Crêpes with Oranges
Most crêpe desserts are warm and require last-minute preparation. In this one, however, the crêpes are stacked and filled with orange pastry cream to make a chilled torte. The crêpes and pastry cream may be made up to two days in advance and refrigerated, and the torte may be assembled up to 8 hours in advance. The crêpes may also be made in advance and frozen, tightly wrapped.
- Eggs - 6
- Milk - 1/4 cup
- Orange Juice - 2 tablespoons
- Sugar - 1 tablespoon
- Cake flour - 1/2 cup
- Canola oil - 2 tablespoons
- Salt - 1/4 teaspoon
- Clarified Butter - 2 tablespoons
- Orange Pastry Cream
- Eggs - 2
- Sugar - 5 tablespoons
- Grated zest from 2 oranges
- Sifted Cake Flour - 2 tablespoons
- Cold milk - 1 cup
- Fresh Orange Juice - 2 tablespoons
- Salt - 1/4 teaspoon
- Sugar - 1 cup
- Orange Zest - zest of 4 oranges, cut into very fine julienne
- Skinned segments of 4 oranges
- Curacao or other orange-flavored liqueur - 4 tablespoons
To make the crêpes: Combine all the ingredients except the clarified butter in a blender or food processor. Blend for 30 seconds, or until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times. Strain through a fine-meshes sieve, cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Wipe a 6-inch crêpe pan with enough clarified butter to coat the surface and place over high heat. Ladle 3 to 4 tablespoons of the batter into the pan and swirl the pan so that the batter coats the bottom evenly, pouring any excess back into the batter. Cook the crêpe for 30 to 45 seconds, or until the surface of the crêpe looks dry. Flip with a thin metal spatula and cook another 20 to 30 seconds. Remove to a plate and repeat with the remaining batter, stacking the cooked crêpes between sheets of waxed or parchment paper. You should have between 24 and 26 crêpes. Chill the crêpes in the refrigerator until needed; wrap in waxed paper if chilling over 1 hour.
To make the pastry cream: Beat the eggs and the sugar in a medium bowl until the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Add the orange zest, flour, milk, orange juice, and salt and beat well. Transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook, whisking vigorously, until the pastry cream is thickened. Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl, press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface to keep a skin from forming, and chill in the refrigerator.
After the crêpes and pastry cream have chilled, place one crêpe on a serving plate. Top the crêpe with 1-1/2 tablespoons of the pastry cream and spread. Top with another crêpe and top with more pastry cream. Repeat, alternating layers, until all the crêpes are used.
To make the caramel: Place a medium saucepan on the stove over medium-high heat and add the sugar. Add the orange zest and melt the sugar, stirring occasionally, until the syrup has just begun to color. Stir in the orange segments. When the syrup is a light caramel brown, add the liqueur, stirring to combine. Lift out the segments with a slotted spoon and arrange on the plate around the torte. Pour the caramel and zest over the stack of crêpes, letting the caramel pool around the orange slices. Chill for several hours.
To serve: Cut the torte into thick wedges and garnish with fresh mint sprigs