I’ve been thinking of baklava a lot recently. I’m not really sure why, apart from that I recently saw the GBBO baklava episode. But regardless, I’ve been thinking about it for a while and so then I decided to make a mille crepe. (Typical.)I went with the triumvirate of cardamom, rose and pistachio as the main flavouring, flavouring the pastry cream with cardamom, rose (and a bit of rosewater) as well as a small bit of orange blossom water. Ground pistachio was added between the layers, and I glazed the top with a syrup of honey, lemon and orange juice.
In the end it still wasn’t what I wanted–so I guess I really did want to have some baklava after all.
Also, (ack–it’s been over a month–I’m afraid I didn’t see it at first!) but Angie from Angie’s Kitchen Shenanigans nominated me for the Liebster Award! Thank you! Angie blogs about her kitchen shenanigans, which, far from shenanigans, are actually marvellously delicious food adventures. They range from searching for the elusive bluefish to make the perfect sancocho de pescado (I’ll leave it to you to read more to find out whether she locates one!) or sharing incredible recipes such as this mofongo which sounds incredibly appealing with those pork cracklings!
The Liebster award process is a bit exhausting, so while I won’t give nominations again (you can see my previous nominations here), I thought I’d answer the questions because that’s always plenty of fun!
1. What is the best time of day for you?
I like mid-morning. By then I’m usually cognizant and I feel like I have a lot of the day ahead of me still.
2. Of everything on this planet, what drives you bonkers?
That’s a difficult question! All I can think of at the moment is myself. I do irritate and confound myself a lot.
3. What is your favourite past time?
Oh, that should be obvious…taxidermy! (No, I was just trying to be a bit exciting. It’s baking. Baking.)
4. Are you living your dream, what is it?
One of my dreams was to have a food blog. So yes, I suppose I am living it! Another aspect of this was to have a fantastic food blog. Hopefully I’ll get there some day.
5. Make a list of inspiration moments.
Other food blogs are constantly inspiring me. Otherwise, it’s everyday acts of kindness from the people around me. It does sound a bit cliche, but I’m afraid it’s very very true.
6. Are you city, country, or a suburbs kind of person?
Without a doubt, city. Though small-ish city.
7. Indoors or outdoors?
I like both.
8. If you were an animal, what would you be, and why?
If not human, maybe a sloth. It would be comfortable and leisurely, although also a bit dull.
9. Tell me one thing you love about yourself?
Hmm. I like that I like to bake.
10. Why do you blog?
To keep an organized and easily navigable record of what I bake. And it’s fun to be able to connect with others, so I’m very glad I started!
I also had some issues with the mille-crepe itself. It was rather pasty or floury–I think this resulted from two contributing factors. First, I need to cook my crepes more. I get a bit impatient and remove them as soon as they’ve firmed up, but really some colour and more thorough cooking would leave a less pallid and flabby impression.
Second, while I liked the flavour of the pastry cream, with the crepes, the flour taste came out. I thought I managed to cook most of the flour taste out, but apparently not, so perhaps next time I’d try using a cornstarch-based pastry cream.
Finally, while I liked how the glaze gave it some shine and finish, and it reminded me of baklava, I found it unnecessarily sweet. I also found the lemon and orange flavour overly concentrated and too sour–in retrospect, I would leave it off. It did, however, make it seem more like baklava. But really, I should just try to make baklava instead of all of this roundabout nonsense.
Pistachio, rose and cardamom mille crepe
I made 15 serviceable crepes that were around 8″. Adapted from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman.
1 1/2 c flour
2 c milk
2 tbsp melted and cooled butter or neutral oil
Whisk together flour, sugar and salt; beat in the milk and eggs. Finally whisk in the butter or oil. Strain the batter through a fine sieve.
Proceed to make the crepes: Brush a pan with butter or oil and heat over medium. Pour in the necessary amount of crepe batter and swirl to coat the surface of the pan. Let cook until the edges are dried; loosen with a spatula and flip over using fingertips.
Cook until both sides are lightly browned.
Adapted from creme diplomat, Bouchon Bakery, by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel. I think stabilizing with gelatin was unnecessary, though I’m not sure. Next time I would have also added more whipped cream than I did. This made enough cream for 12 layers.
2 c milk
6 small green cardamom pods
a few dried rose flowers
4 egg yolks
55 g sugar (or substitute honey, using a bit less)
80 g flour
20 g butter
1/4 tsp rose water (or to taste; you’ll likely have sufficient rose flavour from the infusion)
1/2 tsp orange blossom water
1.5 g gelatin
15 mL cold water
15 mL hot water
150 g whipping cream
Heat milk, cardamom and rose flowers until steaming. Cover and set aside for 20 minutes or so to infuse.
Whisk eggs and sugar until light; add in flour and beat until pale and thick.
Pull out cardamom pods and rose flowers, return milk to the heat. Once steaming, gradually pour into egg mixture, whisking. Return to the saucepan. Cook, whisking, until the pastry cream has started to thicken. Switch to a wooden spoon and beat thoroughly as the pastry cream thickens thoroughly. Taste to ensure that flour is cooked.
Remove from heat, beat to let cool a bit, and then beat in the butter, rosewater and orange blossom water. Cover and let pastry cream cool completely.
Meanwhile, bloom gelatin in cold water, then dissolve in hot water (heat additionally if necessary).
Whip cream until stiff.
Add a dollop of cooled pastry cream to gelatin mixture, whisking until incorporated. Add this back into the remaining pastry cream, beating thoroughly to loosen.
Lighten the pastry cream by folding in 1 scoop of whipped cream, then fold in remainder. Chill until ready to use.
1/2 c finely ground pistachios
a couple tablespoons honey
long curls lemon, orange zest
dried rose petals
Start with a crepe and spread a thin layer of pastry cream overtop. Sprinkle some ground pistachios over top and repeat until either the filling or crepes are used up (for me it was the filling–12 crepes worth).
Let cake sit overnight in the refrigerator to set.
Before serving, heat the honey and some orange and lemon juice in a small saucepan to a slightly thick consistency. Use this to glaze the top of the mille crepe.
Finish by sprinkling with lemon zest, orange zest, chopped pistachios, and dried rose petals. The ground pistachio also looks nice, but it’s best to do that only right before serving; otherwise it does get a bit soggy and messy.