  • The time-travel card game Early American Chrononauts includes a tongue-in-cheek card called Napoleon's Napoleon which players can symbolically acquire from the year 1815.
  • On the cd label for the 1998 Sonic Youth album A Thousand Leaves the phrase "mille feuille" is crossed out and "a thousand leaves" is written under it.
  • Milfeulle Sakuraba is a character in the anime Galaxy Angel. She is highly skilled in cooking, but especially enjoys making pastries and other desserts.
  • In the Woody Allen film Love and Death, Napoleon berated his chefs for a pastry attempt at a Napoleon (they'd included raisins, among other things). Napoleon declared himself in competition with Wellington, who was "inventing" Beef Wellington.
  • In the Brian De Palma film Dressed To Kill, Angie Dickinson's character explains to her son (played by Keith Gordon) the (apocryphal) origin of the Napoleon pastry's name--that Napoleon baked as a hobby when he wasn't fighting and named the pastry he invented after himself.
  • In the video game Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, the cake is the most expensive one when found in the hidden bakery of the City of Haze, at $1000 per single payment. It will reappear on sale once the player consumes it, but is also found again in another hidden bakery later on in 13th Street.
  • In the video game For the Frog the Bell Tolls, The Princess Tiramisu lives in the Mille-Feuille kingdom.
  • In the Korean drama My Lovely Sam Soon, the main character Kim Sam Soon makes a Mille-Feuille pastry with raspberries in Episode 8.

Alternative names

Names for the Napoleon pastry in other languages:

  • In Arabic "ميل فى" [mīlfī]
  • In Dutch "tompoes", (or En:Tompouce) and in Belgium, near the French-Dutch language boundary also "mille-feuille" pronounced as [me'fəj].
  • In New Zealand "Custard square"
  • In English (Australia) "Vanilla slice"
  • In English (Australian Slang) "Snot Block"
  • In English (U.K.) "Vanilla slice" or "Cream slice"
  • In English (U.S.) "Napoleon"
  • In Estonian "Napoleoni kook" or "napoleonikook" ('Napoleon's cake')
  • In Filipino "Napoleones" is a similar pastry made in the western Visayas region of the country
  • In French "Mille-feuille" ('Thousand sheets')
  • In German "Cremeschnitte" ('cream slice'); the dough is "Blätterteig" ('sheet dough'); also "Napoleonschnitte"
  • In Hebrew "קרם שניט" [kremʃnitte]
  • In Hungarian "Francia krémes"
  • In Italian "Millefoglie" ('Thousand sheets')
  • In Japanese "ミルフィーユ" [mirɯfījɯ]
  • In Norwegian "Napoleonskake" ('Napoleon's cake')
  • In Polish "Napoleonka"
  • In Portuguese "Mil-folhas" ('Thousand-sheets')
  • In Russian "Наполеон" ('Napoleon').
  • In Spanish "Milhojas"
  • In Swedish "Napoleonbakelse" ('Napoleon pastry')
  • In Turkish "Milföy"

See also



Search another word or see mille-feuilleon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature