Not a Christmas goes by without me thinking of my Uncle Barry Pirrit who took the Christmas dessert table VERY seriously. A well travelled chef, he took us around the world each festive season and everything was always BIG. Enormous two dozen egg New York baked cheesecake, wobbling layered towers of fresh orange jelly and Spanish cream, German gingerbread houses our dolls could play in, three feet long chocolate logs, steamed Christmas puds the size of footballs and everything served with lashings of very boozy brandy butter. Suffice to say Christmas afternoon in my family was always spent in the snoozing position.
So as I inhaled a brown rice crepe last week, (cooked to light and crispy perfection in my new Lil’ Legacy Pan I might add) I reflected on the Christmas pudding tables of my childhood for inspiration. Was it even possible to dream up a Christmas Day worthy pudding in a pan? And then I remembered a signature dish of my youth. The Gingernut Log! Gingernuts soaked in booze, jammed together with cream, then left to infuse and soften in the fridge overnight. Bingo! I thought as I chewed the last of the crepe. A towering boozy, gingernut log inspired crepe cake!
So, in memory of the man who inspired me to cook, here’s my 2020 Ironclad Christmas Crépe Cake. Spicy with the flavours of a gingerbread house wedged between layers of boozy citrus cream and dripping in fresh orange syrup.
This recipe makes 30 crêpes and is enough to feed 20 people a really decent slice. And if like Uncle Barry you reckon big is best, double it or treble it… the sky’s the limit!
I made this gluten free and it was absolutely delicious, but if there are no allergies in your family grab your own favourite crepe recipe and a packet of good old fashioned gingernuts and start flipping! Make the crêpes and the syrup a day in advance, it’ll take at least an hour, and then layer it all together Christmas morning, pop it in the fridge and have a very delicious Christmas!
4 ¼ c milk
3 ½ c brown rice flour
½ t salt
3 T caster sugar
3 t ground ginger
2 t cinnamon
½ t ground cloves
Zest of 3 oranges
2 T vanilla essence
6 T brown butter (method below)
Butter for frying crêpes
1.25 kg mascarpone
150 g icing sugar
100ml grand marnier
Zest of 3 oranges
200 ml double cream
155 g gluten free gingernuts crushed
KOMBUCHA, ORANGE AND GRAND MARNIER SYRUP
3 c ginger kombucha
Peel of one orange
100 ml grand marnier
¾ c white sugar
3 bay leaves
Combine all crêpe ingredients in a jug blender and blend on high for 30 seconds until combined.
In your Lil’ Legacy Pan simmer the butter over low heat until it starts to brown, pour into pancake mix and blend again for 5 seconds.
On a medium heat melt a small blob of butter and pour one third cup crêpe mix into pan. Swirl the pan to ensure the bottom is evenly coated. Fry for a couple of minutes then using a bread and butter knife run it around the edges of the pan and flip the crêpe. If the knife is too tricky for the flip use a small spatula. Cook the crepe another 1 minute on the second side and remove from pan to to cool on grease proof paper.
Continue this process until all the crêpe mix is finished. The batter will make about 30 crêpes. Hungry passers by in my kitchen ate five of them hot off the pan!
Place cooled crêpes on top of each other and store loosely covered in cling film for up to a day in the fridge (and you can freeze them too). You must cool the crêpes before assembling.
Combine all ingredients and simmer on a medium heat for 15 - 20 minutes until mixture is reduced to one and half cups. Cool.
THE MASCARPONE FILLING
Whip all ingredients except gingernuts together in a cake mixer with whisk attachment or with an egg beater until thick. Don’t over beat.
Blitz the gingernuts until they resemble course breadcrumbs.
Spread a heaped tablespoon of filling on the bottom of your serving plate that is the same size as your crêpes. Lay first crêpe top side up onto this filling.
Spread a big generous blob of filling on the crêpe, followed by a tablespoon swirl of orange syrup and an even sprinkling of gingernut crumb. Ensure you take the marscapone cream right to the edge of each crêpe.
On the bench top spread filling on top of the next crêpe and lay it atop the first crêpe, gingernut and syrup layer. (Don’t do this on the stack as the pressure will flatten your creation) Repeat with remaining crêpes, gingernuts and syrup. Finish with a thick layer of mascarpone cream the last of your gingernut crumb and a sprinkling of cinnamon.Let the cake set in the fridge for at least 3 hours before serving and use a hot knife to slice wedges of deliciousness onto each plate. I made double the syrup recipe and drizzled some extra over the top of each slice, poured the remaining into our glasses of prosecco and proposed a toast to my Uncle Barry. Alive in my memory and my tastebuds.