April 2007 marked a signicant change for The Daring Bakers. It was the first challenge that was officially hosted by one person. The first host was Brilynn of Jumbo Empanadas. She chose a Martha Stewart recipe: Darkest Chocolate Crepe Cake.
The recipe chose is from Martha Stewart can be found on-line here.
For a .pdf version of the recipe, click here.
Yield: one 8″ / 20cm cake
Preparation time: 5 hours
For the crepes
6 oz / 170g / 3/4 cup / 1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
extra melted butter for pan
8 oz / 225g semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups / 190g / 6 2/3 oz all-purpose flour
1/3 cup / 65g / 2 1/3 oz sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups / 600ml / 20 fl oz whole milk, room temperature
6 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Bring 1/4 cup water to a rolling boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, whisking to combine after each addition. Remove from heat; stir in chocolate until completely melted. Set aside.
Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together milk, eggs, and vanilla in another medium bowl. Gradually add milk mixture to flour mixture, whisking until smooth. Add chocolate-butter mixture, whisking until smooth. Pour through a fine sieve into an airtight container; discard lumps. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
Lightly coat an 8″ / 20cm crepe pan or nonstick skillet with melted butter. Heat over medium heat until just starting to smoke. Remove pan from heat; pour about 2 tablespoons batter into pan, swirling to cover bottom. Reduce heat to medium-low; return pan to heat. Cook, flipping once, until edges are golden and center is dry, about 30 seconds per side.
Slide crepe onto a plate. Repeat process with remaining batter, coating pan with butter as needed. Crepes can be refrigerated, covered, up to 1 day.
Place a crepe on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Spread with about 3 tablespoons hazelnut filling (recipe below). Top with another crepe. Continue layering with hazelnut filling and crepes, using about 32 crepes and ending with a crepe on top. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.
Spoon 1/2 cup glaze (recipe below) on top of the cake, spreading to edges. Spread remaining glaze around sides of cake, coating completely. Refrigerate until glaze is firm and set, about 20 minutes.
Cake can be refrigerated up to 3 days. Garnish with toasted and candied hazelnuts (recipe below).
Hazelnut Filling – Makes 8 cups
2/3 cup / 160ml / 5 1/2 fl oz heavy cream
6 large egg whites
1 2/3 cups / 335g / 11 3/4 oz granulated sugar
14 oz / 400g / 1 3/4 cups / 3 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup / 80ml / 100g hazelnut cream (available from Whole Foods Market, www.wholefoods.com)
1 pinch salt
Put heavy cream into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Refrigerate 1 hour.
Whisk egg whites and sugar in the clean bowl of mixer set over a pan of simmering water until sugar has dissolved and mixture registers 160°F / 70°C, 2 to 3 minutes.
Attach bowl to mixer fitted with the clean whisk attachment; beat on high speed until slightly cooled and stiff (but not dry) peaks form, about 5 minutes.
Fit mixer with paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low speed, add butter, several pieces at a time, mixing well after each addition (meringue will deflate slightly as butter is added).
Add vanilla, hazelnut cream, and salt; mix until mixture comes together, 3 to 5 minutes.
Fold in whipped cream with a rubber spatula. Use immediately.
Chocolate Glaze – Makes 2 cups
1 1/4 cups / 300ml / 10 fl oz heavy cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 pinch salt
10 oz / 285g semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
Bring cream, corn syrup, and salt to a boil in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium- medium-high heat.
Remove from heat. Add chocolate; swirl pan to cover completely with cream. Let stand about 5 minutes.
Stir until smooth. Let cool completely.
Candied Hazelnuts – Makes 9
9 long wooden skewers
9 hazelnuts, toasted and peeled
1 cup / 200g sugar
1/4 cup / 60ml / 2 fl oz water
Thread the hazelnuts onto tip of long wooden skewers; set aside. Place a cutting board along the edge of a countertop; set a baking sheet on floor next to edge.
Cook sugar and water in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved. Continue to cook, without stirring, until syrup comes to a boil, washing down sides with a wet brush to prevent crystals from forming. Let boil until syrup turns light amber, about 5 minutes; remove from heat. Let stand until slightly cooled, 8 to 10 minutes.
Dip 1 skewered hazelnut into syrup, coating completely and letting excess syrup drip back into pan. When dripping syrup becomes a thin string, secure end of skewer under cutting board, letting caramel string drip over edge onto sheet. Repeat with remaining hazelnuts. Let stand until caramel has hardened, about 5 minutes. Break strings to about 4 inches. Carefully remove skewers.