Strawberry Elderflower Crepe Cake with Yogurt Cream
In a perfect world, I would live in a place that has "light jacket weather" all year round. As a summer baby who grew up in the sub-tropics, my ideal temperature range is probably 10 degrees and I can tell you straight up that Hong Kong's scorching heat really cooks up the city's concrete-lined streets. This brutality is NOT something you just "get used to".
Perhaps one of the reasons I never really liked summer is that I never find the appeal of summer desserts. Well except for ice cream, which I consider a staple food. This crepe cake is different though, as it is not so much a cake as a stack of thin batters made to resemble one.
Most people think making crepe cakes is a gargantuan task, but I assure you it's easy to make and never ceases to make people ooh and ahh when you reveal the cross section. There is no meringue folding, cake splitting or crumb coating involved. You can even do without a turntable. The best part? No turning on the oven in the middle of the sweltering heat, which is practically a godsend.
You may macerate the strawberry with anything you have find on hand, like grand marnier, orange juice, etc. The elderflower concentrate gives a nectarous floral hint, paired with a slightly tangy, yogurt lightened cream, it is especially fitting for a lush picnic or a summer soiree.
- Make the crepe batter. Brown the butter in a small pan by melting it until the milk solids separate. Continue heating until the bubbling sound subsides, and the milk solids just start to colour. Remove from the heat and pour into small bowl. Set aside.
- In another pan, warm the milk and set aside.
- Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Whisk in one egg at a time, slowly moving outwards, until the batter is smooth and silky. Slowly whisk in the warm milk, followed by the browned butter.
- Strain the batter in to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
- Meanwhile, make the filling by whipping the cream and sugar until soft peaks, then whisk in the yogurt (don't worry about deflating or overwhipping the cream). Return to the refrigerator to set.
- Wash, hull and slice strawberries as thin as you can, about 2-3mm. Toss with elderflower concentrate and allow to macerate for 30 minutes. Drain the strawberries so they are not dripping wet.
- Prepare the crepes. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Heat a nonstick pan or crepe pan over medium heat. Melt a piece of butter until it sizzles, and evenly distribute around 2 tablespoons of crepe batter, swirling it in one smooth motion to cover the surface of the pan. I find it easier to hold the pan over your batter container, swirl, and put it back over the stove. Return to the heat and cook until the top looks dry and the edges start to brown slightly. Using a spatula and your hands, gently flip the crepe over and cook for another 30 seconds. Transfer to the prepared sheet pan. Repeat with the batter until you have 22-24 crepes (a couple as your practice ones).
- Assemble the cake when all the components ready. On a turntable, place on piece of crepe. Evenly spread around 15g of yogurt cream with an offset spatula, then arrange strawberry slices, around 6-8 pieces per layer. Place another crepe on top and press gently. Repeat with remaining components until you get 22-24 layers.
- Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour to set. Serve cold.
For the crepe batter:
6 tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter
3 cups (230mL) whole milk
1-½ cups (180g) all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons (75g) granulated sugar
For the filling:
2/3 cup (150mL) heavy cream
4 teaspoons (15g) brown sugar
3/4 cup (180g) yogurt, strained
1 pound (454g) strawberry
2-3 tablespoons elderflower concentrate