Fluffy puffed crêpes are a Troisgros specialty, whether in Rio or Roanne, France. In Rio the feather-light crêpes are combined with pastry cream and passion fruit sauce for a tropical touch. Thin crêpe batter is combined with beaten egg whites to create a very light batter. The crêpes are first cooked on top of the stove to set one side, then baked to complete the inflation of the egg whites, then turned and cooked for another 30 seconds on top of the stove to set the other side.
- Pastry Cream
- Egg Yolks - 6
- Sugar - 3/4 cup
- Cornstarch - 1-1/2 cups
- Milk - 2 cups
- Vanilla bean - 1
- Unsalted Butter - 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick)
- Bread flour - 1/2 cup
- Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
- Milk - 2 cups
- Eggs - 8, separated
- Salt - Pinch
- Sugar - 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons
- Passion Fruit Sauce
- Sugar - 3/4 cup
- Water - 1/2 cup
- Passion fruit - 1/2 pound fresh
- Butter - 2 tablespoons, cold
- Confectioner’s sugar - For dusting
- Mint - 4 sprigs
To make the pastry cream: Combine the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a mixer. Add the cornstarch and beat until light and fluffy. Put the milk in a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the milk, then drop in the pods. Bring just to a boil, then remove from heat. Whisk a large spoonful of hot milk into the egg mixture, then whisk the egg mixture into the hot milk. Return to medium heat and bring to a boil, whisking constantly and gently until thickened. Remove from heat and put in a clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it against the surface of the cream, and let cool for at least 2 hours.
To make the crêpes: Heat the oven to 400 F. Melt the butter in a saucepan and whisk in the flour and salt. Cook over medium heat like a roux until the mixture is smooth and the flour has lost its “raw” flour smell. Stir in the milk and cook over medium heat, stirring gently, until the mixture thickens. Put in the bowl of a mixer and add the egg yolks, one at a time, as if making pate a choux (cream puff dough). In a deep bowl, beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt until they are foamy. Gradually adding the sugar, beat to soft peaks. Fold a large spoonful of egg whites into the batter, then fold the batter into the remaining egg whites.
Heat an 8-inch non-stick heatproof skillet over medium-high heat. Spoon batter into the pan to cover the bottom by 1/2 inch and cook for 2 minutes. Place in the oven for 3 minutes to finish cooking. Remove from the oven, turn over, and cook on top of the stove for 30 seconds to set. Slip the crêpe out of the pan onto a plate. Put 1 tablespoon of pastry cream in the center of the crêpe and fold the crêpe in half. Let stand until cool. Repeat to make all the crêpes; you will need at least 8.
To prepare the sauce: Combine the sugar and 1 tablespoon of the water in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until the mixture turns a pale caramel color. Meanwhile, cut the passion fruit in half and scoop out the pulp and seeds. When the sugar has caramelized, remove from heat and carefully stir in the passion fruit pulp and half of the seeds, being careful of spatters. Stir in the remaining water and return the mixture to medium heat; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in the butter; remove from heat.
To serve: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the filled crêpes on a baking sheet, dust with confectioner’s sugar, and caramelize the sugar with a small torch. Place in the oven for 2 to 3 minutes, until hot and puffy. Remove from heat and place two on each dessert plate. Spoon passion fruit sauce and seeds around the crêpes. Garnish each with a mint sprig.