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Entries in crepe (1)

Monday
Jan032011

Gateau de Crepes from "The Essential New York Times Cookbook"


 

They are all over the place.  Every time I turn around another one just grabs my attention.   They are almost impossible for me to ignore.  Burning holes in the back of my head, staring me down as I travel from store to store, aisle to aisle.  A good looking one will catch my eye and I’ll think about it and think about it until I can’t stand it anymore.  Then usually desire takes over and BOOM – I own another cookbook.  Well with this one, I stupidly held off working on the “I need another cookbook like a fish needs a bicycle” and “Christmas is coming” mottos.  And I got my wish – The Essential New York Times Cook Book by Amanda Hesser.  YES – it’s fabulous!  I’ve been reading it ever since Santa (okay, my son Luke) placed it under the tree.  I love her background stories with each recipe and I love the twists and updates on the classics.  I love her straight forward recipe writing approach - no nonsense - this is how you do it sort of way. 

The first recipe I tried was her Gateau de Crepe.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate a recipe that works and does so perfectly.  The crepe recipe made exactly 20 crepes.  The pastry cream recipe made exactly enough for filling the 20 crepes.  The cake wobbled a bit but did not fall down (which was my fear when I thought about making this in the past) and was absolutely one of the most delicious desserts I have ever made.  So, thank you Amanda Hesser for a wonderful New Years Eve dessert and a new tradition.

For the crepe batter:

6 tablespoons butter

3 cups milk

6 eggs

1 1/2 cups flour

7 tablespoons sugar

Pinch salt

For the vanilla pastry cream:

2 cups milk

1 vanilla bean, halved and scraped

6 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted

3 1/2 tablespoons butter

For the assembly:

Corn oil

2 cups heavy cream

1 tablespoon sugar or more

3 tablespoons Kirsch 
(I used Grand Marnier)

Confectioners' sugar.

1. The day before, make the crepe batter and the pastry cream. Batter: In a small pan, cook the butter until brown like hazelnuts. Set aside. In another small pan, heat the milk until steaming; allow to cool for 10 minutes. In a mixer on medium-low speed, beat together the eggs, flour, sugar and salt. Slowly add the hot milk and browned butter. Pour into a container with a spout, cover and refrigerate overnight.

2. Pastry cream: Bring the milk with the vanilla bean (and scrapings) to a boil, then set aside for 10 minutes; remove bean. Fill a large bowl with ice and set aside a small bowl that can hold the finished pastry cream and be placed in this ice bath.

3. In a medium heavy-bottomed pan, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch. Gradually whisk in the hot milk, then place pan over high heat and bring to a boil, whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes. Press the pastry cream through a fine-meshed sieve into the small bowl. Set the bowl in the ice bath and stir until the temperature reaches 140 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Stir in the butter. When completely cool, cover and refrigerate.

4. Assemble the cake the next day: Bring the batter to room temperature. Place a nonstick or seasoned 9-inch crepe pan over medium heat. Swab the surface with the oil, then add about 3 tablespoons batter and swirl to cover the surface. Cook until the bottom just begins to brown, about 1 minute, then carefully lift an edge and flip the crepe with your fingers. Cook on the other side for no longer than 5 seconds. Flip the crepe onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Repeat until you have 20 perfect crepes.

 

5. Pass the pastry cream through a sieve once more. Whip the heavy cream with the tablespoon sugar and the Kirsch. It won't hold peaks. Fold it into the pastry cream.

6. Lay 1 crepe on a cake plate. Using an icing spatula, completely cover with a thin layer of pastry cream (about 1/4 cup). Cover with a crepe and repeat to make a stack of 20, with the best-looking crepe on top. Chill for at least 2 hours. Set out for 30 minutes before serving. If you have a blowtorch for creme brulee, sprinkle the top crepe with 2 tablespoons sugar and caramelize with the torch; otherwise, dust with confectioners' sugar. Slice like a cake.

Batter adapted from Joy of Cooking.  Pastry cream adapted from Desserts, by Pierre Herme and Dorie Greenspan. Serves 10.

It’s All Delicious Notes:  Recipe from The Essential New York Times Cook Book by Amanda Hesser