Saturday, 12 July 2014

Mille Crêpes Cake

Mille in French means 'thousand', so a Mille Crêpes Cake will translate to 'thousand crêpes cake'. This beautiful and elegant classic french cake makes a perfect dessert when you want something unique yet uncomplicated.

For my husband's birthday, I've made him a Mille Crêpes Cake. The multiple, delicate layers of crêpes, each separated by a brush of the luscious cream paired off beautifully and every mouthful is like symphony in your mouth!

I've prepared most of the work ahead of time as THE DAY will be a fun-filled day spent most of the time outside. When home, it will be time to indulge in this beautiful cake...

Bringing the batter to room temperature after in the fridge overnight

Cooking the crepe with a non-stick pan makes the hard work easier

Crepes done. It's easy but tedious.

Layering the crepe with the cream

Putting this 20 layers of crepes into the fridge to set
Presenting the cake to dear hubby

Gorgeous, don't you think?

Mille Crêpes Cake
recipe adapted from A Baked Creation (I've made some notes in red)
makes about a 8" cake

For the Crêpe Batter
6 tbspn butter
3 cups milk
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour (I increased to 300g flour as I find the batter a little watery)
7 tbspn sugar
A pinch salt

For the Pastry Cream
2 cups milk
1 vanilla bean, halved and scraped (I used 2 tsp vanilla extract)
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar (I reduced to 1/4 cup sugar)
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
3 1/2 tbspn butter

For the assembly, this was adapted from the original article
Vegetable oil
2 cups heavy cream
2 tbspn sugar or more
(I topped with raspberries for the decoration. Can also add a sprinkle of confectioners sugar but I omitted.)

1. Make the crêpe batter and the pastry cream the day before. (If not making the crêpe batter the day before, leave the batter to stand for at least 1 hour in the fridge. This will allow the bubbles to subside so that the crêpes will be less likely to tear during cooking.)

Crêpe batter:
2. In a small pan, cook the butter until brown. Set it aside.

3. In a small pot, heat the milk until it starts steaming and then set it aside to cool for 10 minutes.

4. On medium-low speed with your mixer, beat together the eggs, flour, sugar, and salt. Slowly add the hot milk and browned butter to the mixture.

5. Pour the batter into a container, cover and refrigerate overnight.
(Can also melt the butter and then blend with all other crêpe batter ingredients in a blender until smooth. Strain batter over a sieve if lumpy. Keep in a covered container and refrigerate overnight.) 

Pastry cream:
6. Flatten the vanilla bean and slice it open with a sharp knife. Peel the bean open and scrape the seeds out with the knife. In a small pot, bring the milk with the vanilla bean with scrapings to a boil, set it aside to cool for 10 minutes; remove bean. (I didn't use vanilla beans, so I only heat up the milk)

7. Fill a large bowl with cold water (or ice). Set aside. 

8. In a medium sized pan or small pot, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch together. Gradually whisk in the hot milk. Place the pan over high heat and bring it to a boil, whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes. (The mixture will thicken) 

9. Set the bowl in the ice bath or cold water and stir until the temperature reaches 140°F (60°C) on an instant-read thermometer. Stir in the butter. (I stir in the vanilla extract here together with the butter till the butter melts)

10. Cool, cover, and refrigerate. (I place a plastic wrap onto the surface of the pastry cream and keep covered in the fridge)

11. The next day, bring the batter and pastry cream to room temperature.

Making the Crêpe:
12. Place a nonstick 8-inch pan over medium heat. Swab the surface with the oil, then add about 2-3 tablespoons of batter and swirl to cover the surface.

13. Cook until the bottom just begins to brown, about 1 minute, then carefully lift an edge and flip the crêpe. Cook on the other side for no longer than 5-10 seconds.

14. Carefully flip the crêpe onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Repeat until you have 20 crêpes.

Final preparation of the pastry cream:
15. Use a mixer to whip the heavy cream with the sugar - it won't hold strong peaks. Fold it into the pastry cream.

16. To assemble, lay a crêpe on a plate. Pipe or use an icing spatula to completely cover the crêpe with a thin layer of pastry cream (about 1/4 cup). (The cream should be about the thickness of the crêpe. If you make the layer too thin, there won't be enough cream in the cake. If you make it too thick, the cake won't hold its shape when you go to cut it. There should be enough pastry cream, so don’t worry about running out, but don’t try to use it all.)

17. Cover the pastry cream layer with a crêpe and repeat to make a stack of 20, with the best-looking crêpe on top.

18. Chill for at least 2 hours. (I left it in the fridge overnight to allow the moisture from the pastry cream to redistribute into the crêpes)

19. Set it out for 30 minutes in room temperature before serving.

Additional Notes:
- It is easier with a heavy bottomed non-stick pan. The heavy bottom helps distribute the heat evenly, preventing the center from burning, and the non-stick coating will make cooking easier while cutting down on the oil needed.
- Temperature of the pan is very important. If the pan is too hot, the crêpe batter will be cooked before you have a chance to swirl it around. If it’s too cold, the crêpe will have a tendency to stick to the pan unless you are using a non-stick pan).
- Oil or butter the pan, then use a paper towel to wipe out extra oil/butter. The surface of the pan pan be slick but there should not be pools of oil/butter.
- To ensure that every crêpe is the same size and thickness, measure out the crêpe batter in a small liquid measuring cup and use the same amount every time.
- It's alright if you do not get 20 good looking crêpes. As long as you have 1 perfect crêpe (for the top) your cake will look gorgeuos!

Do link back to LY's Kitchen Ventures if you have used any information published in this blog.

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