Archive for March, 2010

Tea With The Girls

Crepe Cake © 2010 thepluckygastronome.wordpress.comLast fall, my sister flew into NYC and my daughter and I got together at our favorite tea room near Gramercy Park. Taking tea is our favorite pastime and if you are ever in New York, visit Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon. It was the perfect spot for us to catch up on each other’s lives.

The art of tea is enjoying a resurgence. It offers quiet conversation, reflection and being in the moment. Tea can offer a blissful “cell phone free” zone that can recharge your tired soul. When my daughter left for college, one of the things she wanted to take was her Blue Willow tea pot. She and I have always looked forward to our ritual cuppa of Earl Grey. Now that I am on spring break, I have the time to create a cake inspired by the signature dessert at our favorite tea spot. I am on my way down for a brief visit with my daughter to bring her a piece of this decadent confection.

Put the pot on! Mum’s coming in for tea!

Raspberry Crepe Cake

For this recipe, you will need at least 10 7-inch crepes. I used my favorite crepe recipe but exchanged the milk with an equal amount of the new Almond Milk product that I am seeing advertised. It tastes great and is better for you too with only 60 calories a serving.

I use a 7-inch de Buyer blue steel crepe pan but you can use any flat frying pan.

2 eggs
1 cup Almond Milk
1/4 cup water
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tablespoon sugar
1 tsp almond extract

Whirl all in blender and add 3 tablespoons of melted butter in a steady stream. Let mixture sit for 5 minutes before firing up your pan.

Heat pan on medium heat. You want to butter up the pan slightly if you are using blue steel or other traditional uncoated pan. The pan is ready to use when the batter sizzles when it is placed in the pan. You will need to use a little wrist action to evenly coat the pan with the batter. Let the crepe cook for 3 minutes. Gently loosen the crepe and check the bottom to see if it the desired “doneness.” You want to see nicely brown–not too dark. If you like what you see, flip that puppy over and cook the other side.

Word of note: The first crepe is always “for the cook” which is a polite way of saying that it looks like crap and you will eat or toss it in the trash, depending on how charred it is. You will have to adjust your heat as each stove has its own unique characteristics. Trust me, by the time you get done making two batches of these puppies, you will be an expert.

When crepe is done, flip out onto a cooling rack or towel. You can stack your cooled crepes and (placing a piece of parchment paper between the layers) store them in a freezer bag and use another day.

The Filling

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the following:

2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar (Can substitute superfine sugar, but let it dissolve so you don’t have crunchy-munchie filling)
8.8 oz mascarpone cheese
1-2 tsp almond extract

Start mixer slowly. When ingredients are incorporated, turn speed to high and whip until peaks form and is a spreadable consistency.

Assembling The Masterpiece

Save the best looking of your crepes to be the top layer. Use an offset spatula to spread a golf-ball-sized dollop of mascarpone cream on each crepe. It is easier to spread each crepe in hand and then place it on the stack, or you will be chasing your crepe around the plate. Repeat until you have a mouth-watering stack of those puppies. Place the whole plate in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours until things firm up.

Serving Your Masterpiece

The beauty of this cake is that it can be adapted to many different tastes and flavors. I prefer raspberry. Here is a quick Raspberry Sauce recipe:

12 oz package unsweetened frozen raspberries, thawed
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp cornstarch or arrowroot
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Zap the berries in your blender until pureed. Strain through a fine sieve into small saucepan. Add sugar, cornstarch and vanilla and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cool in refrigerator, then serve drizzled over cake.
Tip: Go to the cake decorating section of your favorite craft store and pick up one of those plastic squeeze bottles and your drizzle will sizzle.

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