Every other Friday, Yossy Arefi from Apt. 2B Baking Co. shares dessert projects that demand a little extra time and effort. Because your weekends should always be sweet.
Today: What's more impressive than homemade crêpes? Twenty homemade crêpes layered with pastry cream. (It's easy, we promise.)
Crêpe cake is the kind of dessert that looks super fancy and impressive -- luckily, though, it isn’t too hard to make. It will take some time at the stove, but once you roll up your sleeves and get a rhythm going, the crêpes will practically flip themselves out of the pan.
You’ll need about 20 crêpes for this cake, but don't stress about it -- a couple more or less is fine, too. Don't worry about your ability to make that many crêpes in one go, either. You only really need one nice-looking one to go on top, and even that will be covered with powdered sugar. The rest is held together by delicious pastry cream (also easy to make!), so it's no matter if they have some rips or holes.
More: Every crêpe master needs a crêpe pan.
Speaking of pastry cream, you’ll need to make a batch of that, too. Then whip up some cream and mix the two together. While you're at it, add some rum to the mix -- because why not? Once the crêpes and cream are ready to go, stack everything up and top the whole thing with powdered sugar just before serving.
A tip: If your crêpes stick to the pan, make sure to fully preheat the pan before adding any oil (not butter in this case). I lightly greased a stainless steel skillet (not non-stick) in between every crêpe, and I didn’t have any problems with sticking.
Serves 10 to 12
For the crêpes:
3 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
Zest and juice of one lemon
3 cups milk
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.
In another large bowl or measuring cup, thoroughly whisk together the milk, eggs, oil, and lemon juice and zest.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until the mixture is well combined and no lumps remain. Let the batter rest for about an hour while you prepare the filling.
When you are ready to cook the crêpes, heat a lightly greased 9-inch pan over medium. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into the pan and swirl to cover the bottom completely. Cook until the bottom just begins to brown, then flip and cook for another 20 seconds or so.
More: Use any leftover crêpes for a savory snack.
Flip the crêpe onto a baking sheet or countertop lined with parchment paper. Repeat until you've used all of the batter. This recipe should make between 20 and 30 crepes; you'll need about 20 crêpes for the cake.
For the filling:
2 cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean
2/3 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch of salt
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon rum
Split the vanilla bean lengthwise with a sharp knife. Add it and the milk to a medium saucepan and heat to just below a simmer. Turn off the heat and let the cream infuse for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, egg yolks, cornstarch, and salt. It will stick together in a big clump at first, but keep whisking until it is light yellow and well combined.
Remove the vanilla bean and squeeze all of the seeds into the milk; rinse off the pod and reserve it for another use. Return the milk to the stove and heat the milk to just below a simmer.
More: It's time to start making better whipped cream.
Slowly whisk the hot milk into the egg mixture until well combined. Pour the mixture back into the pan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly. Once the mixture begins to bubble, continue to whisk vigorously and cook for one more minute.
Strain the pastry cream through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and cool completely. Whip the cream to almost stiff peaks, then whisk it into the cooled pastry cream. Whisk in the rum.
To build the cake, place one crêpe on a serving plate and spread about 3 tablespoons of the pastry cream on top. Layer another crêpe on top and repeat the process until all of the pastry cream and crêpes are used. Make sure to save a nice looking crêpe for the top! Chill the cake for at least 4 hours or overnight before slicing and serving. If you like, dust the top with confectioner's sugar just before serving.
Photos by Yossy Arefi