Crêpe cakes may seem daunting, but they shouldn’t be. The pastry cream, the crêpes, and the maple-glazed pecans can be made ahead so all you have left to do is assemble it and chill a few hours. If anything, crêpe cakes are a great opportunity to hone your crêpe-making skills. Perfect for a spring brunch with a generous drizzle of maple syrup.
A note on skillets: For this recipe, I used a 10-inch non-stick fry pan, which has sloped sides and therefore yields 8-inch crêpes as the pan size is often measured at the top, where it’s widest.
Courtesy of Janice Lawandi of Kitchen Heals Soul.
Maple Pastry Cream
Maple-Glazed Pecans & Assembly
First, make the maple pastry cream. Place a strainer over a large bowl and have it ready next to the stove for later.
In a large saucepan, heat the milk with half the maple syrup on medium–high heat. Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a bowl and gradually whisk in the flour, cornstarch, and the rest of the maple syrup. Whisk this mixture well to try and eliminate all the lumps before proceeding.
When the milk is almost boiling, pour it over the egg mixture to temper the eggs, whisking constantly, then transfer it all back to the saucepan. Whisk the custard over medium–high heat to bring it up to a boil, then boil for 2 minutes to thicken it. Don’t stop whisking because it can catch on the bottom of the pan and may burn.
When the pastry cream has thickened, immediately pour it through the strainer to remove any lumps. Cover with plastic wrap placed directly in contact with the custard so it doesn’t dry on the surface. Wrap well and refrigerate until completely cooled, preferably overnight. When you are ready to assemble the crêpe cake, whisk the pastry cream to loosen it and smooth it out, then whisk in the maple liqueur or a splash of vanilla.
Prepare the crêpe batter by blending together all the ingredients with a hand-blender. Let sit for at least 30 minutes (or overnight) in the fridge before making the crêpes. Cook the crêpes in a 10-inch non-stick fry pan set over medium–low heat. You should make about 32 8-inch crêpes, using a scant 1/4 cup batter per crêpe.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Coat the pecans with the 3 tablespoons of maple syrup and lightly toast them in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet for about 6 minutes, stirring them half-way through the baking time. Let cool completely.
To assemble the crêpe cake, place a crêpe on a cake stand or plate, then spread a thin layer of maple pastry cream (a little less than 2 tablespoons-worth). Top with another crêpe and then more pastry cream. Continue layering until you have used all the crêpes and pastry cream. Chill the cake for a few hours so that it firms up, then decorate the top with the maple-glazed pecans (either kept whole or chopped) just before serving. Serve with lots of maple syrup.