Crêpes Dentelles [Pailleté Feuilletine]

Pailleté feuilletine is a common ingredient in a lot of chef-ey recipes. All it is is crushed up pieces of crêpes dentelles, or lacey crêpes. The crêpes themselves are more like a tuile or a biscuit than the pancake-type dessert I imagine when I hear ‘crêpes’. These incredibly thin layers of sweet, caremelised crêpe are rolled up into a cigar shape, either with an opening large enough for a filling or no.

Cakecrumbs' Crepes Dentelles

I needed pailleté feuilletine for a cake I’m making soon, a cake with a massive list of obscure ingredients. I’ve resorted to making as many of the ingredients on my list as I can, both to cut costs and because it’s good fun.

In many places, crêpes dentelles, or the crushed form of them, are not difficult to find. But here in Australia, they are fairly obscure. It’s an item found almost exclusively in specialty food shops and is certainly not cheap for what you get. Making it at home was not only preferable for my hip pocket, but it produces a beautiful dessert along the way.

The batter is really simple to make. It begins with a bit of butter and sugar.

Cakecrumbs' Crepes Dentelles 01

And ends with a bit of flour and egg white. And salt, which I forgot, because I forget ingredients a lot. I seriously can’t follow recipes.

My batter also wasn’t as thin as some I’ve seen when looking up how to make these guys. I think my butter was still a little too cold, but it didn’t seem to make an ounce of difference.

Cakecrumbs' Crepes Dentelles 02

Once you have your batter done, spread it out onto a silicone mat. You can use baking paper if you don’t have a mat, but I always find it hand to get really thin layers of anything on paper- – it just shifts and creases on me and we end up having a fight. Silicone it is!

The key to these guys it getting it really thin. The width and length of the crêpe isn’t particularly important. I’m sure every single one of mine was a different size, but they all roll up fine.

Cakecrumbs' Crepes Dentelles 03

You can only do about 3 at a time, and each batch takes about 5 minutes so you’ll want to have some other task in the vicinity of your kitchen to kill the few minutes in between.

Cakecrumbs' Crepes Dentelles 04

When they’re done, the tricky party begins: rolling them. They’re not as delicate or finicky as I thought they might be. But they are hot. You’ll probably burn your fingers a lot, so you might want to use kitchen gloves or have ice water or something on hand to take the sting out of rolling them up. Or you can just ignore it all and press on like me. You build up quite a tolerance to kitchen burns after a while.

Cakecrumbs' Crepes Dentelles 05

I found they rolled best if given a few moments (as in 10-20 seconds) to cool once removed from the oven. When I tried to roll them immediately they were a little too limp to cooperate and tore easily. You can use a cannoli form as I did, or the handle of any large utensil. If you don’t wish to fill them, you can simply wrap them around a knife or similar for a flatter cigar shape. If you’re only making them to yield pailleté feuilletine then it doesn’t matter what you do to get them off the mat.

Cakecrumbs' Crepes Dentelles 06

I served mine with some strawberry cream I made by whipping up some cream with a little icing sugar and a bit of strawberry essence. You can fill them with and flavour cream, ice cream, mousse, custard or anything else you can dream of. Just make sure you only fill them right before serving.

Cakecrumbs' Crepes Dentelles 07

Filled or not, these taste incredible. It was hard to resist picking at all the little bits that flaked off while baking. I honestly expected them to be quite bland, but instead they’re addictive.

Cakecrumbs' Crepes Dentelles 08

They’re incredibly light and want to crumble all over the place. Being dainty and eating these do not go together well. But the mess is just half the fun.

Cakecrumbs' Crepes Dentelles 09

‘Making’ the pailleté feuilletine is simply a matter of crushing up the crêpes you’re not using. As you go, make sure to reserve any broken bits that flake off and add them to your pile. I got about 250g worth from this recipe.

Cakecrumbs' Crepes Dentelles 10

Crêpes Dentelles
Ingredients
110g (4oz) butter

1/2 cup (115g/3.75 oz) caster sugar

pinch of salt

1/2 cup (75g/2.5oz) flour

1 egg white (33g/1oz)

Method
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced/400°F).
  2. Cream butter, sugar and salt together until well combined. Whisk in the flour to form a paste; whisk in the egg white.
  3. Dollop spoonfuls of batter onto a silicone mat; use a palate knife or similar to spread the batter until it is incredibly thin.
  4. Transfer the mat onto an upside-down baking tray, then bake for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove the tray from the oven. Working quickly, place a cannoli form (or other utensil) at one end of the crêpe and wrap the end around it. Roll the cannoli form down the length of the crêpe, wrapping it tightly around the form as you go.
  6. Transfer the crêpes to a clean working surface to cool completely, then slde the form out from the centre of the crêpe. Wipe the silicone mat clean with a paper towel between batches and repeat the process until all the batter has been used up.
  7. If filling the crêpes, do so immediately before serving.
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17 thoughts on “Crêpes Dentelles [Pailleté Feuilletine]

    • They’d probably freeze well enough, but I’d worry that the moisture released when defrosting might soften them. They keep well enough stored at room temperature in a air-tight container – I pack them with one of those silica gel things you get in certain food items. Keeps the moisture away from them.

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  3. What was the cake recipe using the feuilletine that got you making these. I’m trying to emulate an amazing chocolate cake I had in Barcelona. The cream/buttercream filling had feuilletine in it and I can’t figure out how they stopped it from going soggy. Either way would love any cake recipe using it

  4. Did a double recipe and yielded around 500g+ of crumbs for my crunchy cake layers. I baked it @ 180C for 5mins but the color came out a little on the dark side. And it left quite a bit of oil on the silicon mats after baking (this is normal right?) The crepes were also on the oily side. Is it possible to reduce the butter used or increase the flour to ‘absorb’ the oil from the butter?

    • All ovens are a little different so it is best to use your own judgement in regards to baking times, especially with something that bakes so quickly and has so little room for error. My crepes were a little oily when first removed from the oven, but as they cool and harden this disappears. If you feel like you need to play with quantities, by all means do and let us know! This ratio does work perfectly for me but any feedback as to your experiences may help someone facing similar trouble.

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  6. This recipe is great and so much easier than BraveTart’s! I appreciate its simplicity. Your pictures helped me gauge the thinness of the batter as I spread it onto the Silpat. It came out like a dream! Thanks to you, I won’t need to mail-order my 2.5 kg box from Cacao Barry anymore… hahaha!!

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