Pailleté Feuilletine and Crêpes Dentelles (lacey crêpes)
Pailleté (or Paillets) feuilletine are broken up pieces of dried caramelized crepes dentelles (lacey crêpes). They are more like a tuile or crunchy wafers. These incredibly thin layers of sweet are rolled up into a cigar shape some time large enough for a filling.
Pailleté Feuilletine (another name for these is the brand-name called ‘Gavottes’) is common ingredient in French pastry. It is the perfect companion if you want to play with contrasts in taste and texture. Its delicious taste is highly compatible with chocolate. At the same time, its crunchiness will give your pralines, tablets, pastries and desserts even more depth and refinement. Use it to give smooth center a crispy bite.
I often need pailleté feuilletine for an entremet (French cake). In States, they are difficult to find. They’re sold exclusively in specialty food shops and they are certainly not cheap for what you get. I recently I found out that I could make them at home, they will be fresher and crunchier, and probably superior than store-bought.
(Yields 20 Crepes Dentelles (lacey crêpes) using a 8 cm x 20 cm template)
- 60 g melted butter
- 100 g sugar
- 35 g (1) egg white
- 60 g flour
- 40 ml of water (3 tablespoon)
- A stencil template (optional)
- Metal spatula
- Two or more sheets of Silpat
- One or two 1/4 size baking sheets
1. Preheat the oven to 400 ºF (200 ºC) .
2. Melt the butter completely in a mixing bowl.
3. Put the sugar in the hot melted butter. Stir until the sugar has dissolved , it should not be grainy.
4. Whisk in egg white.
5. Sift in the flour.
6. Use a whisk to mix in to paste.
The batter should be very thin and runny like heavy cream. If too thick, the surface will be rough with air bubbles. If too thin, you will be having trouble shaping it.
8. Lay the stencil template on the silpat. Hold down to keep it flat and in place. Spread on the batter evenly with the spatula. The template (I’m using) thickness is 1/16″ ( = 1.5 mm).
9. Spread the batter thin. You can almost see through to the mesh of the silpat. Don’t spread too many shapes on one tray. When the time comes to rolling them in to Crepes Dentelle shapes, you have only about 15 seconds to do so before it’s too rigid. About two spreads per tray would be perfect.
10. Place the silpat on the baking tray.
12. In the meantime, while you wait for it to be baked, spread the next batch on another silpat.
13. They are done when there are no white areas. But be careful not to over-bake. It takes extra 10 seconds to burn them. Use your first batch to get familiar with the correct shade of brown.
14. If making Paillets Feuilletine, take the baked sheets off the silpat to cool, then crush with your fingers.
16. Continue baking by swapping turns between the two baking sheets. Just remember to clean off any excess bits on the silpat before using it.
You can fill them with any cream or just eat them with your coffee or tea. Just make sure you only fill them with the cream few minutes before serving.