Krepes in Greece, pancakes in the USA, pfannkuchen in Germany, blini in Russia, naleśniki in Poland, lefse in Norway, pönnukaka in Island, pikelets in Australia, cong yu bing in China, injera in Ethiopia…
Crepes are a favorite, savory or sweet delicacy all over the world! We researched their history and variations in our previous article “In the morning we eat pancakes like a king!“. This time, in our new, sweet article, we will make an awesome cake with crepes, orange cream with sangria and strawberries, and we will learn the history of French Crêpes Suzette, and also of Mille Crepe, a Japanese dessert made with French crepes!
In the professional book «Τεχνικές Ζαχαροπλαστικής και Επιδόρπια» by the great hospitality and culinary school Le Cordon Bleu that was sent to us by Tsitsilonis Editions we found an idea that inspired us look into the two desserts we will study. And we will surely try it too!
Crêpes Suzette are crepes usually served hot, topped with a sauce of butter, sugar, orange juice and liqueur, usually Grand Marnier. Their serving becomes even more impressive when in the end the liqueur gets set on fire, making them flambé. They are accompanied by orange slices and often a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
In search of the history of this dessert, we found that it was discovered by mistake -this often happens in pastry- by chef Carpentier in 1895 at the Café de Paris Monte-Carlo in Monaco. The Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VI of England, was a frequent visitor to Monaco. One day the prince was having dinner at Café de Paris, while chef Carpentier was making crepes with liqueur. Suddenly the pan caught fire!
It was quite by accident as I worked in front of a chafing dish that the cordials caught fire. I thought I was ruined. The Prince and his friends were waiting. How could I begin all over? I tasted it. It was, I thought, the most delicious melody of sweet flavors I had every tasted. I still think so. That accident of the flame was precisely what was needed to bring all those various instruments into one harmony of taste… He ate the pancakes with a fork; but he used a spoon to capture the remaining syrup. He asked me the name of that which he had eaten with so much relish.Extract from the memoire of Henri Charpentier Life à la Henri (source)
The prince was thrilled and asked what was the name of the recipe. The chef got surprised, but said that these crepes were invented for the occasion and suggested that they be called “Crepes Princesse”. The prince suggested naming the crepes after his female companion, Suzette.Therefore, the impressive cake owes its name to a charming young lady.
Japanese confectioner Emy Wada may be referring to Crespes Suzette when she says that most types of desserts with crepes can’t be taken home to enjoy later.
Taking crepes home was the reason Emy Wada created the Mille Crepe cake, as she told the Manila Times. Literally the name means a thousand crepes, just as millefeuille means a thousand leaves. In fact, the cake consists of at least twenty crepes placed in stacks with a filling between each layer.
Such a simple idea that can give endless taste combinations! To try the authentic Mille Crepe -or Crepe Cake as it is commonly called- we have to travel far, to Tokyo or Manila in the Philippines. There, at the Paper Moon café, one cand find Emy Wada’s creations.
We did a little research on the history of Japanese Emy Wada -also known as Lady M- and found that she began her career in the 1970s by supplying seven of the ten best cafes in Tokyo with her cakes. Elsewhere we read that in 1985 she launched the Paper Moon Cafés chain in Tokyo. In 2001, she expanded its operations in New York by supplying well-known chains and opening Lady M Boutique, which was later sold. She then focused on the Paper Moon chain in Tokyo, opening stores in Hong Kong and more recently in Manila, Philippines.
The original recipe includes at least twenty delicate crepes, thin as paper sheets, with pastry cream in between and a caramel coating. Other flavors we found on the pastry shop’s website are milk chocolate, raspberry cheesecake, tiramisu, strawberry, red velvet and more.
Even when we get back to normal, Tokyo and the Philippines will be a little far away… Nothing, of course, prevents us from trying to make something similar ourselves!
In the book «Τεχνικές ζαχαροπλαστικής και επιδόρπια» by the most famous culinary school in the world Le Cordon Bleu publishes by Tsitsilonis Editions one can find literary everything! We chose a crepe cake, making a small variation – we replaced the orange with strawberries which is their season. We quote the recipe as it is published in the book and then we will show you how our little variation came out!
Orange crepe cake
*We are translating the original recipe, as it is published in the book.
|For the crepes batter|
|100 gr flour|
|1/2 tsp salt|
|70 gr sugar|
|200 ml milk|
|100 ml heavy cream|
|30 gr melted butter|
|2 tbs beer|
|For the orange cream|
|200 ml heavy cream|
|20 gr powdered sugar|
|Orange zest of half an orange|
|1 tbs Cointreau|
|For the apricot glaze|
|100 gr apricot jam|
|50 ml water|
|2 tbs Cointreau|
Prepare the batter in advance and put it in the refrigerator for a maximum of 24 hours, until it is ready for use.
Peel an orange for the orange cream and keep the peel covered so that it doesn’t dry.
1. Prepare the batter for the crepes. Combine the flour, eggs, salt and sugar. Gradually add the milk and heavy cream and then the melted butter. At the end, add the beer, stir well and set the mixture aside.
2. For the orange cream, pour the cream into a cold bowl and combine with the icing sugar. Just before the cream starts to set, add the orange zest and then the Cointreau liqueur. Mix them well and put it into the refrigerator.
3. Peel an orange and slice the fruit. Remove seeds and membranes. Set them aside and cover with a towel or bowl.
4. Fry the crepes in a non-stick pan. If the batter is too thick, you can dilute it by adding a little milk and stir before cooking. Heat a small amount of clarified butter in the pan. Add 1-2 tbs of the batter into the hot pan and stir to spread evenly on the base of the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the edges of the crepe are easily lifted from the pan and the bottom is browned. Flip the crepe to the other side and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes, until golden brown. Repeat the process with the rest of the batter, making a total of 12-14 crepes, which you put into a warm oven until the mold is ready.
5. Set aside 3-4 crepes and several slices of orange for the final garnish. Prepare a Charlotte mold. For the unmolding to be easier, line the mold with cling film, making sure to leave enough on the outside of the edge to cover the finished cake. Line the mold with 2 crepes, leaving their mold hanging out of the edge of the form.
6. Fill a piping bag with the orange cream and spread a layer on the base of the form. Place 3-4 slices of orange on top of the cream and place a crepe on top, folding its edges properly. Repeat until it reaches the edge of the form and then fold the loose ends of the two crepes on top. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 2-3 hours until well chilled.
7. When you are ready to serve, prepare the apricot glaze. Heat the apricot jam slightly in a saucepan until it starts to liquefy and then add the water and let it boil, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat, allow to cool slightly and then remove the cling film. Strain the jam glaze and pour half of the liquid over the cake. Take the 3-4 crepes that you had left aside and glaze them with a brush or dip them into the glaze one by one. Then, fold them into different shapes and decorate the top of the cake. Add the orange slices you kept in between and over the folded crepes. When serving, pour the rest of the hot Cointreau liqueur over the dessert and make it flambé!
Η τούρτα βγαίνει πανέμορφη και πεντανόστιμη, καθώς το βιβλίο μπορεί να είναι επαγγελματικό, αλλά οι αναλυτικές οδηγίες του το κάνουν χρήσιμο για κάθε λάτρη της ζαχαροπλαστικής!
The cake turns out beautiful and delicious! The book may be professional, but its detailed instructions make it useful for any pastry lover!
Make a crepe cake yourselves amd impress your beloved ones with a stunning and at the same time homely dessert! Comfort food as they say…
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