Layered crepe cakes are fashionable right now, and they're not difficult to make. The first time I made a crepe cake using mango, one of my favourite fruits, I wasn't happy with the filling. I wanted the mango flavour to be strong and pure, so I puréed the fruit with some cream and a little sugar. Unfortunately, the cream muted the flavour of the fruit. My second attempt, using mango jam, was much better: because the fruit flavour is intensified through cooking, you can still taste it even though it's mixed with cream.
Mango crepe cake (pictured)
The filling is a little runnier than those used in commercial cakes, so leave plenty of time to chill the cake after adding the filling, and again after decorating it.
For the crepes:
150 grams plain (all-purpose) flour
10 grams sugar
½ tsp fine sea salt
3 large egg yolks
30 grams butter, melted, then cooled to lukewarm
350ml milk, or more if needed
Cooking oil, for the skillet
For the filling:
750 grams mango jam (purchased, or see recipe below), chilled
375 grams clotted cream, chilled
½ tsp fine sea salt
To decorate :
20 grams sugar
Mint leaves, raspberries or another fruit of choice
Make the crepes. In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the butter and whisk again. Whisk in the milk. Add about three-quarters of the liquid ingredients into the bowl holding the flour, then whisk until smooth. Add the remaining liquid and whisk again. The mixture shouldn't have any lumps; if it does, strain it through a fine sieve. Cover the bowl with cling-film then refrigerate for at least three hours.
Pour about 30ml of cooking oil into a small bowl and place it by the stove. Heat an 18cm crepe pan over a medium flame. Dip a paper towel in the oil and use it to lightly grease the pan. Stir the crepe batter then test the consistency by pouring some into the pan and swirling it. If the batter spreads out into a thin layer, it's fine; if the layer is too thick, whisk in more milk.
When the consistency is correct, ladle about 40ml of batter into the pan. Quickly swirl the pan to coat it lightly and pour off any excess batter. Cook the crepe until it's ready to flip: the surface will be matte instead of shiny, and it should be thin enough to see the bottom browning. Flip the crepe and cook the second side briefly, then tip it onto a plate. Repeat with the remaining batter, each time stirring gently before pouring it into the pan, and lightly oiling the pan after making each crepe Stack the crepes as they're cooked. You should have at least 12.
Purée the mango jam in a food processor. Add the salt and clotted cream and process until combined.
Lay one crepe in an 18cm springform pan and spread evenly with 100 grams of the mango-cream mixture. Repeat the layers, using 12 crepes and 11 layers of filling, ending with a top layer of crepe. Chill the cake in the pan for at least six hours.
Remove the sides of the springform pan. Invert the cake onto a serving plate so the bottom (which is the flattest side) is uppermost, then remove the base of the pan. Whip the cream with the sugar until it forms medium peaks, then spread it over the sides and top of the cake. Decorate by piping with whipped cream. Chill for at least an hour, then decorate with mangoes and other fruit. To serve, use a serrated knife to cut the cake into wedges.
I gave this recipe a couple of years ago, but it's worth repeating because it's so delicious. Of all the jams I make, this is the most popular. Use distinctively flavoured mangoes, and don't mix the varieties.
1 case of mangoes, ripened at room temperature
Powdered apple pectin
Fresh lime juice
Rinse the mangoes thoroughly. Use a serrated knife to cut the "cheeks" off each mango, slicing vertically from one end to the other parallel to the flat seed in the middle. For each cheek, cut the mango flesh in a 1cm cross-hatch pattern, taking care not to cut through the skin, and scoop it into a bowl. Use a spoon to scrape the interior of the skin to get the most flavourful flesh. Cut the remaining mango from the seed, then remove the skin and dice the flesh.
Weigh the mango flesh. For every 100 grams of fruit, weigh out 75 grams of sugar, one gram of apple pectin and 3ml of fresh lime juice, keeping the ingredients separate. Add half the sugar to the mango and stir to combine. Leave at room temperature for several hours, stirring occasionally.
Pour the mango/sugar mixture into a large, wide pan and mix in half the remaining sugar. Bring to the boil and stir continually for five minutes. Turn off the heat and leave for 30 minutes. Bring the mixture back to the boil and cook for five minutes, then turn off the heat and leave for another 30 minutes.
Whisk the apple pectin into the remaining sugar. Wash six to eight 250ml canning jars and their lids and sterilise them by filling the jars with boiling water, leave for a few minutes, then pour out the water and allow the jars to air-dry. Place the lids in a bowl, cover with boiling water and set aside until needed.
Bring the mango jam back to the boil and simmer for five minutes. Stirring constantly, pour in the sugar/pectin mixture in a steady stream. Simmer for three minutes, then turn off the flame and mix in the lime juice. Ladle the jam into the prepared jars, leaving about 5mm head space, then wipe the rims with a damp paper towel. Screw on the lids tightly.
If you're using the jam for a mango crepe cake, place the jars in the fridge to chill. If you want to store the jam, put a folded-up kitchen towel in the base of a large pan. Put the jars on the towel and add boiling water to cover by at least 1cm. Bring to the boil then simmer for 15 minutes, then remove from the pot and cool to room temperature.
Styling: Nellie Ming Lee
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