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Monday, June 6, 2011

Mille-feuilles de Crêpes Cake

When I was in France, I made my first cake from scratch and a dirt cake for my daughter's third birthday. This year, she wanted me to make her another cake and requested one made out of crêpes.  She asked that strawberries and Nutella be included, and as I started to conceptualize this strange request, I finally settled on a milles-feuilles de crêpes cake.  Oh, and did I mention that this year my daughter turned five?  I'm a little scared to see what she'll request for her Sweet Sixteen.

This was challenging for me because I don't often work without a recipe, and because I didn't have any time to make any practice versions, the first attempt was her actual birthday cake.  It was time consuming, but it's easily done in stages.  First I made the crêpes--I made mine the night before and just stuck them in the fridge covered in plastic wrap.  Then when I was ready to assemble the cake, it just took a little time and patience.  I found that it was important to keep the filling layers thin because the crêpes have a tendency to slide around.  I only wish I had had a very sharp knife.  We were renting a house at the beach with dull knives, and the result was a messy cake.  Regardless, it was delicious!  Any filling would do--whipped cream, pastry cream, Nutella, preserves, fresh fruit (if smashed a little to keep the layer even) or another filling of your choice.

I covered mine in whipped cream because it looked slightly ugly without something on top, but I've seen pictures of very beautiful mille-feuilles de crêpes cakes just dusted with powdered sugar.  Go with your instincts on this one.  :-)  It turns into a crêpe heaven with oozing, gooey layers that can be eaten with a fork, but I recommend eating like a five year old...with your hands.

We hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

Mille-feuilles de Crêpes Cake

2 cups flour
2 pinches salt
4 eggs
2 1/2 cups milk (I used whole, but you can use whatever you'd like.)
2 Tbl butter, melted and cooled
2 tsp vanilla
4 Tbl sugar

1 small jar of Nutella
1 jar Bonne Maman Strawberry Preserves

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbl sugar
1 bar of dark chocolate
Strawberries, sliced

To make the crêpes: Place all of the ingredients in a blender (liquids first) and blend until smooth.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to a day. 

When the batter is ready, heat a small frying pan (I use an 8-inch omelet pan.) over medium-high heat.  If your pan is not completely non-stick, place a tiny bit of butter in the pan.  Once it's melted, pick up the pan and quickly pour in 1/4 cup of batter, swirling the pan with your wrist to spread the batter evenly.  If you have a whole or two, dot them with a little more batter.  Place back on the burner and cook for about 30-90 seconds.  Using a small spatula, release the edges of the crêpe from the pan while it's cooking.  Once the bottom is starting to brown slightly, use your fingers (or as I prefer, one tiny and one larger spatula) to lift the crêpe gently and flip.  Plan on using the first couple of crêpes as test crêpes--my first one never turns out right! 

Once the second side starts to brown slightly, remove from the pan to a plate covered in wax paper.  Repeat the steps above until the batter is gone.  You can layer the crêpes without anything between them.  Once cooled, you can cover them with plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator for up to two days or place in an airtight container in the freezer for up to a month.

To make topping: Pour very cold cream into a deep bowl.  Add the vanilla and sugar and beat with a hand-mixer until medium-stiff peaks form.

To make the cake:  Place a crêpe on your serving platter.  Spread a light layer of Nutella over the crêpe.  Add another crêpe and spread a light layer of strawberry preserves.  Continue until your desired height or until you run out of crêpes.  I used about 20.  If you are planning on serving right away, frost the cake with the whipped cream, shave chocolate over it and top with strawberries.  If you will be serving the cake later, cover and place in the refrigerator.  If using preserves, some of the "juices" will leak out.  When you're ready to serve, just wipe up the plate with paper towels and then decorate the cake.

Cut with a very large, sharp knife.  Enjoy!
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Georgie June 7, 2011 at 9:06 AM  

Absolutely incredibly scrumptious!

Amy Camenisch, RD, LD June 7, 2011 at 1:06 PM  

I LOVE this idea! (The best part is that your five-year-old daughter requested it!) I will definitely try to make this.

Culinary School: Three Semesters of Life, Learning, and Loss of Blood June 7, 2011 at 4:10 PM  

When I was a culinary school student (I wrote about it here, if you're interested: "Culinary School: Three Semesters of Life, Learning, and Loss of Blood" http://amzn.to/eOKJWw - on Amazon Kindle) I had a chef who said the ideal crepe was so thin it was only two dimensional!

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