Chestnut Mille Crêpes

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If you like this recipe take a minute to vote for me in the Bon Appétit Blog Envy Bake-Off. Cast your vote here. Thank you so much!

Let me start-off with a big lie. Mille Crêpes means“a thousand crêpes” in French. Hmm.. I used fifteen mayyybe sixteen crêpes. Can we just keep it a secret? Anyway, did anyone ever bothered to count the legs on a centipede (Mille-Pattes)? Or the puff pastry layers on a Napoleon (Mille-Feuilles)? No! So until someone comes back to me with scientific evidence that a Mille-Pattes has in fact a thousand legs, this cake will remain a Mille Crêpes. Ok?!

No, i didn’t invent the Mille Crêpes. I don’t know who did but i had a version of it at Lady M in New York (which they sell for $45 for a 6′inch cake and $85 for a 9′inch!). You’d be correct to picture me with dollar bills in my eyes and a shiny lightbulb above my head right now. I say forget Mille Crêpes and let’s call it the moneymaker instead.

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This is one of these desserts that looks more complicated than it really is. If you have enough cooking skills to spread butter on a piece of toast, you can make this. I love fire, so i had to sprinkle sugar over the cake and ‘brûlée’ the top with a blowtorch to give it a nice caramelized finish. Like polish on a shoe. It’s optional but definitely a nice touch.

For the chestnut cream i cooked chestnuts in milk with sugar and vanilla and added a few tablespoons of sweetened chestnut paste to the mix and puree it to a nice creamy/spreadable consistency. After it cooled you can fold a small amount of whipped cream to the chestnut puree to lighten it up. Or you could eat it with your fingers right from the bowl. Don’t bother to make the crêpes in that case.

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The other nice touch was the orange caramel sauce. It complemented the rich chestnut with a little bit of zing. If you don’t know what a little bit of zing is.. sorry. I can’t help you. Vanilla ice cream works too but vanilla ice cream always works, doesn’t it?

Try it but under no conditions tell anyone this cake has any less than a thousand layers. Just do your best to look really tired when you serve it, as if you worked on it all night.

  • Chestnut Mille Crêpes

    • Serves 4
    • chestnut-mille-crepe-6

    • For the crêpes:
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1/2 cup lukewarm water or light beer
    • 4 large eggs
    • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
    • 3 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 pinch salt
    • 1 tablespoon Cointreau or Grand-Marnier
    • For the chestnut cream:
    • 16 ounces chestnuts (use bottled chestnuts)
    • 2 cups whole milk
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
    • 4 tablespoons sweetened chestnut puree (optional)
    • 1/2 heavy cream, whipped (optional)
    • For the orange caramel:
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 cup orange juice, strained

    chestnut-mille-crepe-7

    • For the crêpes:
    • Combine all the ingredients by hand or in the bowl of a blender. Mix until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (Preferably overnight, this allows the gluten in the flour a chance to relax.)
    • Place a 6-inch nonstick or seasoned crepe pan over medium heat. Using a paper towel, coat the pan with a little butter.
    • Pour about 2 tablespoons into the pan. Lift, tilt and rotate the pan so that the batter forms an even, very thin layer. Cook until golden. Turn the crepe over and cook a little longer. Remove the crepe to a piece of wax paper. Continue cooking the rest of the crepes.
  • For the chestnut cream:
  • Combine the chestnuts, the milk, the sugar and the vanilla in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook over medium high heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and puree the mixture in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Add the sweetened chestnut paste if using and process until smooth.
  • Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold. Fold the whipped cream into the mixture and reserve.
  • For the orange caramel:
  • Cook the sugar in a dry heavy saucepan over moderate heat, undisturbed, until it begins to melt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork, until sugar is melted into a deep golden caramel.
  • Tilt pan and carefully pour in juice (caramel will harden and steam vigorously). Cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until caramel is dissolved, then cool sauce.
  • To assemble the Mille Crêpes:
  • Lay 1 crêpe on a cake plate. Using an icing spatula, completely cover with a thin layer of chestnut cream. Cover with a crêpe and repeat to make a stack of 15 to 20.
  • Chill for at least 2 hours. Serve cold. If you have a blowtorch for crème brûlée, sprinkle the top crêpe with 2 tablespoons sugar and caramelize with the torch. Slice like a cake. Serve with orange caramel and vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!
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  • http://tokyoterrace.com Tokyo Terrace

    This is a beautiful dessert! I love the layers, and hey, it looks like a thousand layers so I’d say you named it correctly! Lovely seasonal creation and beautiful pics.

  • http://savorysweetlife.com alice

    I have never seen or eaten a layered crepe type cake before. Looks incredible and the recipe seems very doable. I’m going to do this soon!

  • Dani

    How elegant for the holidays! But, of course, I’ll have to do a trial run first :D

  • http://blog.lemonpi.net Y

    Wow, looks utterly delicious and so perfectly formed!

  • http://www.sassyradish.com radish

    i want to make this RIGHT now, except i have to get some work done. boo. this looks AMAZING! what if i roasted my own chestnuts? I have a whole bunch at home.

  • http://www.alittlebitofchristo.blogspot.com doggybloggy

    you are way too funny – and I am definitely dropping a dime on this whole “mille” fantasy the french have been pushing! And dropping a dime is such an old phrase since payphones hardly exist and they dont cost a dime!

  • http://misohungrynow.blogspot.com/2009/09/go-texan-chef-showdown-at-hyatt-sept.html Jennie

    That looks fantastic! I would love to make a boozed up version of that. I wonder how pecan praline liquor would caramelize on top of that. Playing with fire experiment in progress…..

  • http://www.clumbsycookie.blogspot.com clumbsycookie

    You’ll be surprised to know that the layers of the mille feilles were indeed counted. I have on my pastry notes from pastry school the number of layers acording to the turns. I memorized it at one point but it’s long forgotten now, but if you want I’ll look it up. Funny he? Did I mention I had a French teacher? Oh yes, oh lá lá!
    Listen I don’t care how many crepes you’ve used here, I only care it looks delicious!!!!!

  • http://www.localappetite.blogspot.com Jen

    Absolutely beautiful! I love the orange caramel sauce idea. How much are you selling slices for??

  • http://feedingmaybelle.blogspot.com maybelles mom

    I think hyperbole is really what makes the title. I have always wanted to make this because the name is so impressive–as if I sat down and made a thousand crepes. after all quinze crepes aint exciting

  • zenchef

    Tokyo Terrace — Thank you. I thought it was pretty damn good!

    Alice — I saw lots of crepe cakes growing up in France but they have become popular in the US only recently.

    Dani — Let me know how it goes!

    Y — Thanks! I must say your pastry are pretty stunning too.

    Radish — Go for it! More labor intensive but why not.

    Doggy — Don’t tell me you were born when payphones costed a dime! lol

    Rita — Next time I’ll make sure to send my mille-feuille back to the kitchen if it doesn’t have a thousand layers. I’ll count them if i have to! :)

    Jen — I’m not selling slices but i guess $6 would be about right. Or $36 for the whole cake. Still cheaper than Lady M. :)

    Maybelles — Yup. Just don’t tell anyone about the 15 to 20 crepes. hehe

  • http://www.humblebeanblog.com/ Azusa

    Heavenly! This always seemed so intimidating, but I’ll have to give this a try. You had me at chestnut cream. Thanks for posting!

  • http://colloquialcooking.com Colloquial Cook

    ‘Zing’ is a sharper kind of ‘oomph’. Obviously :-P

    Bon, non mais sans blague, le gâteau de crêpes, ce grand classique des desserts de scouts, retrouve ici toute sa dignité :-) Ça doit être le fait de remplacer le nutella par de la crème de châtaigne à la chantilly, héhé. J’imagine la tête des scouts si ils goûtaient ta version, ahah!

  • http://oneordinaryday.wordpress.com/ MIchelle

    This is just beautiful. Nicely done.

  • http://eataduckimust.blogspot.com/ Jared

    Looks like the nights spent peeling those chestnuts paid off. This looks great and will definitely try out this recipe. Do you prefer to roast the chestnuts first to give it a smokey flavor?

  • http://dolceinewyork.blogspot.com Dolce

    The layers look really nice and as you said, it looks like so spent ages working on it. Impressive :)

  • http://vanillakitchen.blogspot.com dawn

    gosh I think I remember from some old cookbook or school that the purpose of this cake (going years and years back) was to actually have the layers counted and they had to be precise & exact amount only. can you imagine that? who cares how many layers–this is just fabulous and it’s all about the taste really. but you know what blows my mind most? how in the world did you slice this sooooo perfectly? love that detailed part.

  • http://www.mattikaarts.com/blog matt

    fantastic. I have seen the mille crepes idea in the past, and never made it. I should. This looks fantastic mate. Really great attention to detail. LOVE the chestnut cream and the “zing” sauce.

    And holy heck,photos. LOVE EM. great chef, and great food photographer? blimey, that is a great combination you have.

  • http://aapplemint.com Kate – Aapplemint

    wow what happened here ?!?!
    Love the makeover ! And yup Definitely been missing all the fun … your blog is always such a riot !
    Hope you’ve been well :)

  • http://www.bigboysoven.com Big Boys Oven

    OMG! I found this awesome recipe here, just fantastic, thank you Chef! :)

  • http://www.lafujimama.com Fuji Mama

    Really sad that I missed out on peeling chestnuts, because I REALLY REALLY REALLY would have liked to have eaten a slice of this one… :D

  • http://freshlocalandbest.blogspot.com Christine @ Fresh Local

    This truly looks like a labor of love! What a fantastic accomplishment for an extraordinary dessert!

  • http://www.culinarydisaster.com/wordpress Jeff

    If I make this dish I get to use my joyous torch to burn sugar??? If so definitely sign me up because I love fire. I pray my house never burns down because I know they will think it is arson.

    I am also trying to vision a 1000 stack of crepes and trying to cut it…..eek!

  • http://arimichan01.blogspot.com Thao Phan

    Oh that sounds so yummy!!!!! This is a definate try!

  • http://devourtheworld.blogspot.com jen

    ok, seriously. you have thrown down the challenge and it’s ON. You’re back in queue for being stalked. This time, I’m willing to betcha this is not going to turn out well…and I *WILL* be calling you…

  • http://foodgourmand.blogspot.com Karine

    That is the first time I hear about Mille crepes and it sounds delicious!

  • http://www.familyfreshcooking.com/blog/ marla (Family Fresh Cooking)

    This Crepe cake looks divine!! Love the seasonal addition of Chestnuts. Who cares how many layers it has, it looks so decadent and elegant. I would eat 4 layers, I would eat one thousand…..doesn’t matter :)

  • http://www.yankeecook.com Yankee Cook

    This looks fantastic! How far in advance can this be made? Also, can you recommend a good brand of bottled chestnuts?

    Thank you

  • http://www.6bittersweets Xiaolu

    Gorgeous cake! This type of cake is one of those that’s always intrigued me and I love chestnuts. I’m bookmarking this now.

  • http://www.azcookbook.com farida

    Great looking cake! I am particularly intrigued by chestnut cream. Sounds so good to me!

  • http://zested.wordpress.com liz {zested}

    considering that most of the crepes cooked in my household are between the hours of 1-3 a.m., after excessive wine consumption, and half of them end on the floor from excessive flipping, this may be outside my capacity. awesome idea, though.

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com we are never full

    i guess i take your word for it that it’s “easier than it seems to make”… i friggin hate making desserts. this does look hard but reading the recipe does make it seem do-able. it really is beautiful though. really, really pretty.

  • http://www.cherryonacake.blogspot.com zurin

    That looks complicated and beautiful. Im glad you said it wasn’t :) Id love to try making it . tq 4 sharing :) ))

  • http://www.norecipes.com Marc @ NoRecipes

    Lady M is my favorite bakery in town. I’ve been meaning to make one of these, but you’ve really upped the stakes by adding crème de marron. We never did get you to taste the Japanese version of Mont Blanc. Anyway you have my vote:-)

  • http://thenakedbeet.com edava

    I’ve been making crepes most of my life and I’ve seen this classic recipe before. Now I know what to do with my leftover jar of chesnuts. Thanks!!!! Gorgeous little brush of syrup.

  • http://ouichef.typepad.com Oui, Chef

    This reminds me of a dish we learned at Le Cordon Bleu, except there the crepes were layered with pastry cream….it was awesome. Your variation looks fabulous and got my vote in the Bon Appetit competition. Good Luck!

  • http://joylicious.net Joy

    This is such a beautiful arrangement of crepes I voted for your entry on bon appetit! I am glad I stumbled upon your site, you have some beautiful talent here!

  • http://www.tallcloverfarm.com tom | tall clover farm

    Chestnuts are a very special ingredient. I’m growing some different varieties, none of which are producing yet. I love the trees, majestic and robust. And your recipe is my first to be tucked away until the first nut is picked.

  • Elena

    The mille crepe looks soo good! Can you make the cream without the chestnut?

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  • prismcolour

    Beautiful baking job! I had to go buy one today for a loved one’s birthday. The store itself is kind of cold and sterile…like some kind of cake gallery. I don’t know what the big deal is. It’s as if people never had a crepe before…or never seen pastry creme tucked inside pastry. The whole idea is strikes me of window dressing with a large price tag. Again, totally not worth the $85 price tag. It’s 20 sheets of flour mixed with water mixed with egg and some whipped chestnut pastry creme.