Crêpes are truly an international dish. While the name itself, “crêpe”, became generic albeit in a French form, which for some reason does sound sexier than a “blin” for instance (the Russian version, c’est la vie). Almost every culture on the planet has a variation of a crepe, basically a very thin pancake which can be prepared using a vast variety of milled grains and can be served for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert (just think of a tortilla, pancake, blinchik, wrap, crepe Suzette, etc.). During our Scandinavian trip we discovered that crêpes are very much admired in Swedish culture as well, and this inspired me to make this dessert. My version is made with the traditional French crêpes with a light lemony filling, which adds a delightful sweet and sour twist to this crêpe cake. To add a touch of chic, scatter some edible flower petals and more berries, I used red and white currents on top and served it with Riesling Ice Wine from Canada to elevate the experience.
The crêpes can be made a day ahead. Keep them at room temperature, covered with the kitchen towel. Right before your guests arrival, simply layer the crêpes with lemony filling alternating the with the pain crêpe.
To make the Lemon Curd
Finely grate the lemon zest from five-six medium lemons.
Squeeze 1/3 cup of lemon juice from three-four lemons.
Separate four large egg yolks. Set aside.
Place all ingredients, except the butter, in a large heatproof bowl and whisk to combine. Set the bowl over, but not touching, the simmering water and whisk constantly until the yolks thicken and the mixture forms ribbons when the whisker is lifted from the bowl (about 10-12 minutes).
Remove the bowl from the simmering water; whisk in the butter one piece at a time, waiting until each piece is completely melted and incorporated before adding another.
Set a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl. Strain the curd while pressing on the solids and scraping the extra curd clinging to the underside of the strainer into the bowl; discard the solids left in the strainer.
Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a layer of skin from forming on top. Refrigerate until set and chilled, at least three hours. The curd can be made and refrigerated up to five days ahead.
To make the Crêpes
In a blender, combine flour, sugar, salt, milk, eggs, and butter. Puree until mixture is smooth and bubbles form on top, about 30 seconds. Let batter sit at least 15 minutes at room temperature (or refrigerate in an airtight container, up to one day; whisk before using).
Heat a nine-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Lightly spray with oil spray, shake well before using.
Add 1/3 cup batter and swirl to completely cover bottom of skillet. Cook until underside of crêpe is golden brown, two to three minutes. Once the skillet gets really hot adjust the heat so that the crêpes won’t burn, they should look golden brown but not burned.
By using one third of a cup of batter, you will have approximately 22-23 crêpes.
Lemon Curd/ Whipped Cream Filling
Using an electric mixer on a medium high speed whisk together cold heavy cream, Greek yogurt, confectioner’s sugar and vanilla extract until thick but not stiff.
In a figure-eight motion add small batches of whipped cream into the lemon curd, fold in lightly with a rubber spatula keeping the light touch to conserve the air bubbles. The mixture has to remain thick and not runny.
Crush half a cup of raspberries with a fork.
Fold in crushed raspberries into the mixture.
To assemble, place one crêpe at a time onto a serving cake stand or platter; spread a thin layer of lemony filling on top alternating with a plain crêpe. Repeat with the rest of the crêpes. Top the tiers with the last crepe and finish with a thin layer of leftover filling. Scatter some fresh raspberries, currents and lemon zest. Decorate with mint leaves, edible flower petals and dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired.
Napoleon-Style Crêpe Cake with Lemony Filling & Berries
recipe detailsServes 6-8
For the Crêpes (approximately 23 crêpes)
- 2 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 3 cups whole milk
- 8 large eggs
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- High Heat Organic Sunflower Spay Oil
For the Lemon Curd
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup finely grated, loosely packed lemon zest (from about 5 to 6 medium lemons)
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 3 to 4 lemons)
- 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), cut into 6 pieces, at room temperature
- 1 1/3 cup raspberries (split in half, ½ slightly crushed)
- ½ cup red/white currents
For the Whipped Cream
- 1 ½ cups cold heavy cream
- 1 cup Greek Yogurt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon of confectioner’s sugar
- Confectioner’s sugar
- Edible organic flower petals
- 2 springs mint leaves
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
KITCHEN TIP Butter has the lowest smoke point; it starts to burn when heated. Instead, use Sunflower oil spray, it is easy in its application and is ideal for high heat cooking like sautéing and frying.
To assemble Place one crepe at a time onto a serving cake stand or plate; spread with a thin layer of lemony filling, alternating with a plain crepe. Repeat with the rest of the crepes. Top the tiers with the last crepe and finish with a thin layer of leftover filling. Scatter some fresh raspberries, currents and lemon zest. Decorate with mint leaves, edible flower petals and dust with confectioners’ sugar.
Wine Pairing Inniskillin Riesling Icewine, Niagara Peninsula, Canada 2008