Lady M Confections gives new meaning to the term “layered cake.” Their famous creation, Mille Crêpes, stacks crepes, custard and whipped cream 20 layers high, complete with a layer of caramelized sugar on top (similar to Crème Brûlée.) As a recent New York Times article pointed out, the secret to this cake is not so much the individual components, but the way that Lady M artfully combines it all. The layers come together so well it seems like the cake is one complex creation instead of individual components stacked on top of each other. It reminds me of the way a croissant melts together after baking. In both cases you’re left with a perfectly soft inside, complimented by a crisp, flaky crust.
If you’re feeling artistic you can try making this creation yourself with a recipe provided by the New York Times, or you can stop in at Lady M and pay $65 for them to put it all together for you.
Recipe from The New York Times
The Way We Eat: Building a Modern, Multistoried Dessert
By Amanda Hesser
May 15, 2005
Gâteau de Crêpes
For the crepe batter:
6 tablespoons butter
3 cups milk
1 1/2 cups flour
7 tablespoons sugar
For the vanilla pastry cream:
2 cups milk
1 vanilla bean, halved and scraped
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
3 1/2 tablespoons butter
For the assembly:
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar or more
3 tablespoons Kirsch
1. The day before, make the crepe batter and the pastry cream. Batter: In a small pan, cook the butter until brown like hazelnuts. Set aside. In another small pan, heat the milk until steaming; allow to cool for 10 minutes. In a mixer on medium-low speed, beat together the eggs, flour, sugar and salt. Slowly add the hot milk and browned butter. Pour into a container with a spout, cover and refrigerate overnight.
2. Pastry cream: Bring the milk with the vanilla bean (and scrapings) to a boil, then set aside for 10 minutes; remove bean. Fill a large bowl with ice and set aside a small bowl that can hold the finished pastry cream and be placed in this ice bath.
3. In a medium heavy-bottomed pan, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch. Gradually whisk in the hot milk, then place pan over high heat and bring to a boil, whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes. Press the pastry cream through a fine-meshed sieve into the small bowl. Set the bowl in the ice bath and stir until the temperature reaches 140 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Stir in the butter. When completely cool, cover and refrigerate.
4. Assemble the cake the next day: Bring the batter to room temperature. Place a nonstick or seasoned 9-inch crepe pan over medium heat. Swab the surface with the oil, then add about 3 tablespoons batter and swirl to cover the surface. Cook until the bottom just begins to brown, about 1 minute, then carefully lift an edge and flip the crepe with your fingers. Cook on the other side for no longer than 5 seconds. Flip the crepe onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Repeat until you have 20 perfect crepes.
5. Pass the pastry cream through a sieve once more. Whip the heavy cream with the tablespoon sugar and the Kirsch. It won’t hold peaks. Fold it into the pastry cream.
6. Lay 1 crepe on a cake plate. Using an icing spatula, completely cover with a thin layer of pastry cream (about 1/4 cup). Cover with a crepe and repeat to make a stack of 20, with the best-looking crepe on top. Chill for at least 2 hours. Set out for 30 minutes before serving. If you have a blowtorch for creme brulee, sprinkle the top crepe with 2 tablespoons sugar and caramelize with the torch; otherwise, dust with confectioners’ sugar. Slice like a cake. Batter adapted from ”Joy of Cooking.” Pastry cream adapted from ”Desserts,” by Pierre Herme and Dorie Greenspan. Serves 10.
Lady M Cake Boutique
41 East 78th Street (bet. Madison Ave & Park Ave)
New York, NY 10021