Cannoli Crepe Cake
The orange puree here is entirely George Mendes recipe, as told to me. I approximated the number of minutes to whip the puree to get the consistency I had at the restaurant. The puree will look an awfully lot like curd, but the beauty of it is that it’s vegan friendly. Of course, my ricotta filling throws that notion right out the window.
For the Ricotta Orange Filling:
2 cups fresh ricotta (homemade is always best*)
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
For the Orange Puree:
1 orange, preferably organic
1/2 cup sugar
For the Crepes: (makes about 16 crepes)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole milk
4 large eggs
1/4 cup unsalted melted butter, plus additional for the pan
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons brandy
1 scant tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Make the Ricotta Orange Filling:
1. In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, powdered sugar, cinnamon and the orange zest. Refrigerate until needed. [*If you decide to make your ricotta at home, be sure to drain it until it’s thick and creamy, not completely dry. Depending on how you’re draining your ricotta, that time will vary – I use flour sack towels and it takes about 6 to 8 hours. When I use cheese cloth, that time goes much, much faster. My advice to you is check on your ricotta until it’s the consistency of whipped cream cheese.]
Make the Orange Puree:
2. Zest the orange, making sure to have nice long strips of zest and discarding any pith you might inadvertently get. Cut the orange into large chunks, discarding any pits. Bring a small pot of water to a boil and blanch the zest in boiling water for 2 minutes. Transfer the zest to an ice bath. Repeat the process 2 more times.
3. While you blanch the zest, bring 1/2 cup of water and the sugar to a boil. You will have more simple syrup than you will need. You can add the syrup to your morning iced coffee, cocktails, what-have-you. It’s good for 2 weeks.
4. Add the blanched zest, the orange segments, and 1 tablespoon of the simple syrup to a blender. Starting on low speed and gradually increasing to high, puree the mixture for about 8 minutes or until it becomes thick and emulsified. Refrigerate the puree until needed.
Make the Crepes:
5. Place the flour, milk, eggs, butter, sugar, brandy, vanilla extract, and the kosher salt into a blender and whip on high for 2 minutes. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
6. Warm a 10-inch crepe pan (or another shallow non-stick pan) over medium heat. Brush the pan very lightly with melted butter. Ladle 1/4 cup of the batter onto the pan and quickly swirl the pan to coat the bottom with the batter. Let the crepe cook, undisturbed for about 2 minutes. Using a small offset spatula (I find these work best for me), flip the crepe over and finish cooking the other side, about 30 seconds to 1 minute longer. Transfer the cooked crepe to a plate to cool. Repeat with the remaining batter. You can stack your crepes on top of one another and then gently peel the crepes off – don’t worry, they won’t stick.
Assemble the Crepe Cake:
7. Lay 1 crepe on plate or a cake stand. Spread about 2 tablespoons of the ricotta filling over the crepe and dot with 2 teaspoons of the orange puree. Spread the puree. Top with another crepe and repeat with the filling and the puree until you are out of crepes. If you have enough ricotta at this point, you can spread the remaining on top of the last crepe. [I don’t recommend mixing the ricotta filling with the orange puree because if you have any puree left over, you really want to save it to put over your morning toast – it’s divine.]
8. Serve the cake immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve. The cake should stay good for about 4 days, if it lasts that long.
Serves 8 to 10