The mille-feuille (French pronunciation: ?[mil f?j], "thousand sheets"),[1] vanilla slice, custard slice, also known as the Napoleon, is a pastry of French origin. Traditionally, a mille-feuille is made up of three layers of puff pastry (pate feuilletee), alternating with two layers of pastry cream (creme patissiere), but sometimes whipped cream, or jam are substituted. The top pastry layer is dusted with confectioner's sugar, and sometimes cocoa, or pulverized seeds (e.g. roasted almonds). Alternatively the top is glazed with icing or fondant in alternating white (icing) and brown (chocolate) stripes, and combed.The exact origin of the mille-feuille is unknown. Francois Pierre La Varenne described a version in Le Cuisinier francois, 1651.[citation needed] It was later improved by Marie-Antoine Careme. Careme, writing in the early 19th century, considered it of "ancient origin". [edit]Composition Traditionally, a mille-feuille is made up of three layers of puff pastry, and two layers of creme patissiere. The top layer is coated with a sprinkling of powdered sugar.[2] In later variations, the top is glazed with icing, in alternating white (icing) and brown (chocolate) strips, and then combed. Today, there are also savory mille-feuille, with cheese and spinach or other savory fillings. [edit]Variant names and forms A mille-feuille pastry (Japan) A Napoleon pastry (Hong Kong) According to La Varenne, it was earlier called gateau de mille-feuilles (English: cake of a thousand sheets), referring to the many layers of pastry. Using traditional puff pastry, made with six folds of three layers, it has 729 layers; with some modern recipes it may have as many as 2,048.[3] The variant name of Napoleon 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. The Larousse Gastronomique does not mention the Napoleon, although a gateau napolitain is listed, with a note that while the cake itself is not often seen, small biscuits known as fonds napolitains are still made, decorated with butter cream or conserves.[4] There is no evidence to connect the pastry to the emperor himself. In France, a Napoleon is a mille-feuille filled with almond flavoured paste. The authentic Australian Napoleon slice has pastry on the bottom, a layer of strawberry jam, a layer of sponge cake about 3 cm thick, another layer of jam, a layer of cream topped by a layer of puff pastry and spread with vanilla icing.[citation needed] In Italy, 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. Another important distinction of the Italian variety is that it often consists of a layer of puf pastry with layers of sponge cake as well (e.g. from bottom to top, puff pastry, sponge cake strawberries and cream and then puff pastry). In the United Kingdom, the cake is most often called a "vanilla slice" or a "cream slice", but can, on occasion, be named "mille-feuille" or "Napoleon" on branded products. In Canada, mille-feuille is more commonly named 'gateaux Napoleon,' or 'Napoleon Slice,' (in English Canada) due to the country's long French history. It is sold either with custard, whipped cream, or both, between three layers of puff pastry. Almond paste is the most common flavoured variety. There is a French Canadian way where the mille-feuille is done with graham crackers instead of puff pastry, and where pudding replaces the custard layer. In South Africa and Zimbabwe, it is called a "custard slice". 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. In Denmark and Norway, it is simply called Napoleon-cake.[5] In the German speaking part of Switzerland and also in Austria it is called "Cremeschnitte". In Hungary it is called "Kremes". Its version "francia kremes" (French Napoleon) is topped with whipped cream and caramel. In Belgium and the Netherlands, the tompouce or tompoes is the equivalent pastry. 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 (always two layers of pastry, nearly always pink glazing, but orange around national festivities). In the Spanish milhojas, the puff pastry is thin and crunchy. They are often far deeper than solely of three layers of the pastry, and reach up to .5 feet (0.15 m) tall. In Hong Kong, the ? (Napoleon pastry) is layered with buttercream, chiffon cake and, occasionally, walnuts. In Iran, the pastry is called " " (Shirini-e Napel'oni, literally "Napoleonic Sweet Pastry") after Napoleon Bonaparte. It consists of thin puff pastry and often topped with powdered sugar. In Chile milhojas, various layers of puff pastry are layered with dulce de leche and confectioner sugar on top. In Poland, the local variant of the pastry is called kremowka, or napoleonka. They consist of two layers of pastry, between which is thick cream. The whole pastry is then covered with powdered sugar. In Slovenia, the local variety of the pastry is called kremna rezina. In Greece, the pastry is called "?", which is the transcription of the word mille-feuille using Greek letters. The filling between the layers is cream whereas Chantilly cream is used at the top of the pastry. In Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, it is consumed regularly. It is called "mille-feuille" also.