If they like piña coladas, and gorgeous sweets for dessert, they'll go gaga for this crêpe cake layered with coconut-infused pastry cream. You can make the filling and the crêpes (all 40 of them) up to three days ahead, so there's no need to stress the day of. This recipe comes from Martha Stewart's Fruit Desserts: 100+ Ways to Savor the Best of Every Season ($24.49, amazon.com).

Martha Stewart Living, September 2021


Credit: Johnny Miller

Recipe Summary



Pastry Cream:


Instructions Checklist
  • Pastry cream: In a large sauce-pan, bring milk, coconut, and salt to just under a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand until cool, about 2 hours. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve; discard solids.

  • In a medium saucepan, whisk together granulated sugar and cornstarch. Whisk in egg yolks, then milk mixture. Stir in butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then continue to cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Pass mixture through fine-mesh sieve. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto surface of pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

  • Crêpes: Combine flour, granulated sugar, salt, milk, eggs, vanilla, and melted butter in a blender. Blend until smooth. Refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

  • Lightly brush an 8-inch non-stick skillet or crêpe pan with butter. Heat over medium until just starting to smoke. Remove from heat and pour a scant 2 tablespoons batter into center, swirling to cover bottom. Cook until edges are golden and center is dry, about 30 seconds. Flip and cook about 20 seconds more. Slide crêpe onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining batter, brushing skillet with more butter and adjusting heat as needed; stack crêpes as you go (you should end up with about 40). Let cool completely. Crêpes can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 3 days.

  • Whisk chilled pastry cream to remove any lumps. In a medium bowl, whip 1 cup heavy cream to stiff peaks. Fold into pastry cream. Place a crêpe on a flat serving dish. Spread about 1/4 cup pastry cream onto crêpe. Repeat process with remaining crêpes and pastry cream, finishing with a crêpe. Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

  • To serve, whip remaining 1 cup heavy cream with confectioners' sugar to stiff peaks. Arrange pineapple slices on top of cake, overlapping slightly. Dollop whipped cream on top and garnish with toasted coconut.

Cook's Notes

We like the slightly imperfect look of crêpes piled up freehand, but you can assemble them in a springform pan for perfectly straight edges. 

If possible, assemble this dessert 12 hours ahead, so it has plenty of time to chill and set before being topped with more fruit.