I have to say Mille Crepe Cake is my kids' top favourite cake. I can't exactly remember when I started making this desert but it was somewhere in 2009 after I purchased my first ever Flavours Magazine where the recipe was hidden inside. I have totally lost count as to how many times I have made this cake, but all I can remember is whenever I announce that I am going to make one, my son will be prancing and jumping around in glee.
Well, Mille Crepe Cake is made famous in Malacca by Nadeje Cake House which specializes in (of course) crepe cakes. Established in 2006, this cake house has been flourishing steadily and has indeed been an iconic desert house in Malacca, so much so crepe cake is already synonymous to the name of its restaurant. Local tourists when visit Malacca will very likely put Nadeje and Crepe Cake as their must-visit place and must-eat food on their itinerary. Some even go on to say that no trip to Malacca will be complete if one does not visit Nadeje or eat crepe cake, just as no trip to Malacca is complete if one does not visit the Stadhuys or eat the Melaka Satay Celup or the Chicken Rice Ball. So, there it is, the influence of crepe cake in Malacca.
By the way, I made this cake last Sunday when my mother-in-law and two sisters-in-law together with their children gathered at my house to celebrate Mid Autumn Festival or some called it Mooncake Festival. Ironically, there was no mooncake served but crepe cake. I know that the children love eating crepe cake, so I thought it would be a good idea to pamper them with this indulgence while they fiddle with their paper lanterns. Anyway, everyone was engrossed enjoying the cake that none of them including the adults noticed the absence of the mooncake. So, this proves to say that my crepe cake ruled the night! Ha ha!
Well, joke aside, making crepe cake is another laborious work. For the first timers, the task can be really time-consuming and daunting although there's no baking involved. It can easily eat half of your day away. The steps include:
1. Making the crepe batter
2. Making the pastry cream
3. Making the crepe sheets. This is really tough. It usually takes me 1 1/4 hours to make 20pcs
4. Assembling all the above
Generally, I am acceptably happy with the taste of the cake. It's rich in flavour. To some who don't take milk, the taste of milk can be a little overpowering. The cake also gives out a very nice pleasing milky scent. But two things that I am still struggling to achieve are:
1. The thickness of crepe sheets. All I want is the paper-thin type, just like what Nadeje produces.
2. The pastry cream. Mine does not look sturdy in that it does not hold and support the crepe sheets
well. It will just melt, collapse and become runny. I hope somebody can shed some light here!
Is there anything that I should add or any other cream I should substitute it with?
So, here's the recipe I have been using:
(I adapted it from Cream Puffs In Venice)
A) The Crepe Batter (makes 20 pcs of crepes)
6 tablespoons butter
3 cups milk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
7 tbsp. sugar
The day before serving the cake, make the crepe batter and the pastry cream. For the batter, cook the butter in a small pan until brown like hazelnuts. Set aside. In another small pan, heat the milk until steaming; allow to cool for 10 minutes. In a mixer on medium-low speed, beat together the eggs, flour, sugar and salt. Slowly add the hot milk and browned butter. Pour into a container with a spout, cover and refrigerate overnight.
To make the crepes, bring the batter to room temperature. Place a nonstick or seasoned 9-inch crepe pan over medium heat. Swab the surface with the oil, then add about 3 tablespoons batter and swirl to cover the surface. Cook until the bottom just begins to brown, about 1 minute, then carefully lift an edge and flip the crepe with your fingers. Cook on the other side for no longer than 5 seconds. Flip the crepe onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Repeat until you have 20 perfect crepes.
B)The Vanilla Cream Pastry:
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
3 1/2 tbsp. butter
Bring the milk to a boil. Turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract then set aside for 10 minutes. Fill a large bowl with ice and set aside a small bowl that can hold the finished pastry cream and be placed in this ice bath.
In a medium heavy-bottomed pan, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch. Gradually whisk in the hot milk, then place pan over high heat and bring to a boil, whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes. Press the pastry cream through a fine-meshed sieve into the small bowl. Set the bowl in the ice bath and stir until the temperature reaches 140 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Stir in the butter. When completely cool, cover and refrigerate.
C) To assemble:
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons Kirsch
icing sugar (optional)
Whip the heavy cream with the tablespoon sugar and the Kirsch. It won’t hold stiff peaks but that’s okay. Fold it into the pastry cream.
Lay 1 crepe on a cake plate. Using an icing spatula, completely cover with a thin layer of pastry cream (about 1/4 cup). Cover with a crepe and repeat to make a stack of 20, with the best-looking crepe on top. Chill for at least 2 hours. Set out for 30 minutes before serving. If you have a blowtorch for creme brulee, sprinkle the top crepe with 2 tablespoons sugar and caramelize with the torch; otherwise, dust with confectioners’ sugar. Slice like a cake.
Must try yah!