This recipe for Gateau Breton is brought to us by one of my readers, Oliver, to whom I owe a debt of gratitude for this marvelous French pastry which comes from the Bretagne region of France; which is known for its butter and sea salt. Continue reading
This Café au Lait Crepe Cake with Orange Cream Sauce is my way of sending out a bad year and welcoming in a better New Year. I wanted to do something special to reward all of us for doing our part and sticking it out. Every part of this can be made ahead. It can also be assembled ahead and refrigerated or frozen.
French Crepes for the Crepe Cake
This is actually an easy cake to make. The crepes are a bit time consuming if you use one pan at a time but they can be made ahead and frozen. Because the crepes are so delicate, the cake is easier to put together if the crepes are frozen. Please read my post on All Purpose French Crepes for a complete rundown on this French specialty with how to photos.
I used an 8” non stick pan to make these. The crepes themselves will be about 7”. Have hand a stack of parchment paper or wax paper cut into 9” squares with which to stack the crepes as they come from the pan.
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour (235 grams or 8 1/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk (whole or 2%)
1 1/2 cups water
5 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons brandy
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 stick of butter for the pan
Place all but the stick of butter in a food processor (by batches if necessary). If by batches, whisk together in a large bowl after processing. Let rest for 1 hour at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
Over medium heat, swipe the pan with the stick of butter for the first crepe and every 4 or 5 after that. Ladle about 2 tablespoons or 1 liquid ounce of batter into the middle of the pan. Quickly swirl the pan around to cover the bottom and about 1/4” up the side.
Brown on one side for about a minute or so, flip the crepe and brown the other side. The first side of the cooked crepe is always the best looking.
Stack between paper as soon as it is done. Cool to room temperature. If not using immediately, wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for a few days or place in a freezer bag and freeze for a month or so.
For use in the Crepe Cake, leave them frozen.
Yield: About 24 crepes
Café au Lait Truffle Filling
The Café au Lait filling is from a line of truffles I designed some time ago. It calls for milk chocolate but semisweet could be substituted. This can be made a week ahead and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature to use. It needs to be very soft but not liquid.
1 1/4 cups 40% cream
1 1/2 tablespoon instant coffee
15 ounces milk chocolate (425 grams)
Heat the cream and coffee until steaming. Do not boil. Submerge the chocolate below the cream. Let sit 4 to 5 minutes. Stir to incorporate chocolate, whisking gently towards the end to remove any lumps. Pour into a storage container and bring to room temperature. Refrigerate overnight or up to several weeks. Bring to room temperature to fill the crepe cake.
Yield: About 2 1/4 cups
Orange Cream Sauce for the Crepe Cake
The Orange Cream Sauceis a variation of the sauce for Crepes Suzette and was first featured in the Stuffed French Toast blog where you will find the how to photos. This can be made days ahead and refrigerated. Serve at room temperature.
The slightly tangy sauce compliments the richness of the cake.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 tablespoons Curacao, Triple Sec, Cointreau or Grand Marnier
2 tablespoons Brandy
1/4 cup 40% cream
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
Melt butter in a saucepan. Add the sugar, orange and lemon juice; bring to a boil and boil hard for 3 to 4 minutes until somewhat thickened.
Add the orange liqueur and brandy; boil another 2 minutes to return to thickness. In the meantime whisk the cream and cornstarch together.
Remove the orange mixture from the heat and let the boiling subside. Add the cream mixture; return to heat and, stirring constantly, bring back to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Cool completely and store in the refrigerator.
Yield: 1 cup
Café au Lait Truffle Filling
Orange Cream Sauce
Remove the crepes from the freezer. They may seem stuck together, but if you lift the paper under the crepe you should be able to slowly pull it away. Also, after you get one side lifted, insert your hand under the crepe and it should pop off the stack.
Place one crepe on a serving plate or cake board. If the crepes are at all moist, place a paper towel on top of them and press down to remove the moisture.
Place one heaping tablespoon of the Café au Lait Truffle filling in the center of the crepe. Without delay, spread the it out to the edges, covering it entirely. Because the crepes are frozen and the filling is chocolate it will set up rapidly.
Place another crepe on top of the filling and repeat the filling all the way to the top. Leave the top crepe plain.
Wrap in film and refrigerate until completely set.
When ready to serve, you can place a doilie on top and sprinkle it heavily with powdered sugar, Carefully remove the doilie.
To serve, slice the Café au Lait Crepe Cake into about 12 servings. The servings may look small but the cake is very rich.
These Neapolitan Butter Cookies are three flavors in one and so unusual, I decided to throw one more cookie at you for the holidays.
Originated by Amy Hoan avid baker in Canada there are myriad variations on Instagram. These are a simple butter cookie that goes together without effort and is easy to shape. The dough itself is a breeze to work with right out of the mixer. You can vary the flavors by substituting other powders for the cocoa and strawberry.
To obtain the strawberry powder, I processed freeze dried strawberries in the processor. However, be sure to remove the package of desiccant that is in the package. I failed to do that once and when I saw the shreds of paper in the powdered strawberries I had to throw the whole batch out. If you process the whole package, store the leftover powder in an airtight container with the desiccant to keep it dry. Trader Joe’s has these and other flavors.
It is important not to over bake these Neapolitan Butter Cookies or they lose the balance of flavors. The bottoms should be barely browned. The cookies will have crisp edges and soft centers.
Neapolitan Butter Cookies
1 cup butter, softened (225 grams, 8 ounces or 2 sticks)
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar (250 grams or 8 3/4 ounces)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 large egg
2 cups + 3 tablespoons all purpose flour (300 grams or 10 1/2 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons freeze dried strawberries or raspberries, powdered
2 tablespoons cocoa*
Red food color, optional**
Sanding Sugar or granulated sugar as needed
*Any cocoa will due but there are color variations. Black cocoa is what I used and it gives the darkest color of all the cocoas. Dutch cocoa would be next and natural cocoa gives the lightest brown. For a deeper understanding of the types of cocoa, please see Cocoa Fundamentals Natural vs. Dutched.
** The use of red food coloring is optional but the cookies will look drab without it.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
Combine the butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a mixer. Beat just to combine. Add the egg and mix until blended.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to the butter mixture and beat on low speed until everything is incorporated.
Divide the dough into 3 parts about 270 grams or about 9 1/2 ounces each. Return one batch to the mixing bowl and add 2 tablespoons of strawberry powder. After the powder is mixed in add red food color to get a vibrant red. (Some of it will bake out so it needs to be darker going into the oven.) Remove to a bowl.
Wipe the mixer out with a paper towel if needed. If a bowl scraper is used to remove the dough, it should be clean enough to continue.
Place a second portion of dough in the mixing bowl and add the cocoa powder. Blend in completely.
It is easiest to scoop one flavor all at once then put them together. Wash the disher/scooper in between.
Using a #100 disher/scooper, or about 2 teaspoons each, scoop each of the doughs and line them up on a baking sheet. Cover each batch with film as you go along so they don’t dry out.
Place one of each color before you.Gently push them together so they are one. Roll them between the palms of your hands to form a ball.
Roll the ball in the sugar and place on a baking sheet.
These cookies will spread considerably so place about 3 across and 4 to 5 down on a baking sheet. Below is an unbaked cookie next to the baked cookie.
Bake for 10 to 13 minutes. The white part will barely be brown and they will be slightly soft in the middle. Do not over bake.
I’m not sure why this is necessary, but as the cookies come from the oven, bang the pan on a counter to flatten them. I did with one pan and I didn’t with the other – it didn’t make a big difference.
Yield: About 26 Neapolitan Butter Cookies. Store in a covered container at room temperature for 4 to 5 days.
If you enjoyed these other cookies:
Breakfast cookies were huge in the ‘70’s. They were also called ranger cookies. Basically, the cookies were loaded with fruit, wheat, oats, and nuts providing protein and fiber to keep you going and filled up for a while. Continue reading
Cuccidati Coffeecake came about because of my love of this Italian cookie. When I was researching cookies for my cookie book, a co-worker told me about Cuccidati cookies. I have loved them ever since. Continue reading