These fancy pastries will be the highlight of your next house party.
Recipes by Chef Yatin Tambe, assistant professor (Food Production and Bakery), ITM Institute of Hotel Management.
Coconut cream crepe cake
For the crepes:
- 4 large eggs
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2¼ cups whole milk
- ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
For the coconut cream filling and topping:
- 2 cups coconut cream, chilled overnight
- ¼ cup confectioner's sugar
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup coconut jam
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
For the crepes:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together 4 large eggs and ¼ tsp kosher salt until uniformly yellow. Add about half of the flour (around 1 cup) to the eggs, whisking gently into the eggs. The batter will be a little lumpy. Add about half the milk and continue whisking. The milk will thin out the batter. Alternate between the flour and milk until you've added it all. Continue whisking until smooth -- be careful not to over mix, it should only take a minute or two.
- Once the batter is smooth, add ¼ cup melted, unsalted butter and whisk again until the butter is incorporated into the mixture. Cover the batter and refrigerate for an hour.
- Once the batter has chilled, heat a medium (at least 8 inches) non-stick skillet pan on medium heat. The surface of the pan needs to be pretty hot to make crepes -- test its heat by adding a drop of water to the hot pan. If the water sizzles, bubbles and evaporates, the pan is hot enough. Pour about ¼ cup batter into the pan and use the handle to twirl the pan so that the batter forms a circle. As you twirl the pan in a circular motion, the batter should spread. Continue cooking until the crepe has set and the edges begin to crinkle up -- a set crepe will usually slide around the pan when it is ready. Slip a spatula under the crepe to flip it over and continue cooking for another 20 secs, or until the crepe's surface has browned. Repeat the process until the batter is finished, allowing the crepes to cool on a wire rack completely before frosting and building the cake.
For the coconut whipped cream:
- In the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine two cups of coconut cream, ¼ cup confectioner's sugar and 2 tsp pure vanilla extract. Whisk on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Use immediately.
- Place one crepe in the center of your cake plate or cake stand, and use an offset spatula to spread 3 tbsp coconut jam evenly over crepe. Spread 3 tbsp coconut cream, before stacking with a new crepe and repeat the process. On the fifth crepe, sprinkle a tbsp of granulated sugar on the crepe before spreading with coconut jam and coconut cream. Repeat the process until all crepes are used. Spread the remaining coconut cream across the top and the sides of the cake, to cover the layers. The cake is best when eaten immediately.
- Vegetable oil, for greasing the pan
- ½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, such as Lindt, broken in bits
- 1 tsp instant coffee powder
- 1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, such as Pernigotti
- 8 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp cognac or brandy
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 3 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- ½ cup cold heavy cream
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Orange sauce (recipe follows)
- Freshly grated orange zest, for serving
- Fleur de sel, for serving
For orange sauce:
- 4 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1 ¾ cups scalded whole milk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1½ tsp cognac or brandy
- 1 tbsp Grand Marnier liqueur
- ¼ tsp grated orange zest
For the orange sauce:
- Beat egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until very thick. Reduce to low speed and mix in the cornstarch. With the mixer still on low, slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture (I use a liquid measuring cup for pouring). Pour the mixture into a clean, small, deep saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until it reaches 180°F on a candy thermometer and thickens to the consistency of heavy cream. The mixture will coat the spoon. Don't cook it above 180°F or the eggs will scramble. Immediately (it will keep cooking in the saucepan) pour the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and stir in the vanilla, cognac, Grand Marnier and orange zest. Cover and chill.
For the terrine:
- Lightly grease a 8½x4½x2 inch loaf pan and line it as neatly as possible with plastic wrap, allowing the ends to drape over the sides. (I keep two pieces of plastic wraps crosswise in the pan, overlapping in the center.) Place the pan in the freezer. Place a large heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Place the butter in the bowl, then the chocolate and coffee powder and heat until it melts, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula. As soon as the chocolate and butter melt, take the bowl off the heat and whisk in, one at a time, and in order, first the confectioners' sugar, then the cocoa powder, egg yolks, cognac and salt. Set the bowl aside for 15 mins to cool.
- Place the egg whites and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on high speed until the whites form firm but not dry peaks. Fold the whites into the cooled chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula. Without cleaning the bowl or whisk attachment, pour the cream and vanilla into the bowl and beat on high speed until it forms firm peaks. Fold the cream carefully but thoroughly into the chocolate mixture. Pour into the prepared loaf pan, smooth the top, fold the plastic wrap over the top and chill for 4 hours or overnight.
- To serve, turn the terrine out of the mold and unwrap it. Spoon a puddle of orange sauce in the middle of each dessert plate and place a slice of the terrine in the middle. Sprinkle each serving lightly with orange zest and fleur de sel.
Chef's note: To scald milk for the sauce, heat it to just below the boiling point. You'll see bubbles forming around the edge.
Mini cheesecakes with wine gelées
For the cheesecake:
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted, plus more for brushing
- 7 whole graham crackers
- ½ cup + 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- Pinch of salt
- One 10½-ounce log of fresh goat cheese, softened
- ½ cup + 2 tbsp creme fraiche
For the wine gelees:
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
- 2½ tbsp cold water
- 3 tbsp each of orange Muscat, rose, Pinot Noir and Tawny Port
- 4 tsp sugar
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut out four 3-inch rounds of shirt cardboard. Brush the insides of four 3-inch round and 2½-inch deep ring molds with butter.
- In a food processor, grind the crackers with the melted butter and 1 tbsp of the sugar. Set the molds on the baking sheet and line the bottoms with the cardboard rounds, trimming to fit. Pack the crumbs into the molds; press to compact. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool.
- Meanwhile, in a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg, egg yolk, salt and the remaining ½ cup of sugar at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the goat cheese and beat until smooth. Fold in the creme fraiche. Spoon the mixture into the molds and smooth the tops. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the cheesecakes are just set but not browned. Let the cheesecakes cool, then refrigerate them until chilled, at least 1 hour.
- Heat a sharp, thin-bladed knife under hot water; dry the knife. Carefully run the blade around the edge of each cheesecake. Pressing up on the cardboard, ease the cheesecakes out of the molds; return to the baking sheet. Cut four 11x2½-inch strips of parchment paper. Wrap the paper around the perimeter of each cheesecake to form a collar that extends 1 inch above the surface; secure with tape.
- In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over cold water and let soften. Microwave at high power for about 15 secs or until the gelatin has melted. Put the four wines in separate ramekins. Add 2 tsp of sugar to the rose and Pinot Noir, and microwave for 20 secs; stir to dissolve the sugar. Stir 1 tsp of melted gelatin into each of the four wines. Let the wines stand until cooled, about 10 mins. Pour one of the wine gelées over each cheesecake and refrigerate until chilled and set, for about 20 mins.
- Remove the parchment-paper collar from each cheesecake. Carefully remove the cardboard bottoms and serve.
Chef Yatin Tambe is an assistant professor (Food Production and Bakery) at ITM Institute of Hotel Management.