Maple Crêpe Soufflé
The chef serves this maple-flavored New England dessert in the fall, garnished with vividly colored maple leaves. Many kitchen stores sell paper leaves in the same red tones. The crêpes and maple pastry cream may be prepared up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated, tightly covered with plastic wrap. Short on time? Instead of making crème anglaise, melt the best vanilla ice cream you can find and use it instead.
- All-Purpose Flour - 1/2 cup
- Sugar - 1 tablespoon
- Pinch of salt
- Egg - 1
- Egg Yolk - 1
- Milk - 1/4 cup
- Water - 1/4 cup
- Clarified Butter - 4 tablespoons
- Rum - 1 tablespoon
- Maple Pastry Cream
- Milk - 1/2 cup
- Egg Yolk - 1
- Maple Sugar - 2 tablespoons
- Flour - 1 tablespoon
- Soufflé Filling
- Egg Whites - 1-1/2 cups (about 12 egg whites)
- Cream of Tartar - 1/2 teaspoon
- Maple Sugar - 1-1/2 cups
- Maple Pastry Cream - 1/3 cup (above)
- Crème Anglaise - 1 cup, flavored with two tablespoons maple syrup or bourbon
To make the crêpes: Mix the flour, sugar, and salt together in a blender or food processor and, with the machine running, add the egg, egg yolk, milk, water, 1-1/2 tablespoons of the clarified butter, and the rum. Scrape the sides of the container with a rubber spatula and blend again. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before using. The batter should be the consistency of light cream. If it is too thick, add enough rum or water to thin.
To cook the crêpes: Brush the bottom of a 5- to 6-inch crêpe or saute pan with some of the remaining clarified butter and place the pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is almost smoking, pour 1/4 cup of batter into the center of the pan. Rotate the pan quickly and evenly in a circular motion to distribute the batter over the bottom of the pan. Pour any excess back into the batter and cook the crêpe until bubbles begin to form in the center and the edges begin to brown, about 30 to 45 seconds. Turn the crêpe with a spatula and cook until the second side is lightly browned, about 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat to cook the remaining batter, stacking the crêpes on a plate, separated by sheets of parchment paper or waxed paper.
To make the pastry cream: Bring the milk to a boil in a small non-aluminum saucepan over medium heat. While the milk is heating, mix the egg yolk and maple sugar thoroughly in a small bowl. Add the flour, stirring well, then add 1/4 cup of the boiling milk to the egg mixture, whisking as you add it. Return this mixture to the milk pan, whisking to blend, and bring to a rolling boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Transfer to a small non-aluminum bowl set in a larger bowl of ice, cover with a sheet of plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface, and let cool.
Preheat the oven to 350 F, or the highest the oven can be set without activating the broiler unit.
To make the filling: Place the egg whites in a large bowl and beat until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Slowly add the maple sugar, a few tablespoons at a time, beating until the egg whites are glossy and stiff. Place the pastry cram in a large bowl and stir in one fourth of the meringue. Gently fold in the remaining meringue.
To assemble the dessert: Fill 8 crêpes with equal portions of the meringue, then fold the crêpes in half. Place in a shallow ovenproof pan and bake for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the crêpe filling is puffed and well browned. Transfer each crêpe to a dessert plate, using a metal spatula, and spoon crème anglaise around each crêpe.