Posts tagged ‘Walnuts’

June 9, 2013

Banana Bread Crepe Cake | gâteau aux crêpes

crepecake

Here is a cake that trumps all cakes.A crepe that trumps all crepes.

The kind of cake that makes the French tremble in their booties.  What a sacrilegious idea to combine crepes to make something other than a traditional crepe, egg and ham dish? Though they all shudder at the thought of a crepe cake, they always come back, eye-ing the photos, interested, wondering if they could put their culinary preferences aside for the moment in order to engage in such an American spin on the crepe.

This is the kind of cake that says “I am sorry but I don’t have a birthday present for you.” This is the kind of cake that says “breakfast, lunch and dinner”. This is the kind of cake that says “squish” when you cut into it. This cake is divine. The recipe seems long and daunting but once you have mastered the crepe technique (which is essentially the pancake technique but easier) this cake is a breeze. No oven needed. Can be stuck in the freezer for faster consolidating results. Even the most anti-banana beards on the planet have approved the subtle hint of banana that infiltrates the palate. It marries perfectly with the cream and the butterscotch. There really is no other way to eat 10 crepes in one bite than this way.

crepecake2

Banana Bread Crepe Cake with Butterscotch

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

(serves a many, but was eaten by 2.)

What you’ll need:

Crepe batter

  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus extra for greasing pan
  • 1 large ripe banana (should yield about 1/2 cup peeled and squished)
  • 1 cup (235 ml) milk
  • 3/4 cup (95 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons (25 grams) light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cloves

Cream cheese yogurt filling

  • 8 ounces (225 grams) cream cheese, well-softened
  • 1 1/2 cups (345 grams) plain Greek-style yogurt
  • 1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Walnut butterscotch topping

  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (about 50 grams) chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt, or to taste

Now what?

  1. Crepe batter: Mix together banana and butter in a food processor or with a hand mixer until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients, mixing until obtaining a smooth liquid. Let the batter rest in the fridge for 1 hour minimum. This part is essential since it helps your crepe batter thicken up significantly. If possible, overnight will yield the best results.
  2. To make the crepes: Heat a non-stick skillet or a crepe pan on medium heat. The best part about France is that a crepe pan will cost you 2 euros whereas in America where it will be deemed a specialty item. Melt a nub of butter in the pan. Using a 1/4 cup measure, pour the crepe batter in the pan as you swirl the pan around so that the batter spreads out evenly and thinly across the whole pan. Emergency fill in any open holes carefully with fresh batter if need be. The French will argue that an ideal crepe is a thin one. Let the crepe cook, untouched for 2-3 minutes. Once it is ready to be flipped, the crepe will be golden brown and it will peel right off and flip easily. Cook for 30 seconds on the second side, and transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining batter, you should get 10-11 crepes. Cool crepes completely before assembling the cake.
  3. Cream cheese filling: Beat cream cheese until fluffy, then add the greek yogurt, sugar and vanilla and beat for another minute, until fluff-city.
  4. Cake assembly: Lay the very first cake on your cake platter or plate of choice. Spread with 1/4 cup of the cream cheese filling and then place another crepe on top. Repeat until the crepes or the cream cheese filling runs out, but be sure to end with a crepe hat on top.
  5. Butterscotch topping: Combine the cream, brown sugar and butter in the bottom of a medium, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes.  Be sure to stir occasionally in the beginning and more frequently as it reduces and thickens. After 10 minutes, once it smells toasty and feels thick to the touch, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and salt, then walnuts. Immediately pour over stack of filled crepes. Spread the butterscotch over all of the “hat” so that everyone gets their share of butterscotch topping.

Bon app!

February 11, 2013

Veganism Day 4 to 9: We’re like two burgers….

The Beard is here today, bringing you a brief and beautiful update.

Very often you do things that you like alone. Because no one likes them like you do. And sometimes you do things you don’t like, alone. Such as shoveling snow off your front door, ironing your most wrinkled shirts before a presentation, or anything else that leaves you enough time to do what you don’t like doing and think about it excessively. There’s one thing I hate doing, and this is smiling to someone I have fed but won’t return even a ‘Thank you!’ because that someone believes that the dish I offered lacked of character or style. Of course, this individual thinks of meat, knowing that the food that was shared is a sort of pre-game only. That the thankless person in question will grab real food on his way home –a kebab, for sure. Well, while this type of situation has happened to me a lot in the past, I had time to think about it excessively. And find remedies.

The remedy is, as I’ve previously mentioned, the Guide. How is it that I feel that my shoes now fit me so perfectly? How is it that seeing the meat stalls at the farmers’ market doesn’t bother me anymore? And that I don’t mind shoveling snow off my front door, that I wear neatly-ironed shirts lately, that… ? There’s something about body and mind. They make the connections we, as human beings, can’t force. V-E days (Vegan Emancipation… because I am still a Cold War historian after all) see my body thanking my mind for the careful turn it has decided to undertake. Little by little, you replace the need with the necessary, and the necessary with the essential. You don’t lack of anything, you discover how you can make it even better. Life. So you heap up the veggies on the bun. Are you craving a crunchy steak?: let it cook a little longer, resting on its heated pan, ready to offer you the right dose of iron. Reminder: you don’t like ironing, but you build up. Build up. Build up. Go grocery shopping together, spend your Saturdays, build something together. Share: our friends L, A, K, and E jumped into a sea of veganism (and wine) and went home smiling, I heard. Veganism is like that: altruistic. Listen, discover and build up on what you’ve learned. And eventually end up side by side, like two healthy bodies who don’t even bother thinking about any ‘I’ anymore. Have they ever existed? My body doesn’t remember. We’re like two burgers, side by side, feeling good as day 12 is about to start, wondering how better things could ever be. The Guide and the Beard. More will come. I’ll keep you posted…

1

Double Double Drive-Thru Burgers

Serves 8

(adapted from Chloe’s Kitchen, but taken from another great vegan reference and Boston College friend, Veega)

What you’ll need:

Burgers:

  • 8 oz. package tempeh or 1 cup cooked brown rice (we used brown rice because tempeh is nowhere to be found in Strasbourg)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 15 oz. can lentils (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil

Sauce:

  • 2/3 cup soft tofu
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon agave syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons pickle relish (we couldn’t find this, but it was delightful nonetheless.)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill

Now what?

  1. Sauté garlic and onion in a pan until soft, browned and full of aromas!
  2. Combine garlic, onion, lentils, walnuts, flour and spices in a food processor (or maybe a high powered blender) and pulse until it is all incorporated. The walnuts should be in crumbs. If necessary, remove from the food processor and mix with your hands in order to mix fully.
  3. Heat the canola oil in the same pan used before. From the lentil mixture, form thin patties (we got about 8 out of this). The first time we made these, we made double decker burgers, which were delicious, messy and divine. If not making double decker version, make the patties a bit thicker.
  4. Once the oil is hot, fry the patties in the pan on both sides until browned and crunchy on the outside. Move them onto a plate to collect excess oil.

For the sauce:

  1. Mix all of the sauce ingredients except the dill and the relish in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl and stir in the dill and the relish. We poured ours into an old ketchup squeeze bottle. The Beard named this sauce “homme-made” (man-made).
  2. To assemble the burgers on vegan buns, we poured sauce onto the bottom bun, smothered it with lettuce, a burger patty, another bottom bun, more sauce, another patty, and then red onions, red peppers, tomatoes, and or pickles (au choix! your choice!) bon app.
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