The French call this a “mille crêpe,” implying that it has a thousand layers, like a “mille feuille,” the French name for the Napoleon dessert. Don’t worry: you will only have to make about 25 crêpes, but that will take some time. This cake has a velvety-smooth texture, and is definitely worth the time and effort. I like to make the crêpes and pastry cream one day, and then assemble the cake the next. If you do not like coffee flavor, you can omit it and have vanilla cream instead.
- 16 to 20 ServingsServings
- 7 tablespoon margarine, melted, divided
- 2 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoon sugar
- 6 large eggs
- 4 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2½ cup pareve plain soy milk
- 1½ cup pareve whipping cream
Coffee Pastry Cream
- 2 cup pareve plain soy milk
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoon pareve margarine
- ⅔ cup sugar, divided
- 8 large egg yolks
- 6 tablespoon all-purpose flour, sifted after measuring
- 4 teaspoon coffee extract or more to taste (or 1 tablespoon instant espresso dissolved in 1 tablespoon boiling water)
- Chocolate shavings, confectioners’ sugar, or confectioners’ sugar mixed with cocoa for garnish
To make Crêpes:
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, sugar, eggs, oil, vanilla, soy milk, whipping cream, and 6 tablespoons melted margarine. Use a sieve to strain the mixture into another bowl, pressing through as much batter as you can and discard the thick clumps remaining in the strainer. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight.
- When you’re ready to make the crêpes, heat a 9- or 10-inch crêpe pan or frying pan over medium-high heat. Brush the pan with some of the remaining 1 tablespoon melted margarine. When the pan is hot, lift the pan off the heat, tilt the pan, and pour in a scant ½ cup batter, swirling the batter around to evenly cover the bottom of the pan. Sometimes you may need to add a little more batter to cover the bottom or fill in holes. Return to the heat. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the edges of the crêpe turn brown. Use a spatula to turn the crêpe over. Cook on the other side for 30 seconds more, and then flip the crêpe onto a plate. If the crêpes are browning too quickly, turn down the heat. Try to make the crêpes about the same size, but you can trim them later if you’d like. Let cool. If making in advance, cover the stack of crêpes with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to three days.
To make pastry cream:
- In a heavy saucepan, bring soy milk, scraped seeds and vanilla bean, margarine, and half the sugar to a boil. Meanwhile, use a whisk to beat egg yolks and remaining half of sugar in a medium bowl. Add flour and use a silicone spatula to gently mix it into egg mixture. Strain half the soy milk mixture into the egg mixture and whisk. Repeat with remaining half of the soy milk mixture. Mix well and return to the saucepan.
- Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Use a silicone spatula to scrape the cream from the corners of the pot so it does not burn. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Let sit 5 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator until chilled, 4 hours or overnight. To use immediately, place the bowl of pastry cream into a larger bowl filled with ice and a little water (below the level of the bowl with the cream) for 15 to 20 minutes, or until cream is chilled. Mix occasionally. Store, covered, in the fridge for up to three days. When ready to use, whisk in coffee extract until desired color and flavor is achieved. If you like a strong coffee flavor, add more extract.
To assemble cake:
- Place one crêpe on a platter. Tear strips of parchment paper and slide them under the crêpe to keep the platter clean. Scoop up a heaping tablespoon of pastry cream and drop into the middle of the crêpe. Spread with a silicone spatula all the way to the edges. Place another crêpe over the pastry cream, trying to line it up as best as you can with the first crêpe. You can always trim the sides later if you want them perfectly straight; I like them a little uneven. Spread another heaping tablespoon of pastry cream and top with another crêpe. Repeat with remaining crêpes and cream, ending with one last crêpe on top. If you run out of cream before you use up all the crêpes, don’t worry; the crêpes can be eaten another time filled with chocolate. You should end up with at least 20 crêpe layers.
- You can decorate the top of the cake with chocolate shavings, confectioners’ sugar, or confectioners’ sugar mixed with cocoa. Store in the fridge, but let sit out at least 20 minutes at room temperature before serving. The cake may be frozen, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to three months.