Vegan Napoleon Dessert Recipe (2024)

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Easy vegan Napoleon dessert or custard puff pastry made with rich coconut and cashew milk, vanilla extract and thickened with cornstarch or tapioca. Dairy-free and naturally sweetened with maple syrup.

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Vegan Napoleon Dessert

I meant to post this dairy-free custard dessert last Christmas but it clearly didn’t make it to the blog on time, so now you have it ready for Valentine’s and Easter with plenty of Tim etc do a practice run ahead. Let’s do this!

“Mille Feuille” also known as a “Napoleon” a classic Neapolitan pastry dessert of ancient origins filled with a rich and thick vanilla custard orcrème pâtissière– pretty much a dessert sandwich!

Why is it called a Napoleon?

The dessert’s original name was a “napolitain or millefoglie” meaning a “thousand leaves” referring to the many flaky layers surrounding the custard. So a sweet treat in the style of Naples not France, yup that’s Napoli from Italy!

It is thanks to the French pastry chef Creme who made the dessert popular that France is taking credit for the Napoleons. Wowza for culinary history, right?!

How to Make Dairy Free Custard Cream Filling

  1. It’s as simple as whisking together some plant milk with cornstarch or tapioca and simmering until thick. Sweeten with maple syrup and infuse with some good vanilla extract for the best, most decadent plant-based custard.
  2. You can let it cool and enjoy it as a pudding topped with your favorite fruit or preserves, use it in a trifle, to fill a tart, a pie, a cake or to make some lovely Italian pastry desserts like yours truly.

Is Puff Pastry Vegan?

Believe it or not there is vegan puff pastry in the freezer section of your grocery store. Just make sure to check the ingredient list on the back of the box unless it is labeled as plant based or features the V symbol on the package already.

Can You Make Custard with Almond Milk?

Sure, you can replace all the plant mil in the recipe with almond, just know that the result won’t be quite as lusciously rich as it is with the higher fat content from coconut or cashew milk.

You’ll Love this Napoleon Dessert! It’s:


Super Easy to Make



Crisp & Creamy

Egg & Dairy Free

Sweet & Salty

Kind to the animals!

Fan Favorite Desserts

  • No Bake Vegan Cookies
  • Best Baklava
  • Lemon Olive Oil Cake
  • Vegan Pumpkin Pie
  • Chocolate Sheet Cake
  • Apple Pie Filling.

Vegan Napoleon Dessert Recipe (8)

4.89 from 9 votes

Vegan Napoleon Dessert

Easy vegan custard puff pastry Napoleon made with rich coconut and cashew milk, vanilla extract and thickened up with tapioca. Dairy-free and naturally sweetened with maple syrup.

Print Recipe

Prep Time:5 minutes mins

Cook Time:20 minutes mins

Defrosting Puff Pastry:35 minutes mins

Total Time:25 minutes mins


  • 1 cup cashew milk
  • 1 cup coconut milk (full fat)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract (or the seeds from 1 vanilla bean)
  • 5 tbsp cornstarch (or 4 tbsp tapioca)
  • 1/8 - 1/4 tsp turmeric (optional for color)
  • 1 sheet vegan puff pastry (9x9)
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar for dusting

US Customary - Metric


  • Defrost the puff pastry according to the instructions on the box, usually 30-40 minutes at room temperature.

  • Preheat your oven to 400”F.

  • Roll out the pastry sheet on a parchment lined cookie sheet, pierce with a fork and cut it in half lengthwise.

  • Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool.

Make the Custard:

  • In a medium sauce pan over medium flame whisk together the cashew and coconut milk, maple syrup and tapioca or cornstarch. Bring to a simmer and continue whisking for a good 5 to 10 minutes on medium-low flame until the custard has thickened. Whisk in the vanilla extract or seeds and allow to cool off. (If you wish to give your custard a more yellowish tone make sure to whisk in the turmeric as well. Start with 1/8 tsp and up to 1/4 tsp so you don't overdo it. It won’t affect the flavor just the color).

Assemble the Napoleons:

  • Carefully separate the top and bottom part of the puff pastry, it should easily come apart. Place the bottom parts in a small baking dish lined with parchment paper.

  • Spread the vanilla custard on top and cover with the top layer of puff pastry.

  • Refrigerate for 3-4 hours until set. Use a serrated knife and cut into 10 rectangles or 8 squares to your liking. Dust with powder sugar and serve!


  • If using turmeric make sure to start with a tiny pinch 1/8 teaspoon and work your way up to 1/4 teaspoon. The more turmeric the more golden your custard will be.
  • Some people don't like the texture of tapioca, if you are those people please use cornstarch instead.


Calories: 316kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 102mg | Potassium: 126mg | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1.8mg

Course: Dessert

Cuisine: Italian

Keyword: Vegan Custard, vegan recipes

Servings: 8 people

Calories: 316kcal

Author: Florentina

Vegan Desserts:

Vegan Napoleon Dessert Recipe (2024)


What is the difference between a Napoleon dessert and a mille-feuille? ›

Mille-feuille is very similar to the Italian dessert, Napoleon. The main difference between the two desserts is that a Napoleon is layered with almond paste instead of cream. A traditional mille-feuille will consist of three layers of puff pastry alternated with two layers of pastry cream.

What is a Napoleon dessert made from? ›

A mille-feuille (French pronunciation: [mil fœj], "thousand-sheets"), also known by the names Napoleon in North America, vanilla slice in the United Kingdom, and custard slice, is a French dessert made of puff pastry layered with pastry cream. Its modern form was influenced by improvements made by Marie-Antoine Carême.

What is the difference between mille-feuille and millefoglie? ›

Millefoglie – a thousand leaves – is better known in Australia perhaps by its French name, Millefeuille. As you can see in the photo, a Millefoglie is a magnificent and very fancy looking cake (a grand- finale- dessert), made with layers (or leaves) of thin and airy, flaky pastry.

What is the origin of the Napoleon cake? ›

Napoleon pastry, also known as mille-feuille, is a classic French dessert that has been enjoyed for hundreds of years. Although its origins are somewhat disputed, its name is derived from Napoleon Bonaparte, who was said to have enjoyed the pastry during his reign as Emperor of France.

Is Napoleon cake Russian or French? ›

Standing tall with at least eight tiers (and sometimes more than 20) of alternating layers of pastry and custard, the Napoleon cake has become a national Russian dish, inspired by the French mille-feuille.

Why is the dessert called Napoleon? ›

3) The pastry was first created by an Italian chef in Naples who named it "napoletano" after his city, and the name was later corrupted to "napoleon" in English.

What is a mille-feuille in English? ›

Translated to English, millefeuille (pronounced meel-foy) means one thousand sheets, layers, or leaves.

What country is Napoleon dessert from? ›

Why is it called Budapest cake? ›

Ingvar Strid was a pastry chef from Sweden created this pastry. Then why was it named the Budapest Cake? They say it is because of his love of travelling and how much he admired Budapest so he decided to name his creation after his favorite city. The trademark of Budapest Cake is the batter, topping and filling.

What is the difference between a vanilla slice and a mille-feuille? ›

A vanilla slice is usually a very thick slab of custard sandwiched between two thin puff sheets. A mille feuille is more decorative, could have multiple custard (or diplomat cream) layers and looks very sophisticated. It is one of the simplest things you can make with a puff sheet, yet looks so elegant!

Is Napoleon French or Italian? ›

Napoleon was born on the island of Corsica into a family descended from Italian nobility. He was resentful of the French monarchy, and supported the French Revolution in 1789 while serving in the French army, trying to spread its ideals to his native Corsica.

What is a Nanalan cake? ›

Picture this: soft layers of sponge cake infused with fragrant flavors, sandwiched between velvety buttercream, all topped with delicate decorations that tell a story of tradition and family heritage. Welcome to the world of Nanalan Cakes, where every bite is a celebration of generations past and present.

What food is named for Napoleon? ›

Napoleon Brandy – a sort of brandy named for Napoleon Bonaparte. Bigarreau Napoleon cherry – unlike the pastry, the French cherry was most likely named after Napoleon Bonaparte, his son Napoleon II, or his nephew Napoleon III.

Does mille feuille mean a thousand leaves? ›

Mille-Feuille means “a thousand leaves.” This French dessert is a delicate tower of crisp puff pasty and luscious pastry cream.

What are the characteristics of a mille feuille? ›

A French classic, the mille feuille's irresistible flavours of butter, vanilla and caramel come from the paper-thin puff pastry and lush custard. The two components merge into one organically, while a handful of almond flakes offer additional crunch to the ensemble.

What is the difference between a custard slice and a mille feuille? ›

The difference between a custard slice and a Napoleon or mille feuille is the lack of a middle slab of puff pastry. (The latter two can also be made with alternate fillings, but custard or pastry cream are traditional options.)

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