Chocolate Chestnut Mille Crepe Cake
Mille Crepe cake is a classic French cake that translates to ’thousand’ crepe cake. Its such a show - stopping and fun dessert that is also the perfect dessert if you aren’t a baker because it’s made entirely on the stove top. I wanted so badly to make something new this year with my chestnut purée. There are a few yummy recipe on the blog that are chestnut based and I just love them all. I love chocolate and chestnut together and I came up with this combo after watching a clip of Martha Stewart making chestnut crepes with Mario Batali. They are called Necci in Italian and they are served with ricotta and honey. They also happen to be naturally gluten free as they are made with chestnut flour. (That being said this recipe can also be made with all purpose flour too if you can’t get your hands on chestnut flour) I decided to do a crepe cake and add some cocoa to the mix. Sometimes my ideas don’t always work but this one absolutely did!! I went with the ricotta for the filling but kept the chestnut theme going and added some purée to the cream filling. It’s was so so good!!
The ingredient amounts below are a guide, since it really depends on the size of your crepes, and how much filling you spread on. I used an 8inch pan and got about 20-25 crepes. I used 2 tbsp of cream per layer which lasted me 20 layers which I think is perfect. I decided to make another half batch of cream filling to pipe some of it on top but that is purely decorative and optional. You’ll probably have a few more crepes than you need, which isn’t really a problem, and you can try to go even higher than I did, In fact it’s better to have a few extra than not enough.
My first crepe like my first pancake is always a wash so give yourself 2-3 tries before you get the temp and the technique down. Trust me after your tenth you will be on a roll. If you get really confident and you have a second similar size skillet feel free to do two at a time. That will cut down on your crepe making time by half. It took me about 45 minutes to make them all in the one pan. That was at a decent pace so making two at a time would be great but not always possible. I didn’t mind the time it took to make them. I found it sort of therapeutic.
There are a few things that help when it comes to making crepes. First make sure you are using a non stick pan. Getting the temperature of the pan right is also very important. If the pan is too hot, the crêpe batter will solidify before you have a chance to swirl it around. If its too cold, it may have a tendency to stick or be harder to flip. When it comes to making this crepe cake look uniform, (but still a bit rustic) it’s important to use a measuring scoop or cup to measure out the crepe batter. This will help ensure that every crepe is generally the same size and thickness. Don’t be too fussy if they all don’t look perfect or if one or two of them tears a little. You only need one perfect one for the top and even that one gets a slathering of cream over it so it’s a very forgiving cake. Some people like to trim the edges off it when it’s all stacked but I love the rustic ruffled edges.
This was so much fun to make and put together. Once you get the hang of making the crepes the rest is sooooo easy. This makes for a great celebration cake as it looks so fancy and special the best part is that no baking was required. I think you guys will have fun making this one too - enjoy!!
For the Crepes (makes 20-25 in an 8-inch skillet)
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 cups milk
- 6 eggs
- 1 ½ cups chestnut flour *
- ⅔ cup cocoa powder
- 7 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ tsp espresso powder (optional)
For the cream filling
- ½ cup ricotta
- ¼ cup chestnut purée (storebought or homemade)
- 1 ½ cup heavy cream cold
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
Place all the crepe ingredients into a blender and blend until fully incorporated and smooth. Allow to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
On a nonstick skillet over medium heat, (I used and 8 inch skillet) pour ¼ cup of crepe batter, and tip the pan to cover the entire bottom surface. Cook until bottom surface of crepe begins to brown, approx 1.5 minutes then flip and cook for another 1-1.5 minutes.
Remove crepe and allow to cool. Repeat until all of the crepe batter is used. I usually end up making 20-25 crepes with this batter. I allow them to cool on a lined baking sheet while I’m making the rest of them. Allow to cool completely before stacking.
While crepes are cooling make the ricotta chestnut cream. Beat the ricotta and the chestnut cream with a hand mixer or standing mixer until fully incorporated then add the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla extract and continue to beat to stiffer peaks form.
Stack crepes on top of each other, with approx 2-3 tbsp of chestnut cream between each layer. Dust the last layer with cocoa powder then slice and enjoy.**
* You can whisk in a little extra chestnut flour to the batter (no more than ½ cup extra) if you find the batter is too thin when you start making the crepes. You can also substitute the chestnut flour with all purpose flour if you don’t have chestnut flour.
** I made 1.5 of the cream recipe to have enough to add some decorative piping on the top. That is not necessary but it makes it look a little more special. A thin layer of cream on top work well with the recipe as is.
The crepes and the cream can be made a day ahead and stored in sealed containers in the fridge. Put together just before you are ready to serve.