I had a special visitor come round to do some baking. A “savoury mille crepe cake” was her request. And the plan was for me to show her how to make it and give her some baking tips along the way. The only problem was, I’d never made a crepe cake before.
Google sourced a recipe for me that didn’t look too complicated. Although I love to bake, my baking adventures sometimes don’t go to plan. I’m still learning with each bake. I get nervous when I’m baking for someone else, let alone taking a special visitor under my wing and attempt to impart my knowledge on her.
This recipe was a bit of a two part thing. I prepped the tomato sauce the night before, so that we could just go straight into mixing up the crepe batter, making the veggie filling and roasting the cherry tomatoes.
To make the Tomato Sauce:
1kg fresh ripe tomatoes cut into quarters
one onion cut into quarters (I used 2 purple onions)
4 sprigs of basil (or you can use a tsp of dried italian herbs like I did)
1 bay leaf
sea salt & ground black pepper
75ml extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
4-5 cloves crushed garlic
1 tbsp caster sugar
2 fresh chillies chopped (I omitted these)
In a large pot add the tomatoes, onions, and two sprigs of basil in a large heavy-bottomed pot (I used my Creuset dutch oven).
Cover with lid and cook on a medium heat for 45 minutes. Stir or shake the pot every 5 minutes to release the tomatoes’ juices and soften them. Remove basil sprigs after 45 minutes.
Puree the sauce into a smooth-ish consistency using a blender (or stick blender if you have one).
Heat the same pot (or another one if you pureed them with a stick blender) with the oil adding in the garlic (& chillies if you are using).
Fry gently for a few minutes then add the tomato sauce and remaining basil sprigs in. Add the sugar and season to taste.
Bring the pot to a boil and then simmer on low to medium heat uncovered for about 45 minutes to reduce for more flavour.
The next day my visitor and I got straight into roasting the vine ripened cherry tomatoes, while we prepped the filling, and made the crepes. The original recipe doesn’t use a filling in the crepe cake but as I wanted it to be more substantial (and healthy) since we were having it for lunch, I sliced up some zucchini I had in my fridge for the filling together with some enoki mushrooms. If you are making this, get your veggies ready first. Then pop the cherry tomatoes into the oven and while they are roasting you can stir fry the veggies, and cook up the crepes.
To roast the Cherry Tomatoes:
600g vine ripened cherry tomatoes
EVOO for drizzling
sea salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
Place the tomatoes on a baking tray and drizzle with EVOO, sea salt and black pepper.
Roast for 30 minutes until the tomatoes are cooked and the skins blistered.
Now the cherry tomatoes are in the oven, veggies are prepped for the filling. Start on your crepe batter.
Make your Crepe Batter:
250g plain flour
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup chopped basil
100g grated parmesan cheese
Combine your eggs, oil and salt in a large bowl and whisk.
Add flour and milk alternately, whisking as you go after each addition. Whisk until the batter is smooth and glossy. Stir in the basil. Set aside the batter while you stir fry the veggie filling.
Heat up a non-stick frying pan out (you can use the same one you used to stir fry the veggies to save washing up), and add a glug of olive oil. Once hot, ladle
Once hot, scoop a ladle size amount of batter and pour into your pan. Tilt your pan from side to side to spread the batter out evenly, getting it as thin as you can.
Give it about 2 minutes and flip for another 2 minutes. Once done, remove and repeat until you have used up your batter.
Now while your batter is sitting, fry up your veggie filling.
Stir Fry Veggie Filling:
Wash and slice one medium to large zucchini.
Wash a tub of enoji mushrooms or any other mushrooms you like (use about 2 cups if using mushrooms that shrink when cooking).
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Heat up your pan with a glug of olive oil.
Add chopped garlic and fry for a few minutes until softened.
Add mushrooms. Fry for few minutes then add zucchini. Stir fry for about 5-8 minutes or until veggies have softened. Set aside.
Now you have everything ready to assemble.
Bring the oven temperature down to 180 degrees C.
Lightly spray a springform tin roughly the same size as your crepes.
Place a crepe on the bottom of your tin. Ladle some tomato sauce, spreading it out across your crepe.
Top with some veggies and place your next crepe on top. Repeat with tomato sauce, veggies, then sprinkle some parmesan on every other layer.
Finish with a layer of sauce and parmesan and any leftover basil.
Pop your crepe cake into the oven for about 20 minutes to heat through and brown on top.
Serve with your roasted tomatoes and more fresh basil if you like.
Once you have all the ingredients ready to assemble it’s very easy. My visitor had a lot of fun putting the crepe cake together. Though half the fun is waiting with anticipation for the outcome of your handy work. Don’t you think?