Moving along, this is somewhat out of my comfort zone, and certainly well worth the effort. French Crepes are pancakes too, and in a much thinner and lighter form. Lately, there has been a craze here in Asia and possibly this originate either from the French or the Japanese or maybe a fusion of both. Anyhow, where it came from now has certainly driven me to further dig up the roots as they have come up with something so brilliant, transforming these light crepes into cakes. Layers and layers of french crepe, slathered with custard cream and topped with jam, glaze, or as simple as powdered sugar makes this my new found love for cakes. To start, and to many more to come, I am starting off with the basic classic love for VANILLA CUSTARD CREPE CAKE.
French Crepes are like pancakes, and much lighter. It can be served with both savoury or sweet filling. For me, I love textures and balance of flavours. Let me prepare you mentally and physically too. This is one challenge that requires a lot of patience, and organization is key. Although, I am no queen of organizing, but little preparation taken into consideration from the start of making the crepe batter, chilling it overnight, to standing in front of the stove for almost 2 hours, and moving into assembly stage is worth every step taken to complete the task. Plus the end result is satisfying.
For my VANILLA CUSTARD CREPE CAKE, I made 22-24 layers of french crepe, for a 7-inches round cake. Each layer is then evenly coated with made from scratch light, fluffy custard infused with fresh vanilla bean. Everything about this cake is LIGHT! It also looks rustic, and gives it that warmth, home feel edge. Which is something I love.
Although I love the conventional cakes, but it can be too heavy to sometimes. So why not have a switch for a change? Trust me, the effort is worth it. Savouring each bite makes this pleasurable!
Vanilla Custard Crepe Cake
by Chic & Gorgeous Treats
* serves 6
*makes around 24-26 layers of 7-inches round crepe
* cake can be kept up to 3 days, stored in an airtight container in a fridge
90g unsalted butter
750ml whole milk
170g all-purpose flour
100g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Vanilla Pastry Cream
500ml whole milk
1 vanilla bean, scraped and halved
6 egg yolks
115g caster sugar
pinch of salt
42g cornflour, sifted
3 1/2 tablespoons butter
400ml heavy cream, whipped soft peak
To prepare Crepes:
1. In a heavy-based saucepan, melt butter over low heat until lightly browned; set aside to cool. In another saucepan, heat milk until steaming hot, stirring often, set aside to cool. In a larger bowl, coming remaining ingredient and pour in the hot milk and browned butter. Lightly whisk until the batter is well combined, cover tightly with a cling wrap and, refrigerate overnight.
To cook the Crepes:
2. Bring crepe batter to room temperature. Heat a 7-inch or 9-inch nonstick frying pan over low-medium heat. Grease pan lightly with some unsalted butter. Add a ladle of crepe batter, swirl to form a thin crepe. Cook for 1 minute over low heat. Flip and cook the other side for another minute or edges are lightly golden in colour. Remove and set aside on a plate. Repeat with the remaining batter, stacking the crepes as you work.
To prepare the Pastry Cream:
3. In a heavy-base saucepan, combine milk and the seeds of vanilla bean. *Reserve the vanilla pod to make vanilla flavoured sugar. Place milk with vanilla bean over medium heat and remove off the heat before it comes to a boil. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, salt and cornflour. While whisking, pour some hot milk. Tip the mixture in to the remainder milk in the saucepan, whisking constantly cooking over high heat. Once the mixture thickens, coating the back of a wooden spoon, remove the vanilla custard off the heat.
4. Push the custard through a sieve to remove any lumps and set aside to cool to 60°C. Whisk in the butter. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for a couple of hours or until the vanilla custard thickens further. Whisk heavy cream to soft peaks, and gently fold it into the custard cream until well combine.
To assemble the Vanilla Custard Cake:
5. Lay a crepe on a cake stand or plate. Spread a thin layer of the Vanilla Pastry Cream with a spatula. Repeat until you have used up all of the crepes and ending the top with a crepe. There should be around 24-26 layers. Dust with powdered sugar or top the crepe cake with fresh berries or stone fruits. Keep refrigerated at all times. ENJOY!
*adapted from Flavours Mag, 2009.