Milk tart pancake mille-feuille. Quite a mouthful, right? Even if the ‘mille-feuille’ doesn’t roll easily off the tongue, there’ll be no problem with spooning in mouthfuls of this shamelessly-rich cake. Mille-feuille refers to the multiple layers of buttery puff pastry usually filled with cream and perhaps fresh berries, but because we’re keeping things local and lekker for the month of May, our layers consist of a stalwart of South African food culture, the pancake, also known as, pannekoek! Let’s face it, no school fete or market worth its salt, is complete without the requisite pancake stand.
The inspiration for this milk tart pancake mille-feuille came from several different sources. The first is based on food from my childhood, a kind of memoire to my mum for Mother’s Day. The second nudge came while hovering around at the airport waiting for a flight. Inevitably I found myself in Exclusive books, a paper haven for book hoarders, such as myself. Working my way through the newly released cookbooks, I picked up a copy of The South African Milktart collection, authored by Mari-Louis Guy and her brother, Callie Maritz. Cover to cover recipes dedicated entirely to this much loved milky dessert!
The clincher however, jumped out from the pages of UK food glossy, Olive. Beckoning to be made was a trendy matcha mille-feuille cake in all its green glory. With that, the deal was sealed and so this milk tart pancake stack was simply, a must.
The batter is made with the same basic recipe used in this chicken a la king filled pancake post. To it I’ve added ground cinnamon and castor sugar for a touch of sweetness. Layered between the pancakes is a milk tart custard enriched with whipped cream. A generous scattering of cinnamon sugar between each layer adds texture, flavour and crunch. It’s finished off with pillowy-soft whipped cream and a dredging of cinnamon sugar.
To make the mille-feuille cake stack, I’ve tripled the recipe. It yields slightly more pancakes than needed, but when were too many pancakes a problem?! Making pancakes is hardly challenging, but standing around flipping them is dull to say the least. I could practically knit a jumper while waiting for this lot to be done! Think happy thoughts and just persevere. Once layered up, I recommend chilling the stack for about an hour which makes slicing a whole lot easier. Remove the cake from the fridge about 30 minutes before serving so that the cold mellows. If you make this mille-feuille, we’d love to see your creation. Post it on the Bibbyskitchen facebook page or tag us on Instagram at Bibbyskitchen.
- Milk tart pancake mille-feuille
- 3 x quantity basic pancake mix
- ¼ cup water
- 6 tablespoons castor sugar
- 1½ teaspoons cinnamon sugar
- Milk tart filling
- 500ml (2 cups) full cream milk
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 30ml (2 tablespoons) cornflour
- 30ml (2 tablespoons) cake flour (all-purpose)
- 100ml full cream milk
- pinch of salt
- 80ml (1/3 cup) castor sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 500ml (2 cups) whipping cream
- 30ml (2 tablespoons) icing sugar
- cinnamon sugar
- Start by making the pancakes. To the basic pancake batter recipe, add the ¼ cup of water, sugar and cinnamon. Whisk until well combined and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.
- For the milk tart filling, heat 2 cups of milk and the cinnamon sticks in a saucepan over a medium heat.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the cornflour, cake flour, salt, castor sugar and eggs. Ensure the mixture is free from any lumps.
- Once the milk reaches boiling point, ladle half a cup of hot milk at a time into the egg mixture whisking all the while.
- Remove the cinnamon sticks and pour the milk mixture back into the pan.
- Over a low heat, bring the custard up to the boil, whisking all the while. Continue to cook for several minutes until the custard is thickened and to cook out the raw flour taste. Stir in the vanilla extract.
- Transfer the custard to a bowl and cover with cling film. Set aside to cool.
- Whisk the cream and icing sugar together until soft peak stage.
- Now whisk the cooled custard to loosen then fold half the cream into the custard.
- On a cake stand, start layering up the mille-feuille by placing a pancake on the base, spread with 2 tablespoons whipped custard cream. Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar.
- Repeat until the filling has been used up.
- Pile the remaining whipped cream on top and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
- Chill for about an hour to firm up before slicing with a sharp, smooth blade knife.