Gateau de Crepes with Chocolate Pastry Cream and Dulce De Leche – Recipes

Gâteau de crêpes with chocolate pastry cream and dulce de leche

Sometimes I read a recipe and it burrows into a corner of my brain, gathers twigs and moss, builds a little nest, and refuses to move out until I make it. That was the case with this Gâteau de Crêpes from Amanda Hesser in the New York Times magazine back in 2005. The idea is simple enough: twenty layers of crepes filled with whip-cream lightened pastry cream, finished with a layer of bruleed sugar. 

Still, I knew that plenty could go wrong. Would those layers really stay together and line up neatly? What should be the density of the pastry cream so that it wouldn't collapse under the weight of the crepes and a knife, but still be suave?

I finally sucked it up and made it for my own birthday party and it turned out pretty darn tasty, if a bit sloppy looking on the outside. The inside was beautiful. Of course I had to put my own spin on it. I went with alternating layers of chocolate pastry cream and dulce de leche. As you can see, my fears of seepage were well founded, but who really cared? It was rich and delicious; a small slice would be perfectly satisfying. I had three.


The recipe in Hesser's article covers it fine, so there is no need to go over it here. If you want to make my variation, just add 6 ounces of high quality dark chocolate (something in the 72% range) to the hot pastry cream, and a jar of homemade or store-bought dulce de leche for the alternate layers. You'll want to warm the dulce de leche and maybe thin it with a bit of cream as well so you can spread it without destroying the crepes.

Oh, and I'm not sure why she has you heat the milk for the crepe batter. I've always used Julia Child's recipe from Mastering The Art of French Cooking, which doesn't call for that, and I've never had a problem with the results. Feel free to skip it.

If you have a pressure cooker and haven't used it to make dulce de leche, I highly recommend it. Works beautifully.

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Posted by Michael Natkin on Tuesday, December 15th, 2009 in Desserts, Kid Friendly, Recipes.

14 Responses to “Gateau de Crepes with Chocolate Pastry Cream and Dulce De Leche – Recipes”

  1. Reply
    December 15, 2009 at 2:41 pm #

    Sounds REALLY good. It also reminds me of a favorite at our house — from “The James Beard Celebration,” a recipe for Crepes aux Duxelles: basically it’s a lot like yours, except that instead of chocolate filling and a sweet crepes, you make the crepes batter without sugar, and between crepe layers you put duxelles — the result of cooking down finely-chopped mushrooms until they almost start to dry out. As with yours, the edges are a little messy, but wedge-shapes slices look great. Garnished with a drizzling of rich reduced stock and a few leaves of parsley, they make a great first course.

  2. Reply
    December 15, 2009 at 5:04 pm #

    wow this is gorgeous! i definitely need to try this soon!

  3. Reply
    December 15, 2009 at 5:04 pm #

    btw how do you make dulce de leche with a pressure cooker?!

  4. Reply
    December 16, 2009 at 8:20 am #

    Happy Birthday! Nice challenging ‘cake’; it looks delicious.

  5. Reply
    December 16, 2009 at 12:33 pm #

    I don’t think I could make this without making a huge mess, but it looks gorgeous.

  6. Reply
    December 16, 2009 at 4:40 pm #

    Happy Birthday!

    The cake looks too good for words…:-)

  7. Reply
    December 17, 2009 at 9:11 pm #

    I’ve made dulce de leche with my pressure cooker and agree that it’s surprisingly easy other than the nail-biting over whether it would explode and destroy my kitchen ;p. This is one stunner of a cake. Happy belated b-day!

  8. Reply
    December 21, 2009 at 3:57 pm #

    Michael these had me at hello! They are beautiful! Thanks for sharing all your luscious recipes. May your new year be filled with lots of love, health and good food! Dana Zia

  9. Reply
    December 21, 2009 at 4:31 pm #

    The messiest desserts always taste the best. Seriously, I think it’s gorgeous with all that gooey goodness seeping out. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Reply
    December 23, 2009 at 5:46 pm #

    Ohhhh my GOSH does that look YUMMY… crepes in any form are delicious, but I never thought to layer them like that…

  11. Reply
    January 3, 2010 at 7:58 pm #

    This reminds me of Russian Honey Cake… except the idea of chocolate and dulce de leche is making me want to cry (in a really good way). My experience making a 15 layer Russian Honey Cake is here- link to

  12. Reply
    January 30, 2010 at 4:14 pm #

    Looks delicious!

  13. Reply
    October 11, 2010 at 8:15 pm #

    oh my goodness!

  14. Reply
    July 21, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

    Look delicious…. i will give it a try too…

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