'Tis the season for me to test out all sorts of flourless desserts. For Passover, I like to try baking new and interesting confections that don't require flour. This is great both for my family during the holiday, but also for my friends and family who suffer from Celiac disease or have a sensitivity to gluten.
Since I'm not hosting this holiday for the first time in fifteen years, I have a bit of free time to experiment. I was asked to bring dessert to my cousin's house, so I tried to come up with something new that would get me excited.
A crepe cake! That's what I want to make! But, I've never made flourless crepes.
I have a variety of non-wheat flours in the house, so into the kitchen I marched. I decided to test three "flours" - potato starch, coconut flour and quinoa flour. I wanted to see how they would turn out, the difference in textures and flavors.
From the outset, the batters looked completely different from one another:
Next came the pan test - would they hold up?
The quinoa flour crepes fell apart and smelled kinda gross. Fail!
The coconot flour crepes tasted amazing and made the whole kitchen smell like heaven, but they completely fell apart in the pan. They were also much thicker, closer to a pancake. I couldn't even flip them without breaking them apart:
The potato starch crepes were perfect. They held together beautifully even though they were super duper thin (as a crepe should be!). Plus, they taste delicious. You would never guess that these are flourless crepes!
To test the recipe out fully, and before committing to a crepe cake, I slathered one with a ricotta and rose water mixture, drizzled a bit of honey on top and then topped it all with berries. I could eat this for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert every. single. day.
So, for anyone looking to make something a bit out of the ordinary, here is a gluten free, Passover-friendly crepe recipe:
Yields (12) 9" or (20) 6" crepes
2 2/3 cups water
12 tablespoons potato starch
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sunflower or coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (leave out the vanilla if you want to use these for a savory dish)
In a medium bowl, beat all the ingredients until well blended. The potato starch tends to settle at the bottom of the bowl, so make sure to stir the mixture often (especially before you ladle some out into your pan).
Lightly oil a heavy skillet (I like to use a cast iron crepe pan mor skillet) and place over medium heat. Pour 1/4 cup of batter into the pan, swirling around to coat the bottom evenly. Cook until the sides are slightly browned and come away from the pan. Flip the crepe and cook for another 30-45 seconds. Remove from the pan and fold into quarters on a plate. Continue until you have used up all the batter.
I you'd like to make the crepe cake, here's the rest of the recipe...
Flourless Crepe Cake
1 tablespoon coconut flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon tapioca starch
1 cup milk (or milk alternative)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon hot water
2 cups heavy cream (or a can of refrigerated coconut cream)
1 tablespoon sugar
To prepare the pastry cream: beat the egg, coconut flour, sugar, and tapioca starch in a small bowl until smooth.
In a saucepan over low heat, bring the milk almost to a simmer. Remove from heat and slowly whisk the milk into the egg mixture. Return the egg/milk mixture to the saucepan and cook, while constantly stirring, for about five minutes, until thickened and just comes to a boil.
Remove cream from heat. Add the vanilla and hot water; stir until dissolved into the mixture. Set aside to cool until firm. Refrigerate cream until thick (best overnight).
Make the whipped cream by beating the heavy cream (or coconut cream) and sugar on high in a mixer until peaks form. Gently fold whipped cream into the pastry cream.
To assemble: place one crepe on a large cake plate. With an offset spatula, completely cover the crepe with a thin layer of pastry cream. Cover with a dry crepe and repeat until you have used up the 20 crepes. If you have some pastry cream left, cover the top of the cake.
Refrigerate the cake for at least two hours. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.