Orange Matcha Gâteau Mille Crêpe Cake
Every french dessert or pastry comes with an intense intimidating feeling imparted into it by its crazy perfectionist creators. I am going to be very honest with you and tell you that french pastry chefs scare the living poop out of me. Growing up, they were the top dogs in the pastry world and to this day anytime I make a french dessert I think that there is the spirit of a old french pastry chef over my shoulder ready to yell at me and hit me with this morning's newspaper if I dont pipe something right or I, god forbid, forget to add the butter. Anyone else with me on this?
Along with the weight of this french spirit hanging onto my back, my love for street food made me stay away from making crepes. I couldn't disappoint both the street food scene and the french! It’s blasphemy. I wouldn't do it. I can’t… Fast forward to last week, I had a matcha orange flavor profile idea for a gâteau mille crêpes (aka thousand of crepe cake) and I just had to do it. I had to conquer my fear and make the coveted crepe cake.
I’ll spoil the ending for you. I did well. I think the French would let me live to see another day.
Despite my weird fears, I set up this recipe for you to succeed in the kitchen with the least amount of tools necessary. I know that there are tons of people out there who want to make these without having to search for a crepe spreader/spatula… I totally get it. However, you will need one very important tool - a 10 inch non stick skillet. This is non- negotiable. It's the reason why you don't need any of the other tools. All you have to do is pour a ladleful of batter into the pan and swirl it around. No spreading, no nothing. Just spread it out once it hits the pan and wait for it to cook. Flip it and you're done. Now, you are off to the races to assemble your crepe cake.
Traditionally, a crepe cake has 20 crepes each separated with a layer of french pastry cream or in my case some matcha orange whipped cream. The thinness of the pancakes and lightness of the cream make this dessert elegant, delicious, and with the perfect texture. It’s something everyone should have a slice of when having some afternoon tea. It’s lightly sweetened, a touch of bitterness from the matcha, and a hit of brightness from the orange. A true match made in heaven.
I’ve never had the honor to try a crepe from France but one day it will happen and it will be a glorious experience. In the meantime, I hope my homemade crepe cake does it justice.
Orange Zest Crepe Batter
500 grams or 2 cups of whole milk
50 grams or 3 tablespoons of fresh orange juice (no seeds or pulp)
200 grams or ¾ cup of eggs
200 grams or 1 ¼ cups of all purpose flour
30 grams or 3 tablespoons of sugar
Zest of 1 small orange
Splash of vanilla
Pinch of salt
20 grams or 1.5 tablespoon of melted butter
Place the milk, eggs, flour, sugar, orange juice, zest of 1 orange, vanilla, and salt into a blender. Blend at high speed for 15-20 seconds.
With the blender running stream in the melted but cooled butter. Blend for 5 seconds more after all the butter has been incorporated.
Pour mixture through a sieve to get out any clumps and place in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight.
Take a non-stick pan and set the heat to medium. Spray a little bit of oil on it and wipe it down.
Pour in a little less than ¼ cup of batter into the pan and quickly swirl it around to get a flat even layer across the pan.
Let it cook for 20 seconds before gently lifting the crepe and flipping it over. Use a thin flexible metal spatula or a crepe spreader if you need some help.
Let the other side cook for an additional 10 seconds and transfer over to a wire rack/sheet pan to cool.
Repeat steps 5 -7 until all the batter has been used up. If you see that the crepe is having a hard time releasing from the pan, give it a quick spray of oil and then wipe down.
Now with all your crepes you are ready to assemble your crepe cake.
Matcha Whipped Cream
3 cups of heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons of matcha powder
½ cup of sugar
1 -2 drops of green food coloring, optional
In a bowl shift in matcha powder and sugar. Mix to combine.
Add in the heavy cream and whip until you get soft peaks. If you want a more vibrant green color, add 1 - 2 drops now. Continue to whip until you get stiff peaks.
If you want a more vibrant green color, add 1 - 2 drops now.
Set in the fridge until you are ready to use.
Dehydrated Orange Rounds
Slice the oranges into thin slices. About ⅛" to ¼" in thickness.
Arrange the orange slices in a single layer on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Without the parchment, the sugar in the orange will make the slices stick to the pan.
Bake in the oven at 200 degrees fahrenheit for 4 to 6 hours. Flipping every hour or so.
Take out of the oven and store in an airtight container until ready to use.
Assembling Your Crepe Cake
11- 10 inch crepes
3 cups of matcha orange whipped cream
1 tablespoon of matcha powder
4 - 5 slices of dehydrated oranges, optional
Place one crepe down onto a plate and then dollop 2 heaping tablespoons of cream. Spread it into a thin layer.
Repeat step 1 until all the crepes have been used. Remember to end on a crepe not on a layer of whipped cream.
Place in the fridge for 2 - 3 hours to let it sit and become one with itself.
Dust 1 tablespoons of matcha powder over top of the crepe cake and decorate with dehydrated orange rounds.
Slice and serve!
Crepe will naturally be thinner on the side, so in order to avoid having a dome shaped cake. Be generous with the filling on the edges. You can also see how you are doing by taking a couple of steps back and checking that its level with your eyes.
Straining the batter will prevent any clumps of flour but it will take out the orange zest. If you really want it in the batter go ahead and add it back. I was okay with just the essence of orange in the pancake.
If you don't have any crepe tools, YOU WILL BE FINE! I like to make and test my recipes so that people without those specific tools can make my recipes. I did use a crepe spatula and a small metal spatula. However, they are not necessary. The batter is thin enough where if you just shake and twist the pan you will be able to spread the crepe out and most times I just used my fingers to pick the crepes. Hot? Yes. Efficient? Yep!
When it comes to assembling the crepe cake you can just use a knife or spoon. Either will work. The one thing that is 100% necessary is a non-stick 10 inch spatula. 10 inches because it makes the perfect sized cake and non-stick because a stick pan would ruin everything.
For that beautiful top, you want to pile all the matcha whipped cream that's left in the bowl right in the center. Make a mountain out of it. Then make large swoops from the center outwards to create those layers. Work you way from the center of the whipped cream mountain and push it outwards to the edge of the cake with a spatula. You will then notice the center is now flat. Go back into the center and create circular swoops to mimic the cakes round shape. Its all about creating "motion" in the whipped cream. Hope that helps!
By Alex Chung
Senior Food Editor
@threehungrybellies on Instagram