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Thursday, May 17, 2012
Gâteau de Crêpes
The competition was stiff. The judges, discerning. But the votes came in and the votes don't lie - Gâteau de Crêpes was the cake to beat all.
Gâteau de Crêpes
Serves 10 or more
For the crepe batter:
6 tablespoons butter
3 cups milk
1 1/2 cups flour
7 tablespoons sugar
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
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar or more
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. 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 to 1/3 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.
Recipe from New York Times, 5/15/05 who adapted the batter from ”Joy of Cooking” and the pastry cream from ”Desserts,” by Pierre Herme and Dorie Greenspan, all via Smitten Kitchen and Dessert Club member A. M.