(Note: Julia’s recipe calls for apples, but I have opted to use white peaches. I also used a little less flour and a bit of cornmeal. Each component of the dessert can be prepared in advance, covered and refrigerated. The assembled dessert can also be covered, wrapped, and refrigerated for several hours, or even overnight, before baking. If you don’t have Wondra flour, all-purpose will do.)
For the crêpes: makes 8 or 9 eight inch crêpes
¾ cup flour, (preferably Wondra, instant-blending flour)
¼ cup finely ground cornmeal
1 tablespoon sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt
¾ cup whole milk
¾ cup water
1 large egg
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons orange liqueur, rum, or Cognac
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
additional melted butter for lightly buttering the pan
Place the flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl; whisk together. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, water; gradually add the liquid to the dry ingredients, whisking until smooth. Add the egg, the yolks, the liqueur, and the melted butter. The batter should be smooth- if you feel that it needs to be strained, pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl. If you are using Wondra, an instant-blending flour, let the batter rest for 10 minutes. If not, let the batter rest for an hour or two, or even overnight, covered in the refrigerator. The idea is to let the flour granules absorb the liquid, making a tender crepe. (Alternatively, the batter can be prepared in the bowl of a food processor, fitted with the blade attachment.)
Cook the crepes in a hot buttered crepe pan or a non-stick skillet. Each crêpe will take about 3 tablespoons of batter. Pour the batter into the center of the pan, turning the pan in all directions to spread the batter evenly. Any excess batter should be poured back into the batter bowl. Cook for a minute or so, until the edges are golden brown. Using an offset spatula, or a wooden crepe spatula, or your fingertips, flip the crêpe, cooking it for an additional minute. Place the cooked crêpe
on a cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining batter, cooling each crêpe thoroughly before stacking them together, wrapping them in plastic wrap and refrigerating.
For the burnt-almond cream:
⅔ cup sugar
1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1⅓ cups toasted almonds, finely pulsed in the food processor or finely chopped by hand
½ teaspoon pure almond extract
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons dark rum
pinch of salt
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, pulse all ingredients together until smooth. Be careful not to over process. If not using right away, cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using so the cream will be easy to spread over the crêpes.
For the peaches:
5 or 6 medium white peaches, ripe but not overly soft, rinsed, halved, pits removed
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons sugar, depending on the sweetness of the peaches
1 or 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Thinly slice the peaches, place them in a medium bowl and toss lightly with the lemon juice, sugar, and melted butter. Spread the peaches in a lightly buttered baking pan and roast for about 20 minutes until softened. Set aside to cool thoroughly before assembling the dessert.
For the corn cream:
4 ears of sweet corn, husked, silk removed, rinsed
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar
Use a sharp knife to carefully remove the kernels of corn from the cob. Press the kernels through a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl, pressing down on the kernels to extract as much liquid as possible. Reserve the kernels for another use. Transfer the liquid to a small saucepan and cook over low heat, gently stirring until the liquid thickens, about 10-15 minutes. Add the salt and sugar. Transfer the ‘cream’ to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool thoroughly before refrigerating.
To assemble the cake-
1 or 2 tablespoons unsalted melted butter
granulated sugar for sprinkling
fresh raspberries for garnish
You will need an ovenproof deep-sided pie plate. My pie plate measured 9½” x 1½”
(Julia baked her gâteau in a baking-and-serving platter. She did give measurements for the platter. Just make sure you have room surrounding the crêpes and enough depth to catch the juice from the peaches and the butter from the burnt almond cream.)
“Lightly brush the inside of your baking dish/pie plate with melted butter. Lay one crêpe, best side up, in the center. Cover with a layer of peaches, then several spoonfuls of almond cream, then another crêpe, pressing down on its center to spread the fruit out to the edge and to prevent the whole structure from humping in the middle as layers build up. Continue in layers until you have used all but a layer’s worth of fruit; end with the fruit. Sprinkle lightly with melted butter and sugar.”
I found a small offset spatula helpful in spreading the burnt almond cream.
May be assembled even a day in advance; cover and refrigerate.
Baking and serving:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake the gateau in the middle of the preheated oven until bubbling hot and the top has browned nicely. Serve hot, warm or tepid with the corn cream and fresh raspberries. Cool, cover and refrigerate any leftovers.
Serves 8 generously.