I made this dessert as a result of having way too many lemons lying around. I have a family friend who always gives us free lemons and passionfruit straight from their trees (amazing quality and I love them for it every year!), so I knew right away that I could use a good amount of those lemons in a mille crepe. A mille crepe is just a layer cake made with crepes and cream. Typically they comprise of quite a few layers, with the most popularized verison by Lady M Cake Boutique having 20. So I wanted to make my own version of their lemon mille crepe, since anything with 20 layers means that I would have to make at least two and a half to three cups worth of filling. Translation: I could get rid of at least 8 lemons doing this dessert.
So my filling is essentially a lemon curd meets a bavarois, so like a chiboust cream. For the crepe batter itself, I took some inspiration from testing the recipe from FineCooking.com, which uses heavy cream in the batter. what I found from doing that is that the heavy cream helps create a richer batter, but surprisingly, a thinner crepe. Now I don’t want to just outright copy their recipe, so I adjusted mine to be a little lighter in flavor, since I want the lemon to really come through and be the star of this cake. Lastly, you have to make sure to brulee the top of the cake with sugar. If you don’t do this, then the powdered sugar will just melt into the cake and it’ll be a sugary, crystalized mess.
For the batter:
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and browned + more for the pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 cups milk
2/3 cups heavy cream
a pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Literally puree together the ingredients in a blender. Pass through a sieve. Chill down the batter for at least 2 hours. Bring back up to room temperature. Heat up a nonstick pan with a light layer of butter. Pour about 3 to 4 tablespoons (depending on the width of your pan) of batter in, rotating quickly to get the batter into as thin a layer as possible. Once the edges of the crepe begin to crisp, flip over and allow the other side of the crepe to brown evenly as well. Repeat until you have at least 20 crepes. Cool these down completely before attempting to assemble.
For the filling:
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 tablespoons gelatin powder + 2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced and kept cold
2 cups heavy cream, whipped stiff
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest and juice the lemons. Simmer down your lemons with the gelatin powder and salt. Temper in the egg yolks and sugar with this mixture and whisk on medium-high heat until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Whisk in your cold butter, off heat, to help bring down the temperature of the curd faster. Pass through a sieve. Chill down until room temperature. If the curd sets too firm, simply transfer to a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and whip until softened again. Fold in your heavy cream and keep at room temperature for assembly. Spoon about 2-3 tablespoons of the filling onto each crepe, using an offset spatula to level them. Allow the crepes to cool down completely in the refrigerator. Should the top of the cake be too domed, use a rolling pin and gently flatten it out.
For the candied lemon peels:
1/2 cup granulated sugar, in two parts
a pinch of salt
Peel the lemons and julienne the peels. Juice the lemons as well. Poach lemon peels in water for about 5 minutes, before discarding the water and reproaching again in more clean water for another 5 minutes. Combine the lemon juice with half of your sugar and salt. Bring to a simmer and toss in your peels, stirring them to allow them to be evenly coated in the simple syrup. Pour onto a sheet tray. Freeze for about 10 minutes, then toss in the remaining sugar to candy them.
With your top layer on the crepe cake, sprinkle on some granulated sugar and using a blowtorch, brulee the top. This will prevent the powdered sugar from melting into the crepe. Dust on the powdered sugar and garnish with your peels to finish.