Pancake pie with chestnut cream, or with a chic name: gateau de crêpes avec crème au marrons. At least, I think so, my French is not that well… This creation was inspired by a n episode of the BBC cooking programme “The Little Paris Kitchen: Cooking with Rachel Khoo recipes”, but since the programme is one big horror and all the recipes are a disaster, I made a recipe myself.
This pie works best as dessert, but keep in mind that it is quite heavy. Serve small portions and warn your guests that there will be a dessert. It is quite sturdy and travels well, so you can take it to pick-nicks and pot-lucks without destroying it. Because I don’t add sugar to the crêpes and only a small amount to the crème au marrons, it is not too sweet, the sugar just accentuated the natural sweet taste of the chestnuts. The slightly chewy, delicate taste of the crêpes contrasts nicely with the creamy, nutty and sweet flavour of the cream. The layers make the pie visually attractive as well, and you can even trim all the crêpes to the same size to make it look even more attractive.
It is important to make this cake fresh. If you keep it for a day, it will get soggy, which causes the texture to be slightly rubbery. But of course you can bake the crêpes and make the crème au marrons in advance and assemble the cake at the last moment. I stacked mine in the afternoon and served it in the evening, which was delicious, but the leftovers the next day weren’t…. although with an extra drizzle of cream it was still quite nice.
Gateau de crêpes avec crème au marrons (8-12 servings)
for the crêpes
pinch of salt
200-300 ml milk
butter or oil for baking
for the crème au marrons
250g cooked chestnuts
300-400 ml cream
sugar to taste
Start with making the crêpe batter. Break the eggs in a well in the flour, incorporate them slowly. Add a pinch of salt. Then gradually add the milk, until you have the consistency of cream. Crêpe batter is quite thin, to be able to make nice and thin crêpes. Leave the batter to rest for half an hour.
Meanwhile, start up the crème au marrons. Put everything together in a pan, simmer uncovered until the chestnuts are soft.
Then bake the crêpes: in a hot pan with a little bit of butter with just enough batter to cover the bottom of the pan. If using more than one pan, use 2 of similar size or trim the crêpes Afterwards to the same size.
Now the crème au marrons will probably be ready. Mash the chestnuts with a fork, then blend them to get a smooth texture. It will get thicker when cool, so add a little extra cream to loosen the mixture up, if necessary, for a spreadable consistency.
Leave everything to cool, then assemble the gateau. Start with a crêpe, spread a thin layer of crème au marrons on top and cover with another crêpe. Then spread a thin layer of crème au marrons on top, etc…. Keep stacking until everything is used (it might be that you have some crêpes left), ending with a crêpe. Make sure you make even layers and don’t push them down too much, otherwise the gateau will be crooked. Also, be careful with cutting, after all that careful stacking you wouldn’t want the whole thing to collapse. You can serve it as it is, or with a drizzle of cream.
Note: You can find chestnuts precooked and vacuum sealed in most supermarkets nowadays. Also the toko is a good place to look. And in the autumn, when they are in season, they are available fresh, but then they need a lot more preparation.