Monday, October 17, 2011

Raspberry Dessert Weekend (Part 1)

This past weekend was filled with family and food. One of my cousins just had a baby (Elodie, 2 weeks old as of yesterday) and my other cousins visited from the west coast with their 3 year old and 1 year old (who I hadn't met yet) and a third cousin got married on Saturday.

I visited Elodie and wanted to bring something so I just whipped together a crepe cake. It can be a bit time consuming if you're not great at flipping crepes, but it's probably the most foolproof, easy, no-nonsense cake you can make (and requires few ingredients). I decided to do a Nutella and raspberry mascarpone filled crepe cake but you can get pretty creative. Some filling suggestions: chocolate ganache, mashed strawberries, lemon curd, any jam or jelly, the possibilities are endless.

Crepe Batter Ingredients (I learned and memorized this recipe back in middle school during a fun let's-make-crepes French class lesson; you can certainly use your go-to crepe recipe)
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons melted butter (unsalted)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Filling Ingredients
1 cup raspberries (makes about 1/2 cup once they're all mashed up)
2 teaspoons sugar
8 oz. container of mascarpone cheese
Nutella (I ended up using about 1/2 of the smallest jar available)

To make the crepes, combine the wet ingredients and then sift in the dry ingredients. Whisk until barely combined and then refrigerate for an hour. According to Food Network hosts, this is to let the gluten in the flour calm down and that will give you a more tender crepe.

I used a tiny teflon frying pan to make my crepes and used some unsalted butter to lube up the pan. I used a tiny ladle (holds about 1/8 cup, maybe a tiny bit more) to scoop the batter into the frying pan. You can watch some Food Network or youtube videos for visual advice on how to make crepes but I like to pick the pan up off the stove and bring it close to my batter bowl so I don't drip batter. I ladle the crepe batter into the center while swirling the pan with my wrist to get the batter to spread thinly across the surface. After a few seconds, I'll lift the side of the crepe with a butter knife to check how brown it is and if it's ready, I'll grab it with my fingers to flip it.

I made about 30 crepes and while they were cooling, I mashed up some raspberries with the sugar to mix into the mascarpone cheese. I didn't want the raspberry mascarpone to be too sweet because the Nutella was going to add a ton of sweetness.

so pink and pretty!

Once the crepes were sufficiently cooled, I'd spread the nutella on a crepe and put it on my serving tray and then spread pink raspberry cream on another crepe and add it to the stack on the serving tray until I ran out of crepes. The last crepe to go on should be plain.
raspberry mascarpone
nutella
I was really pleased with the final product. I stuck a toothpick in the middle (inserted about 3/4 of the way) and then added a raspberry on top for decoration. The toothpick served two purposes - some added stability for the top layers of crepes (that would be more prone to sliding off) and to keep the raspberry in place. I put the cake in a cardboard box (a pretty black box from Bumble & Bumble) to make transporting it easier.

The sliced cake looked really good. You could see the pretty pink and brown layers of filling and the combination of chocolate, hazelnut, and raspberry was really good. Easy, right?

Bon appetit!

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