When I was thinking of what kinds of desserts to make for the holidays, I was split between doing a chestnut dessert or a chocolate dessert. I was a bit apprehensive to make a chestnut dessert because of how many I had made recently,
and how many I will be making now that I found my bag of Japanese chestnut powder after the testing and writing of this recipe, but at the same time, I do love chestnuts, they are only in season for a little bit longer, and I figured, why not just continue with them until told otherwise? So for this particular dessert, I wanted to go with a mille crepe, but unlike some of the previous ones that I have made before, I went with chocolate and chestnut. The layers inside of the cake are chocolate ganache and chestnut puree, just to add two different kinds of textures, while we have chocolate ganache and roasted chestnuts to garnish the dessert with as well. Honestly, it’s a fairly simple dessert to talk about, but the only thing I would like to note is that making a mille crepe is a very time-consuming process, since you have to make a ton of crepes to assemble it. I recommend using two to three nonstick pans at a time if you want this part of the process to go by faster. Well, that, and the other thing I want to point out is the quantity of filling you need to properly layer up this kind of cake. Just a small amount of ganache and puree isn’t substantial enough. To put it into perspective, you need probably twice the amount of filling for a mille crepe than you would a three tiered, 6-inch cake. I had to learn that the hard way with previous attempts at making these and running out of filling before I could even stack all of my layers.
Makes 1 mille crepe, which is about 8 servings:
For the crepe batter:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cups cocoa powder
1/3 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 1/4 cups milk
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Puree all of your ingredients together in a blender. Pass through a sieve to remove any lumps and allow the batter to sit for at least 5 minutes before using. Lightly line a nonstick pan with oil, removing the excess with a paper towel. Heat the nonstick on medium heat at all times to prevent excessive browning or the batter burning upon contact. Carefully ladle about 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan, rotating it as your pour, just to get it to be as thin as possible. Typically, the first couple of crepes come out imperfectly, as the oil or heat isn’t distributed properly, but they help with doing that, so to be fret over it too much. Once the crepe has been sufficiently cooked on one side, the edges will begin to peel away from the pan. That is when you flip the crepe and allow the other side to be kissed until just lightly browned. At that point, place the cooked crepe on a cooling rack and allow it to cool down. Repeat this with all of your batter until you have 15-20 crepes made.
For the chestnut puree:
2 cups roasted chestnuts, shells peeled
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
a pinch of salt
1 stick unsalted butter, browned
Simmer down the roasted chestnuts in the cream and milk, with salt, until completely soft and the liquid is reduced by 3/4. Transfer just the chestnuts first into a blender and puree with your brown butter. If the mixture is not blending properly, slowly add in some of your cream-milk mixture that you boiled the chestnuts in until it starts to mix. Once the chestnuts have reached a light, creamy texture, almost like a whipped peanut butter, pour into a bowl and refrigerate until it is time for assembly.
For the ganache:
2 cups dark chocolate chips
1 stick unsalted butter
a pinch of salt
1 cup heavy cream, in two parts
In a pot, melt down the butter with one part of your heavy cream. Once the butter is melted, add in your dark chocolate and stir, off heat, until that is incorporated. Season with salt at this point. Pour onto a sheet tray and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, until firm. Transfer to a stand mixer and whip with a paddle attachment until airy, and then add in your remaining cream and continue whipping until just incorporated, about 1 minute. Transfer to a piping bag and keep at room temperature.
Dark chocolate chips
With your first crepe, start with some ganache and puree, and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Repeat this until your last layer, where you will use just the ganache. Top with the chestnuts and dark chocolate chips.