In this post, I’ll tell you all about paillete feuilletine.
What it is, how it is made, uses for it, and maybe most importantly, where and when not to use it.
Stick with me, and I’ll even show you a video of a professional feuilletine maker doing his thing as well as my own video in which I tried several different methods of making it before figuring it out. Had I just found the first video before all my trials, I could have saved a lot of time!
What Is Feuilletine?
Usually only seen in the professional kitchen, paillete feuilletine (foo-ye-teen, more-or-less, from the French “feuille,” meaning “leaves”) tastes like crispy, thin little shards of sugar cone. You can mix it into mousses to add some crunch.
Feuilletine is made of crushed crêpes Dentelle.
I had never heard of crêpe Dentelles before until someone emailed to ask me if I could make a video to show how to make it. So, I did some research, made a few errors–which are on the video–and finally came up with a reasonable facsimile of Crepes Dentelles.
You can watch the video to see all my attempts and eventual success.
Why Is It Called Pailleté Feuilletine?
Paillete means “broken into pieces,” so paillete feuilletine is just a more descriptive term that lets you know they’re talking about tiny, lacy shards of crepe dentelles.
Much like the Yiddish word “farfel” means “broken pieces” (see Matzo Farfel Kugel where broken pieces of matzo take the place of noodles for Passover), paillete just means little pieces of feuilletine, or crepes dentelle. Or more literally “tiny pieces of leaves.”
How to Make Crepes Dentelle
In this video, I try several ways of making crepes Dentelle before finally seizing on the idea of using a looser batter in the middle of the night. You’ll see all my tries including the winning try at the end.
The crepes are extremely delicate, so I figure some enterprising Crêpe Dentelle maker decided to create a product utilizing broken, crispy crepes, and paillete feuilletine was born.
To get the recipe I settled on, please see my post on making crepes dentelle.
Make them and crush them to make your own feuilletine.
Here is a video that shows how real crepe dentelle are made. Of course, if I had seen this before I went blindly muddling around, it would have saved me a ton of trouble!
Spoiler: the secret is using a really thin batter, which makes total sense.
What Can I Use Feuilletine For?
- Mix into ganache and use for truffle centers.
- Sprinkle it onto (not wet or water-based) cake fillings between the layers.
- One of the keenest (?) uses is to mix it into tempered chocolate to just barely coat it, spread it out thinly on silpat, let cool, then break up and use like crispy chocolate tuiles. Oh, my.
What Can I Substitute for It?
Believe it or not, cornflakes will give you that crispity crunchety that feuilletine gives with no more effort than running out to the store (or maybe reaching up into your cupboard).
I use crushed cornflakes to add crispy crunch to my homemade butterfinger recipe.
You can also crush sugar cones (not cake cones), which will give you a very similar flavor but more of a *crunch* rather than a *crisp* when you bite into it. Still, it’s worth experimenting with, for sure.
Can I Mix Feuilletine Into Ice Cream?
No. Think of feuilletine as cereal.
What happens to cereal when you put it in milk or other liquid? It gets soggy. Ew.
You can add it at the very last second to add some crunch right before serving, but you can’t mix it into your ice cream base and expect it to stay crispy.
Feuilletine is made to stay crispy in fat-based ingredients, namely chocolate and nut butters and praline paste. So keep feuilletine flakes away from watery type liquids, which includes milk, cream, ice cream base, cake batter, etc.
Mix it into a chocolate layer for a crispy crunch. Not ganache, because that contains too much liquid from the cream.
Mix it into melted coating chocolate or tempered chocolate and it will stay crispy.
I Don’t Want to Mess with Making Feuilletine. Where Can I Buy It?
Here are some buying options for you (affiliate links): You can purchase feuilletine in three different sizes from Amazon:
If you're new to feuilletine, it's crushed up Crepe Dentelle cookies. They add a little crunch to fat-based mixtures such as pure chocolate. They'll get soggy if you add them to a water-based mixture, but you can add them to streusel or top some ice cream at the last minute. This smaller amount, about 3 cups' worth, should be more than enough to get you started. Store in a cool, dry place, and add a few desiccant packs to make sure it stays crispy.
The Feuillantine brand is made in France. It has a fairly fine texture, and it comes with the feuilletine in a large plastic bag inside a sturdy cardboard box. Store in a cool, dry place, and once open, it should keep for 2-3 months at least. Toss some desiccant packs in the bag to make sure it's ready to go when you are.
For people who really go through feuilletine, like small-ish bakeries, this is the size we used to buy at the restaurant. The flakes are a bit larger than the Feuillantine brand's are. The Cocoa Barry is often in high demand, so check the link. It is sometimes out of stock.
Or, purchase crepes dentelles and either snack on them or crush them yourself. Buy in lots of 1, 2, or 3 boxes
And there you have it, a paillete feuilletine primer giving you the power to make it or buy it, whichever you wish.
Thanks so much for spending some time here today. Take care, and have a lovely day.
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