This is my third Pierre Herme recipe I've tried. I've made Pierre's chocolate eclairs, chocolate meringue cake and now a mille feuille crêpes cake. I've fallen in love with his recipes and perhaps I will buy his book soon. Mille feuille means a thousand layers in French. The recipe isn't difficult to make, except for the crêpes, which I'm just not good at doing. And this is the part that will also test your patience, as it takes a while to make each crêpe (and you have to make a lot of them!). But the end result is worth it! Here is the recipe:
Mille Feuille Crêpes Cake recipe: Batter adapted from "Joy of Cooking", pastry cream adapted from "Desserts" by Pierre Herme.
Ingredients for crêpes batter:
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 3 cups milk
- 6 eggs
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 7 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
Ingredients for vanilla pastry cream:
- 2 cups milk
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 6 egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar
- 1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
- 3 ½ tablespoons butter
Ingredients for assembling cake:
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons Kirsch (I omitted this)
- Confectioners' sugar, optional
Instructions for crêpes batter:
- The day before serving the cake, make the crêpes batter and the pastry cream.
- Cook the butter in a small pan until it is brown like hazelnuts.
- In a large pan, heat the milk until steaming. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- With 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 contair with a spout, cover and refrigerate overnight. Bring batter to room temperature.
- Place a nonstick or seasoned 9-inch crêpe pan over medium heat and cover the surface with oil. Add 3 tablespoons batter and swirl to cover the surface. Cook until the bottom just begins to brown, about 1 minute. (you need to peek constantly, do this with a rubber spatula) Then carefully lift an edge and flip the crêpe with your fingers. (the crêpes are super hot, so cover your fingertops, or just your thumbs, with a band aid) Cook on the other side for 5 seconds. Flip the crêpe onto a flat surface. Repeat until you have 20 perfect crêpes. (I got about 17 crêpes)
Instructions for vanilla pastry cream:
- Bring the milk to a boil. Turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla, 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 the pan over high heat and bring to 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 a thermometer. Stir in the butter. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Instructions for assembling cake:
- Whip the heavy cream with the sugar and Kirsch. Fold a quarter of the whipped cream into the pastry cream, then the rest.
- Lay 1 crêpe on a cake plate. Using an a rubber or icing spatula, cover with a layer of pastry cream. Repeat until you've used all of the crêpes. Lay the best-looking crêpe on top.
- Chill for 2 hours. Dust with sifted confectionars' sugar. When ready to serve, slice it like a cake.