Mark Twain was born the day Halley’s Comet came around and died on the day of its next 75-year cycle appearance; both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams passed away on July 4th, exactly 50 years after they signed the Declaration of Independence; 2013 saw Thanksgivukkah; this past Tuesday, Wandercrush turned 1 year young on Pancake Day. Some call it freak coincidence, but I declare it kismet.
Pancake Day (alternately known as Shrove Tuesday or Marti Gras) historically came about because everybody gorged like it was the last time they’d taste sugar, milk, and eggs for another 40 days—that 40 day period would be Lent. The word shrove is a form of “shrive”, which means to confess; Lent is a traditional Christian observance of moderation, repentance, and reflection during the days leading up to Easter Sunday and the celebration of Jesus’s sacrifice. Although regrettably nowadays moderation has figured out of the equation for many people, the pancake consumption seems to be going strong.
Regardless of religious allegiances, most of the UK seems to participate in Pancake Day more fervently than the US, which surprised me because wait, how can America be outdone on a holiday celebrating over-indulgence? Special menus, pop-up stalls, and pancake flipping races were ubiquitous in the capital as every one of my friends had a pancake party penciled into their agenda. In the end, I decided against a pancake-eating competition (a stack of 12 in under 15 minutes, pah) and settled on a nice blog-birthday brunch at home.
In true spirit of the blog, this multi-purpose celebratory cake is a lightened and whole-grainified mash-up of the coffee-infused Italian tiramisu (“pick me up”) dessert and the impressive French mille crêpes (“a thousand crepes”), accented with the season’s last blood oranges. If you’re more of a fluffy pancake person, as I usually am, there’s always this wonderful mango-millet fallback.
When I started Wandercrush, I told myself it wouldn’t be the type of blog that prattled on about dishes reminding me of Grandma’s cosy house or the way winter weather makes me want to eat soup for eternity. A year later, I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned both these cheesy things and more. I wanted to keep this encyclopaedic, prettily detached—an informative public archive of kitchen experiments and the orphaned photos I was already taking anyway. I’m not sure when or why the personal perspective sneakily nudged its way through, but it has certainly been gratifying to document my travels and miscellaneous food-and-design-led thoughts in a verbal as well as pictorial manner… I can’t really blame anyone who skims through for the food pornography, and anyway at this point writing it down is more important than ensuring it’s read.
I’d be the first to admit that food blogging can be overdone, overrun, and romanticised. Even so, I couldn’t have predicted the huge investment of time and energy in—or the emotional payback from—a nebulous interwebtastic network of bloggers and a silent but loyal readership. I set out to learn and share more about the untravelled world through local food, and I daresay I’ve done that. What I didn’t expect was the childish glee of stumbling upon my own recipe on a buzzfeed article or the petty disappointment when I couldn’t find the right type of pepper at the market. There were times I frowned upon my absurd priorities as I munched on a box of crackers after postponing dinner in order to photograph the perfect bowl in tomorrow’s natural light…but there are also the redeeming, simple, unexpected joys of meeting up with fellow bloggers over lunch when travelling through their city or receiving a transatlantic snapchat of the meal a friend made following last week’s recipe post. So this is a sincere thanks to each one of you, whether you’ve habitually left lovely comments, quietly read via RSS feed, or humour me patiently in “real life” as I rush around the kitchen wielding spatula and camera. Aaaaaaand before I start gushing about Grandmas and winter soups, I’ll leave it at that until the 2-year mark.
Tiramisu Mille Crêpes à l’Orange
(inspired by and adapted from this recipe)
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- ¼ t sea salt
- 1 cup oat milk
- 1/2 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
- 3 eggs
- 1 T honey
- 1 t vanilla essence
- 1 T oil
- ¼ cup unrefined sugar
- ¼-½ (60-120ml) cup freshly brewed hot coffee
- 200g mascarpone
- 200g quality, full-fat cottage cheese
- ½ blood orange, juice and zest of
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Whisk together wet and dry ingredients separately, then mix well together until lumps are gone. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to minimise bubbles that may tear the crepes during cooking.
Rub a non-stick pan with oil or butter and heat over medium flame. Pour some batter in the centre of the pan and swirl quickly distribute evenly over the bottom of the pan, pushing down any messy edges with a spatula to keep the shape mostly consistent. The amount of batter you need per crepe will depend on the diameter of your pan, so judge the best you can and practice on the first couple of crepes—I used about 3 tablespoons for mine. Each should be thin enough to brown on the bottom after one minute. Flip carefully and cook another 30 seconds on the other side before setting aside in a stack.
Repeat with the remaining batter and refrigerate the stack of crepes to hasten the cooling process and mix the cream while waiting.
Dissolve sugar in 60ml (¼ cup) freshly brewed hot coffee. Along with two cheeses and blood orange juice/zest, blend until smooth. Add up to 60ml more coffee if it’s too thick, but be careful not to add so much that the cream becomes too thin; it will need to stay thick enough to hold the crepes together without slipping and sliding around.
When crepes are completely cooled, begin assembly. Spread a thin layer of cream between each pancake, sprinkling a dusting of cocoa powder about every 3 layers. Portion your filling well; I used about 1 tablespoon per layer, but this may vary. When you reach the end, thin out any leftover cream and pour over the very top crepe. Finish with a final dusting of cocoa powder and garnish with a slice of blood orange. If the crepe cake is feeling unstable, refrigerate for a couple of hours to firm up the cream before slicing with a sharp knife to serve.