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Author Notes: This beautiful 20-layered crepe cake is one of my proudest creations. Delicately tender crepes are layered with lush liquered mascarpone cream and delightfully dark chocolate. The yen to make a crepe cake first came from a picture on Martha Stewart's site and Amanda's article in the New York Times - Building a Modern, Multistoried Dessert. The idea to make a tiramisu version came from Julia Child's admonition to never "debase" your dessert by using inferior store-bought ladyfingers. While the cake does take a little time to put together, the individual steps are simple and the final result is a showstopping decadence. The cake, once chilled, slices easily and the sight of all those layers always impresses. —Heena
Crepes (Makes 20 crepes)
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 3 cups whole milk
- 6 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- pinch of salt
- 3 tablespoons Kahlua/Baileys
- At least 6 hours or the night before: Brown the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan, scraping the pan occasionally.
- Heat the milk in another saucepan until it comes to a gentle simmer. Remove pan from heat and cool for 10 mins.
- Add eggs, flour, sugar, salt, liqueur into a blender and beat on medium speed just until you get a smooth batter. Add the milk and butter slowly and blend.
- Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
- Take the batter out and allow it to come to room temperature.
- Heat a 6 inch non-stick or seasoned pan. Brush the surface lightly with butter.
- Pour a scant 1/4 cup of batter and lift and swirl the pan quickly but gently so that the batter coats the pan evenly. Cook until the bottom just begins to brown, about 1 min. Then loosen the edge with a knife, pick up the crepe with your fingers and flip it over. (This is much easier than it sounds.) Cook the other side for about 10 seconds. Flip the crepe onto a baking sheet/plate lined with parchment. Continue till you have 20 golden crepes.
Tiramisu Crepe Cake
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 3/4 cup sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup chilled heavy cream
- 8 ounces mascarpone
- 1/3 cup (or according to taste) Kahlua/Baileys
- 3 ounces dark chocolate (I use 60% cocoa)
- Make the tiramisu cream: Beat the egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar over a double boiler at medium speed until pale and thick, about 2 mins. (Keep the heat gentle.) Keep aside to cool.
- Beat egg whites and pinch of salt with cleaned beaters just until soft peaks form. Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time and beat just until stiff peaks begin to form.
- Beat cream in another bowl with cleaned beaters just until soft peaks form.
- Beat mascarpone and liqueur into the cooled egg yolk mixture just until combined. Fold cream gently into the mixture, then fold in the egg whites. Chill, covered, for 1-2 hours.
- Assemble the cake: Start with a crepe, spread a thin layer of mascarpone cream over (about 1 1/2 tablespoon) and finely grate chocolate over that. Repeat, finishing with the last crepe. Chill layers and remaining cream for about an hour. Frost the top and sides of the cake with remaining cream. Finely grate chocolate all over. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
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