Editor's note: Here is a beautiful farewell recipe from Mira Evnine, Sweets & Bitters print publisher and so much more, who is moving on to share her generous talents through other channels. You can keep up with her on social media @miraevnine. Mira joined Sweets & Bitters after the first volume was printed, offering to help with marketing and publicity, but quickly became an in important collaborator in many ways. She’s a natural stylist, brilliant cook, skilled event planner, smart designer, and a generous friend––among other things. I even convinced her to share a story in Volume 3, and it remains my favorite! We were so lucky to benefit from Mira’s talents, and I can’t wait to see what she does next!
This impressive cake takes a little planning, but is actually quite easy to pull off. I’ve called for grapefruit in the recipe, but use whatever looks great in the market and tickles your fancy: try cara cara oranges, tangerines or meyer lemons. You can slice extra citrus into supremes and douse them with Aperol to serve alongside the cake. The crepe batter can be mixed quickly then chilled overnight; you’ll cook the crepes and make a citrus mousse the next day, then assemble the cake and chill it for a few hours (or overnight again) before serving. No one step is very hard, but the result is spectacular! The recipe can be doubled to make an even taller cake.
Mira’s Citrus-Aperol Mille Crepe Cake
for the crepes
- 6 Tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) butter
- 3 cups milk
- 6 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 7 Tablespoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- oil for greasing the pan
for the mousse
- 2 teaspoons (1 packet) powdered gelatin
- 1 ½ Tablespoons finely grated grapefruit zest
- 1 cup fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 large egg yolks
- 4 Tablespoons Aperol
- 2 cups heavy cream
- additional citrus (optional)
- Aperol (optional)
- sugar or confectioners sugar
to make the crepes
1. The day before you’ll serve the cake, make the crepe batter. In a small pan, cook the butter over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until it is flecked with brown and smells nutty; set aside. In another small pan, heat the milk until steaming; allow to cool for 10 minutes. In a mixer on medium-low speed, or by hand, beat together the eggs, flour, sugar and salt just until smooth. Gradually mix in the warm milk, and then the browned butter. Cover, and refrigerate over night.
2. The next day, bring the batter to room temperature. Place a 10-inch crepe pan or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Swab the surface with thin layer of oil or melted butter using a paper towel or pastry brush. Add a scant ¼ cup of batter and immediately swirl it to cover the pan. Cook until the edges just begins to brown, about 1 minute. Shake the pan to loosen the crepe, and then carefully flip it with your fingers. Cook on the other side for no longer than 5 seconds. Slide the crepe onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Repeat, stacking the crepes on top of each other, until you have 20 perfect crepes. Expect to have a few crepe fails until you get into the swing of things. You may have to adjust the amount of batter you use.
to make the mousse
3. Pour ¼ cup water into a medium saucepan and sprinkle the gelatin evenly over it. Allow the gelatin to soften for 5 minutes. Then, whisk in grapefruit zest and juice, lemon juice, sugar, and egg yolks. Place the pan over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and reaches 180°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 15 minutes on medium low. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Stir in the Aperol.
4. Set the bowl containing the citrus-Aperol mixture into a larger mixing bowl filled one-third of the way with ice water (be careful that the water doesn’t splash into the mixture). Stir until completely cool, about 10 minutes.
5. Whip the heavy cream––by hand or with the whisk attachment of an electric mixer––just until if forms stiff peaks. Fold the citrus-Aperol mixture into the whipped cream. You want a spreadable consistency: if the mousse feels runny, refrigerate for about 20 minutes, and then gently whisk until smooth. Immediately proceed to assemble the cake.
to assemble the cake
6. Line an 8-or-9-inch springform pan with parchment paper or cardboard cake board. If you are intending to make a taller cake, you’ll need to line the cake pan with thick acetate to support the layers – otherwise you run the risk of a leaning tower. Set aside your best-looking crepe for the top of the cake. Select another well-formed crepe and lay it in the pan. Using an offset spatula or the back of a large spoon, completely cover the crepe with a thin layer of mouse––equal to the thickness of the crepe, if not a little thinner. Lay down the next crepe, and cover with mouse. Repeat to make a stack of 20, finishing with the best-looking crepe on top.
7. Chill for at least 2 hours. Half an hour before serving, unmold the cake by opening the springform (of if you using a straight sided cake pan, gently warm the sides of the pan or run a knife around the perimeter and invert the cake to plate, only to invert again to a serving platter), and then let it sit at room temperature. If you have a blowtorch, sprinkle the top crepe with 2 tablespoons of sugar and caramelize it with the torch; otherwise, dust with confectioners’ sugar. Cut into wedges and serve with Aperol-doused supremes, or by itself.
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