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Crêpe Cake with Coffee Cream and Hazelnut Praline

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Serves 12

Yields one 8-inch cake

  • by Martha Holmberg from Fine Cooking
    Issue 116

A stack of crêpes layered with two sweet fillings—one creamy, one crunchy—becomes a luscious, sophisticated cake. It needs to chill before serving, so plan to make it ahead.

For the praline:
  • Vegetable oil, for the pan
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 oz. (1 cup) whole blanched or skinned toasted hazelnuts
  • Kosher salt
For the fillings:
  • 2 Tbs. instant espresso powder
  • 1 lb. (2 cups) crème fraîche
  • 1 lb. (2 cups) mascarpone, at room temperature
  • 3 oz. (3/4 cup) confectioners’ sugar
For assembly:
  • 14 8-inch crêpes at room temperature
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Make the praline:

Lightly oil a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet. Put the sugar and 1/4 cup water in a heavy-duty 3-quart saucepan or sauté pan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves, 1 to 2 minutes. Let the mixture continue to cook without stirring until it’s a medium amber color, about 5 minutes more.

Carefully add the hazelnuts—don’t let the hot caramel splash you. Continue to cook, swirling the pan gently to coat the nuts, until the caramel is deep amber, 1 to 2 minutes more. Carefully pour the praline onto the prepared baking sheet and let cool completely.

Break the praline into pieces by smacking it on the counter or cracking it with a rolling pin. Put the pieces in a food processor, add 1/2 tsp. salt, and pulse to form a coarse powder. If you end up with a few large pieces but the rest is the right texture, remove them, dump out the powder and process again. Set aside.

Make the fillings:

In a small bowl, stir the espresso powder into 1 Tbs. of the crème fraîche until dissolved.

In a large bowl, whisk the mascarpone and the confectioners’ sugar until blended.

In a medium bowl with an electric hand mixer, beat the remaining crème fraîche on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. With a rubber spatula or big spoon, gently fold half the whipped crème fraîche into the mascarpone mixture until smooth, then fold in the second half.

Put 1-1/2 cups of the mascarpone mixture in a bowl. Gently fold in 1-1/4 cups of the praline powder. Gently fold the espresso-cream into the remaining mascarpone mixture.

Assemble the crêpe cake:

Lay 1 of the crêpes on a flat cake plate or platter that’s at least 9 inches in diameter. Spread a generous 1/4 cup of the espresso filling evenly over the crêpe, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Lay a second crêpe on top. Spread a generous 1/4 cup of the praline filling evenly over the crêpe, leaving the same border. Continue alternating the espresso and praline fillings until you’ve used all the crêpes. To avoid a “domed” cake, make the depth of the cream around the edges of the crêpes a touch deeper than in the centers, and when you add a new crêpe, lightly press down on the center of it with your fingers. Finish with a thin, even layer of the praline cream.

Carefully wrap the cake in plastic and chill for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours. The fillings will set up slightly, making the cake easier to slice.

Remove the cake from the refrigerator at least 1 hour before serving. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup praline powder on top and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 510; Fat (g): 39; Fat Calories (kcal): 350; Saturated Fat (g): 18; Protein (g): 10; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 15; Carbohydrates (g): 33; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2.5; Sodium (mg): 160; Cholesterol (mg): 140; Fiber (g): 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

great! worth to give it a go.. i changed d hazelnut to cashew nut...

Served this up for Easter dinner with rave reviews from a fairly discerning group. It isn't fast to prepare but the result is worth it. It's not too sweet and small portions go a long way. Love the crepe recipe.

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