Ube-Coconut Mille Crêpes Cake
Light Pastry Cream Tucked Between Buttery Crêpes
(makes 21-23 crêpes total; 20 crêpes needed for cake)
6 tbsp unsalted butter [85 g]
3 cups whole milk [710 mL]
6 eggs [300 g without shell]
1/3 cup granulated sugar [67 g]
1/2 tsp salt [2.85 g]
1.5 cups cake flour [170 g]
1/2 tsp unsalted butter for greasing pan [2.4 g]
Ube-Coconut Pastry Cream:
6 egg yolks [120 g]
1/2 cup granulated sugar [100 g]
1/4 cup cornstarch [30 g]
1/2 tsp salt [2.85 g]
3 1/2 cups whole milk [840 mL]
2 tbsp unsalted butter [28.4 g]
1 tbsp ube extract [15 mL]
1/4 cup ube halaya
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut [18.8 g]
2 cups cold heavy cream [480 mL]
1/4 cup granulated sugar [50 g]
1/2 cup coconut cream (separated from a 13.5 oz can) [120 mL]
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut [37.5 g]
1 tbsp powdered sugar for dusting (optional) [7.8 g]
Making the Crêpe Batter:
Take a small skillet, and heat over medium heat. Add in 6 tbsp of unsalted butter, and brown it until it starts to smell nutty. Set this aside.
In a small saucepan medium heat, add 3 cups of whole milk and heat it till it's steaming, but not boiling. Allow this to cool for about 10 to 15 minutes.
In a mixing bowl, add in 6 room temperature eggs, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, and 1/2 tsp of salt. Whisk this together till it's combined. Then add in 1 1/2 cup of cake flour, and whisk this in. Slowly whisk in the warm milk and browned butter, and mix till there are no more large lumps. Be careful not to over beat the batter.
Pour the batter through a strainer to remove any lumps into a container with a spout. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap, and rest it in the fridge overnight.
Making the Ube Pastry Cream:
Take a large saucepan, add in 6 egg yolks, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup of cornstarch, 1/2 tsp of salt, and whisk them together.
Then slowly add in 3 1/2 cups of whole milk, while whisking so no lumps form, and then place the saucepan over medium heat and bring this to a boil, and once it starts boiling, continue cooking while whisking constantly for another 7 to 10 minutes, or until the pastry thickens.
When the mixture looks thickened, remove it from the heat. Stir in 2 tbsp of unsalted butter, 1 tbsp of ube extract, 1/4 cup of ube halaya, and 1/4 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut. Continue to stir till combined, then cover with plastic wrap pressing the plastic wrap against the surface of the custard. This will prevent a skin from forming as it cools. Let this pastry cream rest in the fridge for 2 to 3 hours, or overnight. If you're in a rush, put the saucepan in an ice-bath, stirring occasionally, to speed up the thickening process.
Cooking the Crêpes:
Let the crêpes batter and pastry cream come to room temperature. Note: the crêpe batter is supposed to be very liquidy and look watery (not a thick batter like pancake batter).
Take a 10" non-stick skillet / frying pan, and heat on medium heat. Using a pastry brush, coat the pan with 1/2 tsp of unsalted butter. The butter should sizzle when it hits the pan.
Before each crêpe, mix the batter a bit to make sure it is uniformly mixed. Then pour the batter into a 1/4 cup measure. Lift the pan off the fire, and quickly pour the 1/4 cup of batter while simultaneously swirling the batter in the pan as you add the batter.
Work quickly to spread the batter evenly all the way to the edges of the pan to make a circle. Continue swirling the pan to move the batter and fill the middle as evenly as possible. Once the bottom of the pan is evenly coated, place it back on medium heat.
Cook the crêpe for another 30 seconds from when you place the pan back on the fire. Just until the batter is set. Do not flip the crêpe. When the batter is set, using a spatula, gently lift the crêpe off the pan and transfer it to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Repeat steps 3 to 5 until all the batter is used up. Make sure to mix the batter a little before each crêpe, but do not add any more butter before making the subsequent crêpes (brushing with butter is only for the 1st crêpe).
This recipe should make about 21 to 23 crêpes total. We're only using 20 crêpes for the cake - so you will have some extra or room for error/practice crêpes. Stack the crêpes on top of each other, slightly staggered, as each one gets done cooking. This will help the crêpes stay soft and prevent them from drying out.
When all the crêpes are done, set them aside to finish cooling.
Toasted Coconut Topping:
In a small skillet over medium heat, add in 1/2 a cup of unsweetened shredded coconut.
Toast the coconut for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly, or until it reaches your desired color.
Transfer to a clean dish and let it come to room temperature.
Preparing the Ube-Coconut cream filling:
In the bowl of your stand mixer, add in 2 cups of very cold heavy cream, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and 1/2 cup of cold coconut cream (I place a can of full fat coconut cream in the fridge overnight to help separation, then separate 1/2 cup of thick coconut cream from the top for this recipe. Use the leftover coconut milk/water for another dish).
Whisk a whisk attachment, beat on medium speed till the whipped cream mixture is thick and billowy, but it does not have to form stiff peaks.
Gently fold this coconut whipped cream into the cold ube pastry cream till it's uniform and smooth. This will be your cream filling between the crêpe layers.
Assembling the Cake:
Take a flat surface or cake board that's 10" in diameter bigger, and place it on a revolving cake stand. Place the 1st crêpe in the middle of the cake board. Set aside the best-looking crêpe for your top layer.
Using a 1/3 cup measure, add a heaping 1/3 cup of the ube-coconut cream filling on top of the crêpe and using a spatula, spread it evenly towards the edges while rotating your cake stand. Stop about 1/4" from the edge, and try not to get any cream on the sides of the cake.
Add the subsequent crêpes in this same way. Try to add the same amount of the ube-coconut filling (a heaping 1/3 cup) for each layer, so that the layers look evenly spaced. Repeat this with 20 crêpes, so that there's a thin layer of ube-coconut cream filling between each crêpe (19 layers of filling and 20 layers of crêpe). Be sure to finish with the last good-looking crêpe on top.
Sprinkle the toasted shredded coconut evenly on top of the cake - I like to add it in the center up to about half an inch from the edge of the outer circumference of the top surface.
Cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Let this rest in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours, preferably overnight for the cake to set and for the crêpes to soak in the ube-coconut cream filling.
About 30 minutes before serving, leave the cake out at room temperature for the cake to soften up a bit.
When you're ready to serve, dust 1 tbsp of powdered sugar on top of the cake as a final garnish. Slice and serve. Enjoy!