It’s Crepe Week! I love these collaborative cooking weeks with my blogging buddies. Having never made crepes before, I’ll admit this one caused me some doubt and anxiety. Then I read the America’s Test Kitchen crepe recipe we chose as our common element, and those doubts evaporated. I’ve said before that I’m a huge fan of America’s Test Kitchen. Why? Because they work diligently to perfect all of their recipes; they do the work so you don’t have to.
For Crepe Week, we’re using this America’s Test Kitchen Crepe Recipe. It’s so adaptable and easy to follow, my fears evaporated when my first crepe came out of the pan. It was perfect. They’re so easy, your French friends will sing your praises with “Vous êtes tellement fabuleux parce que vous pouvez faire des crêpes. Je suis très impressionné!” Translated, that’s “You are so fabulous because you make crepes. I am so impressed!” Now that I know how easy crepes are to make, this could become a regular and delicious thing.
Love to cook? Then I encourage you to register as a user of the ATK website. It’s free, it only takes a second, and you’ll find yourself going there over and over to take advantage of their recipe collection. As a bonus, there’s a video linked to this recipe so you can watch their crepe-making tutorial. They really do think of everything. And now, here’s my contribution to Crepe Week.
Lemon Cream Crepe Cakes for Two
makes two 3″ diameter crepe cakes
For the lemon cream:
one box (5 ozs.) Jell-O Cook & Serve Vanilla Pudding Mix
2 cups milk (whole or 2% works best)
1 carton (6 ozs.) lemon-flavored yogurt
1/2 jar (9.5 ozs.) Dickinson’s lemon curd (or your favorite)
In a saucepan, whisk the pudding mix and milk until well blended. Cook over medium heat, whisking often, until the mixture is thick and smooth; remove from heat and allow to cool completely. To speed up the cooling process, I like to transfer the pudding to a mixing bowl and set it over an ice bath; just whisk often to prevent lumps. Once the pudding is chilled, whisk in the lemon yogurt and half of the jar of lemon curd (4-5 ounces) until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator while you make the crepes.
For the crepes:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup whole milk
3 large eggs
2 tablespoon butter, melted & cooled
a non-stick skillet or crepe pan
1/2 teaspoon of oil for the skillet
I followed the America’s Test Kitchen crepe recipe exactly as it was written. As a crepe novice, I had no intention of playing around with this. The key to perfect crepes is to properly oil and pre-heat the pan for 10 minutes, so don’t skip that part. Mix up the crepe batter and cook as directed. If you don’t have a crepe pan, don’t worry. I used a 10″ non-stick skillet and it worked perfectly. I also prepped 12-14 sheets of waxed paper and stacked my cooked crepes to keep them from drying out. Let the crepes cool completely.
When I finished my crepes, the stack was about 1″ to 1.5″ tall. Since I had envisioned a crepe cake at least 3-4″ tall, this was a problem. And because there are only two of us at home, it made no sense to make 2-3 more recipes for crepes. Two people really shouldn’t eat 36-48 full-size crepes. Instead, I decided to grab my 3″ biscuit cutter and turn my 12 full-size crepes into mini-crepes, as pictured. In my case, that was 3 minis per crepe for 36 total.
Once cut, I layered them in waxed paper again and covered them with a clean kitchen towel to prevent any air from getting to them and drying them out while I assembled the crepe cakes. It actually worked really well, as I could peel off one sheet of waxed paper and work with a few crepes at a time.
With my baby crepes cut and prepped, I was ready to assemble. Removing the lemon cream from the fridge, I gave it one last whisk to add a little air, then I grabbed a spoon from my silverware drawer and dug in for a sample. My eyes then rolled back in my head and I murmured “Man! That is really great stuff!” But that’s not really part of the recipe. :)
Now, layering custard between crepes and stacking them high can be a slippery mess. I was warned of this by another blogger before I started. So with a little forethought and planning, I decided to build my crepe cake on a piece of waxed paper so I could move it easily from my cutting board to my cake plate. I also decided to build each crepe cake inside the same biscuit cutter I used to cut mini-crepes to help keep them straight and tall. It was a good call.
Starting with a baby crepe, I laid it into the mold and made sure it was flat against the waxed paper. I then spooned in one tablespoon of lemon cream and topped it with another crepe. Using a flat-bottomed juice glass, I lightly pressed the crepe into place, working around the edges of the mold just until the crepe was flat and I could see the custard around the edges. The key here was to press gently enough to disperse the custard evenly between the crepe layers, but not so hard that the custard squished out. The juice glass worked perfectly.
Once I hit the top of the mold, I finished with a good layer of lemon cream. I confess – the hardest part of crepe cake construction is controlling the urge to hork down the entire bowl of lemon cream with a big spoon. I kid you not.
Now here’s an important tip: to keep the cakes from collapsing like dominoes when the mold is removed, cut two bamboo skewers about a 1/2″ taller than the crepe cake and pushed them in just off-center. Then put the crepe cake into the refrigerator (still inside the mold) to firm up completely. Before serving, run a thin-bladed knife around the edge of the mold and lift it off; remove the skewers and top each crepe cake with whipped cream and a fresh slice of lemon. Voilà! Light, lemon lusciousness in single-serve form.
Here’s what I learned:
1.) This was so much easier than I had imagined, and so fun to make!
2.) No biscuit cutter? Use a clean empty can with both ends cut off.
3.) Stacking these higher than 3″-4″ will make them tricky to eat.
4.) Slide these off the waxed paper onto a plate before removing the mold.
5.) You can substitute any filling – other custards, jam, ice cream, etc.
6.) Leftover lemon cream makes excellent popsicles or fro-yo; seriously.
Now, here’s the best part of Crepe Week! Eleven other bloggers are putting up their best crepe creations throughout the week and four will be giving away the following America’s Test Kitchen cookbooks thanks to the fine folks at ATK: the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook, the Baking Illustrated Cookbook, the Family Baking Cookbook, and Simple Weeknight Favorites. Also, be sure to check out the Crepe Pan Giveaway sponsored by King Arthur Flour on Bakeaholic Mama’s blog starting this Thursday. This week promises to be epic, so be sure to follow our Crepe Week shenanigans and enter to win!
Also on tap as Crepe Week unfolds:
Monica @ The Grommom – savory Prosciutto & Asparagus Crepes with Fresh Mango Cream Sauce
Mads @ La Petite Pancake – sweet Strawberry Crepes Au Lait
Note: Bloggers hosting Crepe Week giveaways are marked with (*) above.
A very special thank you goes to America’s Test Kitchen for partnering with us for Crepe Week. Their help and support, along with the donation of cookbooks for giveaways has helped make Crepe Week particularly special. As a collective group of superfans, it’s a thrill for us to collaborate with America’s Test Kitchen.